Each Friday, through the Brazil Portal feature “The Week in Review”, the Brazil Institute will highlight Brazil’s news topics in one concise summary.
Last Friday, July 27, 2012, Brazil experienced a contentious moment following the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. In attendance was President Dilma Rousseff, who became surprised as she watched Marina Silva, an Amazon rainforest campaigner carrying the Olympic Flag into the stadium. While Silva is an affluent figure for environmentalism, several agents from the Brazilian government were angered that the International Olympic committee chose someone in opposition of the Rousseff government. Being that Brazil is next to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the country must now consider how they will approach the ceremony. Paulo Sotero of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’s says rather than succumbing to a 2016 Olympic ceremony of Brazilian propaganda, Brazil should illuminate its hardships to glorify its dignified prosperity.
Likewise, the London games shed light on the fact that Rio has a big seat to fill as host of both 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics and some have even said this is a daunting prospect for Brazil. Despite this doubt, Brazil has announced various infrastructure projects such as building training facilities for World Cup. After a very contentious discussion of plans to build and Olympic stadium at the expense of relocating some 4,000 and their homes in some of Rio’s favelas in March 2012, Brazil has made apparent progress this week after introducing new initiatives to deliver social programs to the favela-dwellers. For now, it seems all eyes are on Brazil to see how they plan to move forward to prepare.
Following the annexation of Venezuela to the Latin American free trade organization Mersocur, many commentators shed uncertainties for the future of partnership. While Argentina and Brazil have been particularly concerned about Chavez’s inclusion, the two nations have maintained friendly trade relations, evidenced by Embraer’s recent sale of aircraft to Venezuela. Likewise, Brazil’s regional prominence shows the nation’s power to maintain the organization’s cohesiveness.
On Wednesday August 1, 2012 the Brazilian Supreme Court examined the corruption scandal involving former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, amongst dozens of others, accused of laundering government funds in return for votes. The case could drastically hurt Lula’s reputation, the Worker’s Party’s, and also Rousseff’s, considering she was hand-picked by Lula himself. Despite the myriad of criticisms that the Lula government faces, this scandal evidences a major change for the better in Brazil’s judicial system. Where in the past impunity was the norm, the corruption scandal is now following through with democratic practices of trial and the possibility of conviction.