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Brazil: A Global Success Story
With the Olympics finished with eyes turn toward the next venue, if only for several months. Rio de Janeiro will serve as the Olympic venue for the 2016 Olympic Games. The bidding was no doubt wildly expensive for the Olympic delegation and will only be more expensive in the race to construct facilities and make the nation presentable for the global influx that will inevitably descend in the build-up for and during the event. It may be four years away, but that doesn’t mean it will be a quiet four years for Rio.
Admittedly some interesting names have graced the list of Olympic Host Cities. Nazi Berlin notably, as well as St. Louis Missouri, a town that has lost much of its original flair. The Rio Games will be the first Olympics held in South America and, at a time, might have raised some eyebrows.Rio has enjoyed a harsh reputation of brutal crime, from street gangs to mafia level syndicates. The infamous favelas, a term to describe slums, have been dramatized in literature and film for decades. Admittedly, they were dramatized to an extent. But the fact remains, Rio did not have a reputation as a safe city once in the outskirts.
Since the production of Cidade de Deus (City of God, a critically acclaimed film about favela gang violence), crime in certain areas of the city is down. Growth for the country is on the rise with inequality slowly being chipped away. New politicians are driving out the corrupt and further increasing faith in the government. It’s a successful situation that heralds good things to come from the largest South American country. If things continue as they are, there is no doubt that Brazil will be ready to host the 2016 games and leave everyone with positive memories about it.
So where did these changes come from? Used and abused for the better part of two centuries, where did this country get the drive to go towards an industrialized nation easily poised to overtake European players in the top five economies in the world?Who and how did these changes come into being? Simple. It took nearly twenty years.
Slow and Steady
The change in Brazil is largely credited to a man named Fernando Henrique Cardoso. In 1993 he oversaw a transformation of the economy in the first major way. He and other minds of the time created new import and export policies as well as created the current currency, the real. After being elected president in 1994, he continued to build confidence in the economy and increase overall goods consumption. Nearly twenty years and two presidents later Brazil is in an excellent position to take the title of global powerhouse.
Admittedly, there are still many problems. While some favelas manage to eke out a peaceful existence with the help of security companies and the police, many are still rife with crime. Drugs and prostitution are common and the aforementioned mafia style syndicates have managed to evade authorities. If the government can keep its consistent increase in standards of living and poverty reduction, there is no doubt they will have the resources they need to solve the last of their problems.
The Great Global Success Story
The growth seen in Brazil has been referenced by some economists as being a potential source of funds to aid the EU in the foreseeable future. If ever there was an ironic situation, it’s this.Brazil, once dominated by Europe suddenly has the power to potentially bail out those countries. Given the history and struggle to attain such status, it really couldn’t have happened to a more deserving country. There’s a lot of work left to do without a doubt, but the most important step is already done. The drive to excel is there and being used to bring about amazing changes.
As with all things, the situation in Brazil should be understood carefully. While at present it is doing well, there is potential with the market and the announcement of the Olympic bid that things could turn sour quickly. The Olympics puts a prodigious strain on a city. Most become quasi-police states until the games leave and the preparation in the run up and execution cost a fortune and easily plunge Rio back into the red. But the potential for something truly great is there and growing and all we can do it wait to see what happens.
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