domingo, 2 de maio de 2010

O Brasil "lá fora"

Esse texto traz uma análise da atual posição do Brasil no cenário internacional, como uma potência emergente que está se destacando como um agente político independente, sobretudo dos EUA - o que é difícil de se encontrar entre os latino-americanos. Ele ainda destaca a figura do presidente Lula como uns dos principais motivos dessa atual expansão brasileira na geopolitica mundial, questionando se José Serra, possível futuro sucessor (ao menos nas pesquisas preliminares), seria capaz de dar continuidade aos feitos de Lula.

O autor do artigo é Marwan Bishara, analista político senior da rede Al Jazeera, com experiência de professor de Relações Internaionais na American University of Paris.

Brazil takes centre-stage

It is rare that you see an optimistic country in these dire times. But Brazil is flying high when many are landing or crashing.

As various economies around the world try hard to recover from the international financial crisis, or pull away from the brink, Latin America's largest economy, despite many problems, is witnessing relatively high growth numbers.

With its 190 million inhabitants and more than $2tn economy, it makes up a third of the continent's wealth and manpower.

A rapidly growing economy with a robust energy sector, Brazil is now rubbing elbows with the world's superpowers.

A multicultural democracy, it has much to offer the nations of the South and North alike.

At the summit

Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup, and after beating the most prestigious cities to host the 2016 Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, like other Brazilian cities, is having a face lift, and it shows.

Sao Paulo, Brazil's - and Latin America's - financial capital that boasts 19 million inhabitants and a sea of high rise structures that host financial and insurance giants, is buzzing with life that makes you dizzy.

And Brasilia, the capital, has just hosted two important summits: The India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral, a coalition of the three strongest democracies of the South, and BRIC, the coalition of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Beyond playing the generous host, Brazil has played a major role in activating and expanding bilateral relations among the coalition members and expanding their role in various multilateral international groupings.

Whether it is the United Nations, the IMF or various international or regional development and green forums, Brazil is leaving its imprint both individually and through its grand coalitions.

Robust leadership

Thanks to the industrious leadership of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president, the governing leftist coalition is taking serious initiatives domestically, regionally and internationally.

Never has the country witnessed such an active and far reaching foreign policy in Latin America and the Middle East with concrete policy proposals and a new way of doing business.

Many claim that Lula's Workers' Party is continuing in the footsteps of its predecessor, the centre-right government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, by implementing wide ranging national developmental projects to empower the economy.

With a 76 per cent popularity rating according to a March poll, there is no doubt about the Lula government's domestic accomplishments, especially in bridging the gap between rich and poor and raising the standard of living for many Brazilians.

According to government reports, under Lula's leadership 14 million jobs have been created, 11 million in the 'formal economy', and the percentage of Brazilians living in poverty has reduced from 43 per cent to 30 per cent.

Nineteen million Brazilians have entered the 'middle class', while the percentage of Brazilians living in 'extreme poverty' has been reduced from 20 per cent to 11 per cent.

Also, last year Lula took the initial steps to give permanent legal status to over 40,000 people living in Brazil illegally - a groundbreaking initiative to bring into the legal sphere some of the most vulnerable immigrants.

Gabriel Elizondo, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Brazil, tells me that while the vast majority of the country's slums or favelas remain dangerous areas and off limits to government social services, that is starting to change.

In Rio de Janeiro, for example, some favelas have been cleansed of drug traffickers. I noticed that in the favela of Dona Marta - which Gabriel was kind enough to show me around.

I have seen how the government is providing electricity, internet access, sewer systems and other indispensable services that have made a serious difference for many. It is a future model for other slums in Brazil.

Going global

With Brazil looking and behaving so grand and international, its growing South-South relations and its excitement for the BRIC coalition, Brazil's foreign policy seems to be benefitting its growing economy.

Even its relations with the likes of Iran, where the president is visiting in May, that seem ideological to many on the right, are strengthening Brazil's status as a serious global power to be reckoned with.

Da Silva's insistence that diplomacy must be exhausted with Tehran before any new sanctions are imposed, has raised eyebrows in Western capitals, but strengthened Brazil's credibility as an independent international player.

And Brazil has the cash to support it. After lending the IMF $10bn and making serious investments in Africa, Brazil is shopping for new fighter jets worth several billions of dollars.

The US, France and Sweden are clamouring for the deal. Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, seemed to lobby the Brazilians in favour of US companies when she recently visited the country, just as Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has pledged his support for Brazil's permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Not to be left out of the deal, the king and queen of Sweden have also made a visit to Brazil!

Not a bad position to be in considering that seven years ago Da Silva was running around the world assuring Western and other leaders of his government's pragmatism and solvency.

Moreover, by playing an active role in BRIC, the four giants are expanding their relationship beyond annual summit gathering, to meetings of their economic ministers, central bank governors and various think-tanks and other state institutions, giving Brazil a global forum that is second to none.

In two to three decades, these economies are expected to be the worlds biggest. Whether they seek to change the world's economic system or merely grab a bigger share of it remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, as Celso Amorim, Brazil's foreign minister, told me in Brasilia, Brazil seeks a more democratic world and opposes any one country's domination of it.

A long way to go

While the country is on the path of economic growth and social revival, there is still a long way to go.

Brazil, like its coalition partners in the South and East, suffers from major disparities between rich and poor, privileged and destitute, and at times along racial and cultural lines.

Brazil is also first and premodern world in one, with little in common between the two. It boasts advanced airspace and aircraft industries, and at the same time, is home to native Amazonians who care little for modernity.

Mostly, Brazil is a country in urgent need of overhauling much of its education system and improving its infrastructure, as well as strengthening and expanding its industrial base to the rest of the country.

There have also been serious charges of corruption that implicated the ruling party in recent elections - even if Lula was not personally implicated in them - that must not be repeated in the coming elections.

Changing leadership ... changing course?

As the country heads to the polls in October - and Lula who is finishing his second term is not a candidate - the elections could lead to a shift in policy.

Most of those I talked to insist that domestically the country will more or less continue on Lula's path, which has proven to be successful and profitable to poor and rich alike.

However, if Jose Serra, the centre-right governor of Sao Paulo state wins the elections - as polls seem to indicate at this early stage - Brazil might not be as active on the world stage and certainly not as enthusiastic about South-South relations.

Some on the right worry that Brazil should have no interest in taking sides or upsetting its northern neighbour in far away places like the Middle East.

However, what is clear to most on the right and left is that Brazilian-US relations are in fact strong even when Brazil plays an independent role in foreign policy and remains wary of US intervention in Latin America.

The former 'community organiser' has already made clear his sentiment towards the former 'labour union leader'. Referring to his Brazilian counterpart on the sidelines of last April's G20 meeting, Barack Obama, the US president, remarked: "That's my man right here. Love this guy. He's the most popular politician on earth. It's because of his good looks."


Nenhum comentário: