Insight and investigations from our expert reporters
Everybody knows Brazil is booming these days. But they don’t always see the dark side of that progress: some of the world’s worst traffic jams, blackouts, and trucks that sit in lines for several days at harvest time because seaports are so full.
Hoping to fix those problems, Brazil plans more than $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements in the next decade, and the scope is pretty amazing. The government wants a bullet train between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo; a huge new hydroelectric dam in the Amazon; and a railroad criss-crossing Brazil’s northeast, a region that is a bit like the American Deep South in that it has historically lagged behind the rest of the country in investment.
The news isn’t all good though. Reuters did an investigation of several high-profile projects and discovered that the plans aren’t coming together as hoped. Red tape, corruption, and a lack of leadership mean that as few as half of the projects might get completed on time.
Some of the problems could be resolved by the government, like a reform of procurement laws — which sometimes make auctions take longer than the actual construction process! But some of them are structural, like an unemployment rate of about 6 percent, near all-time lows, which has caused a shortage of skilled labor.
As scientists from around the world gather in Cancun for the latest U.N. conference on climate change, Stuart Grudgings reports from Caapiranga, in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, for his special report “Weird weather leaves Amazon thirsty.”
This year’s drought in the Amazon was the kind of thing experts call a ”once in a century” event. Unfortunately, it was the second one in five years.
Another day, another Brazil story. No, not Petrobras, though that is worth reading too.
Luciana Lopez has a story about soy and shoes. It might seem like an odd combination but the two are important industries in Brazil which is undergoing an economic transformation as it comes to terms with China’s growing global clout.
Not every president has a police mugshot, but it’s not so surprising in Latin America.
A special report out of Brazil today sheds new light on Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla leader who is likely to be elected the booming country’s next president. She spent nearly three years in jail in the early 1970s and was tortured by her military captors. She’s come a long way since then.