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.
Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction programme, hailed as bold, has nevertheless left environmentalists frustrated at its lack of ambition in key aspects.
From now on, elections in Brazil will be more democratic, without corporate interference, which had become decisive and corruptive. A Sep. 17 Supreme Court ruling declared unconstitutional articles of the elections act that allow corporate donations to election campaigns.
Besides suffering from macroeconomic imbalances, like a drop in GDP, a high inflation rate and a large public deficit, Brazil is experiencing heavy losses as many oil industry and logistical works grind to a halt.
In the case of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in Brazil, the projects aimed at mitigating the social impacts have been delayed. But in other cases, infrastructure such as hospitals and water and sewage pipes could improve the image of the hydropower plants on Brazil’s Amazon rainforest rivers, turning them into a factor of effective local development.
The extraction of deepwater oil, the most abundant kind in Brazil, is costly but foments technological and industrial development, requiring increasingly complex production equipment and techniques.
Brazil’s rush to build hydroelectric dams, refineries, railways, ports and other megaprojects since the last decade, not only at home but in other countries as well, has been fueled by the sheer volume of financing from its development bank.
Paulo de Oliveira drives a taxi in the northern Brazilian city of Altamira, but only when he is out of work in what he considers his true profession: operator of heavy vehicles like trucks, mixers or tractor loaders.
Ethnocide, the new accusation leveled against the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, brings to light deeper underlying aspects of the conflicts and controversies unleashed by megaprojects in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.