AH: Quando Nixon carregou maconha para Louis Armstrong

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hempadao 13 maio, 2019

Em 1959, o futuro criador da Guerra às Drogas, sem saber, atravessou a alfândega com 1,3 quilo da erva para Satchmo

por Letícia Yazbek, no Aventuras na História

Em 6 de julho de 1971, morria uma das figuras mais influentes do jazz: Louis Armstrong. A trajetória de Louie é marcada por fatos curiosos, como quando Nixon carregou maconha para ele.

Nos anos 1950, o Departamento de Estado dos Estados Unidos começou a promover artistas e atletas afro-americanos a Embaixadores da Boa Vontade. Eles viajavam o mundo para representar os valores da liberdade criativa americana e contra a repressão soviética. E mostrar que os EUA eram um país tão horrível com os negros tanto quanto pregava a propaganda soviética (e até da Alemanha Nazista).

Um desses embaixadores era Louis Armstrong, um dos primeiros artistas negros a fazer sucesso entre audiências brancas. Foi como representante do Estado que Armstrong partiu em uma turnê pela Europa e Ásia.

Ao voltar aos Estados Unidos, depois dos primeiros shows, foi dispensado da fiscalização da alfândega – um diplomata não precisaria passar por esse constrangimento.

Armstrong foi um dos primeiros artistas negros a fazer sucesso entre os brancos

Mas, em 1958, assim que pousou no Aeroporto Internacional John F. Kennedy, voltando de outro show, Armstrong foi conduzido à alfândega. Os agentes haviam sido alertados sobre a chegada de produtos contrabandeados, e decidiram que nenhum passageiro ficaria de fora dessa fiscalização.

Armstrong, então, entrou em uma longa fila de viajantes. Mas havia um problema: ele carregava em suas malas cerca de 1,3 quilo de maconha.

Satchmo era um fumante habitual e assumido. Como um tesouro nacional, ele tinha certa imunidade. Mas, naquele dia, estava diante da possibilidade bem concreta de ir parar na cadeia. E, sendo um real patriota, também de trazer vergonha ao seu país. Louie começou a suar frio.

Foi então que apareceu seu salvador: Richard Nixon, então vice-presidente dos Estados Unidos, na chapa Dwight Einsenhower. O veep irrompeu no salão, seguido por uma multidão de repórteres e fotógrafos.

Quando viu Armstrong na fila, Nixon foi até o artista e perguntou o que ele estava fazendo ali. “Bem, eu acabei de voltar do minha turnê como Embaixador da Boa Vontade na Ásia e me disseram que preciso esperar nesta fila”, respondeu. Sem pensar duas vezes, Nixon pegou as duas malas de Armstrong e falou: “Embaixadores não precisam ser fiscalizados pela alfândega. O vice-presidente dos Estados Unidos vai carregar as suas malas com prazer.” Foi assim que, sem saber, Nixon – que viria a ser o criador da Guerra às Drogas em seu mandato como presidente, em 1971 — serviu de mula para Louie Armstrong.

Richard Nixon em campanha para o Senado, 1950

O “Papai” (outro de seus apelidos) fumava desde os anos 1920, quando ajudou a popularizar a erva entre os músicos. Durante toda a sua carreira, acendia um antes de shows e gravações. Em 1930, Armstrong e o baterista Vic Berton foram presos por fumar maconha na entrada de uma boate em Culver City, Califórnia. Eles passaram a noite na delegacia e foram soltos sob fiança de 1.000 dólares cada.

Quando um assistente de Nixon contou o que havia acontecido  — ele ouviu tudo de um dos músicos que viajava com Armstrong —, o vice exclamou, chocado: “Louie fuma maconha?!”.



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