Brunno Lucke is a 9-year-old boy with a sweet smile, a love of soccer and his own YouTube channel. He also wears a cap with the Confederate battle flag emblazoned on its peak.
This city of more than 180,000, an hour’s flight from Rio de Janeiro, site of this summer's Olympics, is perhaps the last place you’d expect to find the most controversial symbol in American history. It adorns everything from belt buckles to bumper stickers among the Fraternidade Descendência Americana, an organization that celebrates the emigration of a group of defeated Southerners to Brazil after the Civil War 150 years ago.
Yet in Santa Barbara D’Oeste there is no negative association with the flag that many Americans see as a symbol of slavery and segregation.
“To me,” Bruno says, already dreaming of the hot dogs he’ll soon consume at a popular annual Confederate festival, “the flag is a symbol of love.”