RIO DE JANEIRO
July will mark the start of a new era for the Common Southern Market (Mercosur), when it will expand to five full members, if the South American bloc manages to overcome the commotion caused by the admission of Venezuela and the suspension of Paraguay.
Edson Godinho, a truck driver with 35 years' experience, was lucky this time. When he reached the southeastern port of Santos in early April, the line of waiting trucks was much shorter than it had been earlier, so he only had to wait 12 hours to unload his soybeans.
Jorge Bergoglio begins his papacy as Francis I facing the challenge of a Catholic Church caught up in a burdensome contradiction with modern society, because of its negative attitude to sexuality and women.
Venezuela’s economic challenges, more than the uncertainty over who will succeed late president Hugo Chávez, could threaten the oil diplomacy he practiced in the region.
The 1992 Carandirú massacre of 111 inmates shot down in what was Brazil’s largest prison was documented in thousands of print and televised news reports, as well as five books and a popular film.
Industry is the ailing sector of the Brazilian economy, with production falling 2.7 percent in 2012 in spite of government incentives, and in contrast with the strong expansion of retail trade and the lowest unemployment rate in history.
Following a promising start, Brazil's dream of positioning ethanol in the global market on an equal standing with petroleum-based fuels is hindered by new and old challenges.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, whose political career was fuelled by her stellar performance in the energy sector, is now faced with an ironic challenge: how to bring down the unusually high price of electricity predominantly generated by hydropower – the cheapest source – in this South American country of 196.6 million people.
Brazil has turned to large infrastructure as a unique way to globally expand its economy and build up its political influence, with the added bonus of furthering the development of small nations. But this strategy is not without its risks.
To go down fighting in the Andean Community (CAN), with a combined market of 92 million consumers, or move up to the big leagues of Mercosur, with 275 million? This was the dilemma faced by Bolivia’s foreign trade strategists when it came to pursuing full membership in the bloc formed by its neighbours to the south.
"We never used to eat carrots, but now we like them," said Rebeca Soba, admiring her vegetable garden, an island of diversity in the midst of a vast sugarcane plantation.
Vegetable gardening has been introduced at the Capanda Agroindustrial Pole (PAC) as a source of income for local small farmers.
The Kwanza river in the heart of Angola will be a symbol of Brazilian partnership in African development when power stations along the country's main source of water are fully operational.
José Geraldo Matos fondly recalls the massive traíras (Hoplias sp), carnivorous freshwater fish found in the lagoons and rivers of Brazil, that he used to catch in the Dos Cochos River just a few metres from his house.
"In Luanda there are no matches." This was the first line of a report written by Nobel Literature laureate Gabriel García Márquez in the Angolan capital in 1977.
A visitor to Angola might be surprised at the calm surrounding Angola’s accelerated rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure a decade after the end of so many years of war, and at the lack of after-effects like ethnic violence, armed gangs, or the settling of accounts.