Ironically, the only two economists who have served as president of Brazil are also the only ones impeached for economic failures.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff would appear to be, as she herself recently said, “a card out of the deck” of those in power, after the crushing defeat she suffered Sunday Apr. 17 in the lower house of Congress, which voted to impeach her. But Brazil’s political crisis is so complex that the final outcome is not a given.
“There were cases of people who stopped coming to work after receiving their first wages and then came back a few days later to ask if there was more work,” because they were used to casual work in the informal economy, said Ivonne Ginard.
Néstor Colman, 69, remembers the river overflowing its banks nine times in Bañado Sur, the poor neighourhood in the Paraguayan capital where he was born and has lived all his life. “A record,” he jokes.
“I worked in many companies, in construction, fertilisers, chemicals, but none of them were as good as this one,” said Dario Cardozo, who works in the Angostura Agroindustrial Complex (CAIASA) grain reception facility.
A soybean processing plant, Angostura Agroindustrial Complex SA (CAIASA), that does not use fossil fuels and generates practically no waste products from soy reflects Paraguay’s growing industrialization.
Three decades of dengue fever epidemic did not manage to awaken a sense of urgency in Brazil regarding the need for improving and expanding basic sanitation. But the recent surge in cases of microcephaly in newborns, associated with the Zika virus, apparently has.
The Zika virus epidemic and a rise in the number of cases of microcephaly in newborns have revived the debate on legalising abortion in Brazil. However, the timing is difficult as conservative and religious groups are growing in strength, especially in parliament.
Brazil is deploying 220,000 troops to wage war against the Zika virus, in response to the alarm caused by the birth of thousands of children with abnormally small heads. But eradicating the Aedes aegypti mosquito requires battles on many fronts, including science and the pharmaceutical industry.
Brazil, which boasts that it has one of the cleanest energy mixes in the world, is now plagued by corruption, poor market conditions, and bad decisions – a near fatal combination.
The aim to impeach President Dilma Rousseff is no longer merely a threat that was poisoning politics in Brazil. Now it may be a traumatic battle, but in the light of day.
Different degrees of economic problems are a common denominator in South American countries where governments that identify as leftist may start to fall, in a shift that began in Argentina and could continue among its neighbours to the north.
“That law should have existed since the end of slavery, which threw slaves into the street without offering them adequate conditions for working and producing, turning them into semi-slaves,” said Brazilian farmer Idevan Correa.
Working as a musician in a military band is the dream of 21-year-old Jackson Coutinho, since hopes that a petrochemical complex would drive the industrialisation of this Brazilian city near Rio de Janeiro have gone up in smoke.
Itaboraí still recalls its origins as a sprawling city that sprang up along a highway, not far from Rio de Janeiro. But a few years ago big modern buildings began to sprout all over this city in southeast Brazil, whose offices and shops are almost all empty today.