Good will ambassadors: Brazil City Council President Steve Bell, left, and Brazilian ambassador to the United States Nestor Forster share a laugh during the diplomat’s visit to the Fountain of Tales, or Chafariz Dos Contos, in Forest Park in Brazil, Indiana, on Friday. Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza
Good will ambassadors: Brazil City Council President Steve Bell, left, and Brazilian ambassador to the United States Nestor Forster share a laugh during the diplomat’s visit to the Fountain of Tales, or Chafariz Dos Contos, in Forest Park in Brazil, Indiana, on Friday. Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza
The responsibility of an ambassador is to create a relationship between peoples and places.

And as Nestor Forster Jr., Brazil’s ambassador to the U.S., stood Friday in the council chambers of Brazil City Hall, he recalled a connection made in 1969 between the country of Brazil and the Indiana city.

It’s a personal connection for Forster — so much so that he has a 1969 newspaper photograph on his cell phone. It shows former Indiana U.S. Rep. John T. Myers standing next to a Brazilian official with the Brazilian family and a Christmas tree.

Myers had sent the tree to the embassy of Brazil in Washington, D.C.

“The gentleman who was in charge of the embassy back then happens to be my father-in-law (Celso Diniz), who was also a career diplomat,” said Forster, who has served as a diplomat for 37 years.

“There were pictures in the newspaper and (in a photograph) there is my wife at 7 years old next to a beautiful Christmas tree that came from Indiana,” Forster said. “I think the tree came from the Chinook Mine…so it’s an incredible connection.”

Forster’s wife is Maria Theresa Diniz Forster.

The ambassador is visiting spots across the Hoosier State, including Purdue University and Indianapolis. Forster said many Brazilian engineers were educated at Purdue University, helping Brazil’s agricultural sector become a major exporter of crops.

Steve Bell, president of the Brazil City Council, greeted Forster as the Brazilian flag flew with the U.S. flag at City Hall. Bell presented the ambassador a ceremonial key to the city. Brook Reinoehl, president of the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, told Forster he hoped to increase relations to attract new business.

Bell agreed.

“This visit furthers the friendship between us and hopefully leads to some economic growth for us as well,” Bell said. “We want to see what kind of seeds we can plant.”

Forster encouraged city officials and the chamber to work with his office to coordinate a future trade mission with the South American country.

Another connection to the Clay County city is a Baroque fountain sculpted in granite, given to city in 1954. It is a replica of the mid-18th century Chafariz dos Contos, or the Fountain of the Tales, located in Ouro Preto, Brazil. The original was created between 1745 and 1760. The replica fountain is located at the entrance to Forest Park off of Indiana 59.

Janet McClellan, president of the Brazil Park Board and the city’s planning and zoning administrator, said the city “has spent $50,000 in the last couple of years to restore the fountain. It was not working, so we had to redo the plumbing, which was a big fix,” she said. Additionally, the a new stucco surface was applied to the fountain’s exterior.

Across the top, engraved in granite, is a Latin phrase, that is also on the fountain in Brazil.

Forster glanced up and began a translation.

“Those who have due consideration for the chamber, but for them will never be thirsty (or) will not feel thirst,” Forester said reading the inscription. “The word senate is used here because it was the chamber back then and they were responsible for building the monument,” he said.

Forster would later visit Fitesa, a Brazilian-based manufacturer of nonwoven hygiene and health care products at 3400 Fort Harrison Road in Terre Haute. The company, coincidentally, based in Forester’s home town in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

“One of the reasons that I came for this state visit is to intensify the relations we already have in terms of trade and investment between Indiana and Brazil. We had a trade of about $1.2 billion last year, growing about 20% from the previous year,” Forster said.

Some other Brazilian companies in Indiana, he said, include WEG Commercial Motors, Gerdau which has a metal processing facility, Votorantim which makes cement, and JBS Foods.

“We have important trade and we are here to promote and intensify that,” Forster said.
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