“But you are Brazilian!” – after I rejected a sexual advance.
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In recent weeks, social media in Brazil has been abuzz with talk of the rise of a new breed of vigilantes or justiceiros in society.
With the World Cup later this year, and the summer Olympics in Rio in 2016, overseas visitors will naturally be concerned with their safety. However, the sort of treatment being meted out by citizens rather than officials may do more harm than good for Brazil’s image. Continue reading »
‘Imagine if this happens during the World Cup?’ or ‘Imagina na Copa?’, as the phrase goes in Portuguese. That has been the refrain in Brazil about everything from inclement weather to political protests since football’s organising body Fifa announced the Latin American country would host the 2014 World Cup what seems an age ago now.
Usually, the concerns have been around more mundane issues, such as delays in stadium construction or poor public transport. Over the weekend, however, a more serious problem reared its ugly head – hooliganism. Brazil was shocked by live footage of a national league match between southern team Atletico Paranaense and Rio de Janeiro’s Vasco da Gama, in a regional city, Joinville. Continue reading »
Brazil’s imminent hosting of the Fifa World Cup next year and the Olympic Games in 2016 has shone a spotlight on the country’s often woefully inadequate infrastructure. But it has also prompted some hasty work to encourage private-sector investment. In civil aviation, as well as in other areas, this is gathering pace – which can only be good for the country’s aviation sector. Continue reading »
For the first time in their country’s recent history, Brazilians finally had a taste of seeing politicians going to jail for corruption.
Last Friday – symbolically, the same day that the Proclamation of the Republic is celebrated in Brazil – the court decreed prison for a group of 12 politicians and bankers involved in the scandal of Mensalão or ‘big monthly payment’, the vote-buying scheme in Congress that used public funds to pay bribes. Continue reading »
A plan by financially troubled Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista to build a port in the state of Rio de Janeiro, the so called Superporto do Açu, or the “Rotterdam of tropics”, is by any measure ambitious.
Slated to be one-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan Island, Açu has required the expropriation of huge tracts of agricultural land from the surrounding families in the municipality of São João da Barra, in Rio de Janeiro state. Continue reading »
For the government, some good news. The IPCA consumer prices index for July released this Wednesday showed a 0.03 per cent rise compared with June – the smallest increase in monthly inflation in three years.
It seems finance minister Guido Mantega finally has the answer he has been looking for to the question posed by FT Brazil bureau chief Joe Leahy on Tuesday – that is whether Brazil has “overcome its recent phase of above-target inflation”? Continue reading »
But he remains in the headlines, though not always for reasons he would like. This week, persistent rumours that he is “sick” surfaced again, paradoxically alongside other mutterings that he might be considering a comeback for president next year. Continue reading »
Brazil’s Congress is a lot like a chaotic call centre. No one knows who is responsible for your complaint; the problem is constantly referred on to another person; and it is resolved only when you threaten to take the matter to a superior, or to sue.
This week in Congress is a case in point. Continue reading »
When Brazilians took to the streets to protest last month, one of the most surprising elements was the absence of traditional political parties and unions.
The unions tried to make up for that on Thursday with a so-called “Day of Struggle”, but ended up giving out more of a squeak than a roar. Continue reading »
There has been some noise and confusion around Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party (PT) recently, particularly regarding what on earth its champion, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, thinks about the recent political upheaval on the streets and how his anointed successor, Dilma Rousseff is handling it. Continue reading »
On first impressions, a foreigner visiting São Paulo could easily believe that Brazil is a wealthy country. Take the city’s metro stations, for example. Their cleanliness, modern architecture and efficiency stand in contrast to some of those in Europe or the US, where one can occasionally find oneself keeping company with rats and cockroaches on the platform.
This points to a fundamental truth about Brazil. While it is unquestionably a developing country (the same figurative foreigner above will soon discover this once he or she ventures out São Paulo’s wealthier neighbourhoods), it is not a poor country. Continue reading »
While the world was watching footage of Brazilians fighting for their political rights during this month’s protests, perhaps more difficult to grasp from afar was the lighter side of the movement.
The protests generated a storm of creativity, demonstrating the Brazilian sense of humour. A page on Tumblr called Cartazes dos Protestos (Protest Signs) collated some of the best slogans. Continue reading »
When protests broke out on São Paulo’s streets two weeks ago the city’s mayor, Fernando Haddad, and its governor, Geraldo Alckmin, were in Paris, lobbying for the Expo 2020 international exhibition to be held in the city. At that point, the protests probably just seemed to be demonstrations over bus fares by a small group of students with nothing better to do, so why worry?
But as the protests back home have grown, attracting more than 1m people on Thursday night, the government has increasingly found itself torn between pleasing international investors and its own people. Continue reading »
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