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This sounds similar to arrogant americans in france (or any other country, for that matter) expecting everyone to speak english and bow down to them! Spanish is very similar to portuguese, especially brasilian portuguese, if you attempt to make an effort to understand it, instead of expecting them to accomodate you! It is lazy and insulting and it's just as difficult to convert portuguese to spanish.
True, but, then again, Brazilians (granted, mostly Paulistas and Cariocas) don't speak any Spanish either! Only we Gauchos, living close to the southern borders with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay or those living along the Western borders with Bolivia through Venezuela pick up a decent amount of fluency from exposure. I've also met Brazuca expats here who've acquired some Spanish by practicing with Hispanics. My biggest bugbear is when they use Spanglish: La vida es tan cara en Brooklyn. Tengo que pagar 'la renta' y 'los biles'!(Luckily, my own parents only took it as far as saying parquiar--instead of estacionar.) Also, keep in mind that it's easier for us to learn to pronounce Spanish, which has only 5 main vowel sounds, as opposed to 12 in Portuguese (including that nasal tone in São)! Moreover, our 12 sounds comprise the 5 in Spanish, so we have no problem (at least) parroting other Latinos!
NPR ought to assign a Portuguese speeking correspondent to Brasil, not a Spanish speaker who can barely speak Portuguese. It inconsiderate of you to do this, but again Americans are culturally deaf!
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