The Brazilian government is monitoring the foreign press and other institutions to see what they are saying about Brazil, according to this story on Folha.com.

Not surprisingly to me, the results show that there are more positive stories about Brazil than negative ones.

It’s fascinating to note that Brazilians, however, tend to think otherwise.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve asked me (sometimes half jokingly) if I as a foreign correspondent am one of the people responsible for Brazil’s poor image overseas.

They have no idea that the Brazil’s image overseas is largely positive. When people think of Brazil they think of happy things, like beaches and football and carnival. Stereotypes, perhaps, but positive ones.

They also, of course, think about those other less agreeable stereotypes of sex and violence.

When someone in Britain, say, or Spain, or the US, is asked, What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Brazil? they mention football because Brazil have historically had the world’s best players, or they mention sex because there are so many Brazilian prostitutes working in Europe.  They mention beaches because Brazil has more than 5000km of coastline and they mention violence because Brazil has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Stereotypes become stereotypes for a good reason.

What I really don’t get about this venture is why Brazilians care.

It’s emblematic of the country’s lack of confidence. But I think they should be less interested in worrying what people think about them and more interested in resolving the country’s problems.