BY: RAHUL MEPANI, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR
There is a famous Brazilian proverb: “Vergonha é roubar e não poder carregar,” which translates to, “shame is to steal more than what you can carry.” Ironically enough, it appears that Brazil’s own government fails to understand the concept of partitioning resources amongst its vast nation, as a majority of the country’s wealth and opulence remains concentrated in the hands of a relative few. But before we divulge into the future of Brazil’s economy and the role it will play on the international theater, let’s take a step back to understand the current Brazilian political climate. This past summer Brazil was turbulently shaken to its core, as millions of protestors marched across the nation, calling for the impeachment and removal of now former president, Dilma Roussef. It finally seemed like Brazil was taking a step in the right direction, to a world of transparency and truthfulness, and looking to root out the systematic corruption present in its politics. They even elected Michael Temer as interim president, a “no-nonsense candidate” who promised to never succumb to the corrupt tactics of his predecessor.
Yet only a few days after being elected, Temer stunned the world with the announcement of his cabinet. Of his fifteen cabinet members, five had been charged with accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, mainly from the state run oil company Petrobas, and two were under investigation for similar charges. Clearly, corruption hasn’t left the shores of Brazil, and there’s no indication that it will in the near future.
But Brazil’s role as a member of the international community is also changing. Once seen as a beacon of growth and economic prosperity as a BRIC nation, Brazil is the midst of its worse economic recession. But more importantly, Brazil seems to be unraveling at its core as its relationships with its closest allies, most notably the United States, are spiraling downward. Last winter, at the annual UN General Assembly Summit, world leaders gathered to discuss policy and tactics to counter issues the entire international community faces like global warming, disease, and terrorism, Brazil showed there continued frustration with the United States. As the United States pushed a set agenda to pass two crucial motions: one to create the “counter Daesh coalition,” which created a coalition of first world nations to fight ISIL, and second to increase sanctions on Russia because of its transgressions in the Crimean peninsula, they gathered almost all votes expect a relative few: Russia, China, and Brazil.
For a nation that claims to be one of the United States’ closest allies, shares the benefit of her protection and humanitarian aid, and takes in a little over three hundred billons dollars in trade revenues annually, Brazil does not appear to be acting in the interests of a bilateral partnership. Instead, Brazil is heading down a road that endangers its most crucial relationship, through both its foreign policy and apparent lack of transparency. At a time when tensions between the Brazilian government and the people have never been higher, mainly due to its irresponsible fiscal spending to host the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, we see that Brazil has some convoluted waters to navigate in the near future, and could decide the future of its status for the rest of the world.