No Major Effect

Paulo Sotero – The Cipher Brief, 08/05/2016

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – starting today – had the potential to boost Brazil’s international image. Director of the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and Brazil native, Paulo Sotero, tells The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder that this was always an exaggeration. However, he says the Games are somewhat of a missed opportunity.

TCB: If the Olympic Games in Brazil go well – that is, if there are no major security breaches and if the competitions run smoothly – what will this do for Brazil’s international image? And, conversely, if the Games don’t go well, what will be the effect?

Paulo Sotero: I think in either scenario it will not have a major effect. If things go reasonably well, people will understand that this is what happens in major sporting events globally. Before, there’s always a tendency to exaggerate or highlight the negatives: that the country’s not ready, that the venues will not be ready in time, and that the country has various negative aspects. And then, when you come closer to the events, people realize that what needed to be ready was, in fact, ready.

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Olympics meant to showcase Brazil’s emergence, now spotlight its collapse

Andrew O’Reily – Fods News Latino, 08/02/2016

Seven years ago when Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that Rio de Janeiro would host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games on the city’s famed Copacabana beach, there was the feeling in the air that something momentous was about to happen in the South American nation.

Lula promised Brazilians that the Olympics and the 2014 World Cup would showcase the country as an emerging power on the world stage that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of the United States, Western Europe and Russia.

For Brazil, he suggested that day in 2009, the sky was the limit.

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Hey World, Let’s Cut Brazil Just a Little Slack

Brian Winter – Americas Quarterly, 08/01/2016

After being kidnapped by uniformed police in Rio on the eve of the Olympic Games, a young New Zealander proclaimed on Facebook that Brazil “is well and truly f***ed in every sense of the word imaginable.” Many others agreed, from the Australian athletes who arrived in their dorms to find overflowing toilets (and a fire, and then thieves) to Brazilians themselves, 63 percent of whom believe the Games will cause more harm than good to their country. Indeed, if there’s just one thing in this crazy polarized world that Trump-bashers and Hillary-haters, Sunnis and Shiites, and Argentines and Brazilians could seemingly agree on right now, it’s that, man, it sure would be nice to have a do-over on the site of the 2016 Olympics.
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Some predict the angst will pass once the events actually begin, although there are reasons to be skeptical of this. Because unfortunately, there’s no way to paper over Rio’s problems, which are also for the most part Brazil’s problems. Visitors will be mugged; athletes may get sick; fans may be stranded because of lousy logistics. But at the risk of being shouted down by an army of freshly pickpocketed, sewage-soaked sailors, I propose that everyone cut Brazil just a tiny bit of slack during these next few weeks. Why? Because its main sin in hosting these Olympics was a sin of ambition – and that is precisely the kind of sin the global community should be most willing to forgive.

To explain, let me briefly take you back to 2009, when Rio won the right to host these games. As everyone knows, Brazil was in the middle of a long economic boom that lifted 40 million people out of poverty, put the country on the cover of The Economist, yada yada yada. Even then, it was clear that hosting an Olympics in a democracy in the developing world – arguably for the first time – would bring unique challenges. There would be no “magic” ability to sweep away protesters, pollution or environmental permits for efficiency’s sake, as Beijing had done at the previous year’s Summer Games.
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Letter to LASA from President Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Dear fellow directors of LASA,

I wish to reiterate my gratitude for your invitation to participate at the celebration  of LASA’s 50th anniversary. I have always followed LASA’s journey and had the pleasure of attending several of its meetings.

I am also grateful for your reaffirmation of the invitation, notwithstanding the statements by researchers and professors who, driven by ideological passions, imagined that I might use the event to discuss Brazil’s internal political problems. Those who are acquainted with me know that I was trained as a social scientist at a time when, despite beliefs and values, intellectuals sought to keep scientific objectivity as a core value in their academic endeavors. And yet, the ideological winds currently blowing at certain academic circles seem to mix the position of activists with that of scientists.

Needless to say, in my whole life I have steadfastly stood for democratic values  in the Brazilian context and in the world at large. Exiled by the military coup d’état of 1964, compulsorily removed from the University of São Paulo by the authoritarian regime in 1969, I created a center of political and intellectual resistance in Brazil (like CEBRAP) and helped, as much as possible, in the struggle against military dictatorships in Latin America. For that I paid a heavy price. I was deprived of the chair I had earned at the University of Sao Paulo, was prosecuted by the military regime and submitted to questionings, blindfolded and hooded, in a notorious torture center in Sao Paulo.

Continue reading “Letter to LASA from President Fernando Henrique Cardoso”

Dilma Rousseff Impeachment: How Did it Go Wrong For Her?

Daniel Gallas – BBC, 05/12/2016

It was only a year and a half ago that 54.5 million Brazilians went to the polls to re-elect Dilma Rousseff in one of the world’s largest democratic elections.

She defeated a centre-right coalition of parties by a narrow margin and earned a mandate to carry on the legacy of the centre-left Workers’ Party, which has been governing Brazil since 2003.

But now she has been suspended from office and is to stand trial, accused of manipulating the government budget. And she faces the real possibility of being removed from power in six months.

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Businesses Signal Approval of Brazil Leadership Change

Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 05/12/2016

Businesses and investors are cheering the new leadership in Brazil following the suspension of President Dilma Rousseff, who many blame for a deep recession and crumbling finances in Latin America’s largest economy.

Vice President Michel Temer, who officially will replace Ms. Rousseff later Thursday as she steps down to face an impeachment trial, is expected to quickly propose measures to cut spending and rein in entitlements.

Mr. Temer could reduce the number of government ministries — more than 30 exist now — and the potential leader of his economic team is looking to tame budget deficits. These measures aim to shrink a massive budget deficit and restore investor confidence.

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Brazil’s Rousseff set to Bow Out After Senate Votes to Put her on Trial

Anthony Boadle, Maria Carolina Marcello – Reuters, 05/12/2016

Brazil’s Senate voted on Thursday to put leftist President Dilma Rousseff on trial in a historic decision brought on by a deep recession and a corruption scandal that will now confront her successor, Vice President Michel Temer.

With Rousseff to be suspended during the Senate trial for allegedly breaking budget rules, the centrist Temer will take the helm of a country that again finds itself mired in political and economic volatility after a recent decade of prosperity.

The 55-22 vote ends more than 13 years of rule by the left-wing Workers Party, which rose from Brazil’s labor movement and helped pull millions of people out of poverty before seeing many of its leaders tainted by corruption investigations.

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