|Confesso, adoro a idioma Portuguesa
Sao Paulo, Brazil – Yesterday, I wrote about the main takeaway from my ongoing trip to South America — how Chile and Brazil, the two countries I’m visiting, have, on key issues like defeating poverty, transcended the tired division between left and right the United States seems hopelessly mired in.
After my time in Chile, I flew to Brazil, which is in the midst of an economic expansion — the Brazilian Boom. It’s a boom made all the more remarkable because Brazil’s problems were long thought to be intractable: high inflation, high crime rate, high income inequality, high birth rate. As the old joke went, “Brazil is the country of the future — and it always will be.” Well, the future has finally arrived.
The turnaround started with the 2002 election of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a left-wing, former union activist. When he assumed office, the country’s elite feared a Brazilian version of Hugo Chavez. But he showed himself to be less of an ideologue and more of a pragmatist. “I’m not left or right,” he said. “I’m a metal worker.” Now, as he prepares to leave office next month, he’ll be departing with a popularity rating of 80.5 percent.
During his time in office, the number of Brazilians living in poverty has fallen from 49 million to just under 29 million. And although Brazil still has one of the world’s greatest income disparities, the country is on the verge of reaching its lowest income inequality level on record.