Will Success Spoil Brazil?

Brazilian democracy, at long last, is working well, following many years of military government, and its economy seems more robust than ever. But two connected and major challenges lie ahead for Brazil and its government: the need to build a far more equal society and to resist the temptation to use nationalism to mask whatever domestic failures may manifest themselves.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil has been making international headlines of late, but not for traditional stories about urban violence, natural catastrophes, political corruption, or deforestation in the Amazon.

At the G-20 Summit in London last April, for example, US President Barack Obama called for the world to pay heed to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the “most popular politician on earth,” and shook hands with him, saying: “My man right here. I love this guy.”

In September, the ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, reappeared in the country inside the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa after three months of exile. Although his presence dramatically fuelled the situation for a time, Brazilian diplomats, working with the US, were able to reach agreement with Honduran authorities to allow Manuel Zelaya to return to office.

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