Monday, January 10, 2011

Brazil: A Nation Transformed

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazils first working-class president, ended his second term in triumph recently. He hands the office to his hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, elected as the first female president thanks to her mentor's record popularity.
Silva, 65, leaves a nation transformed from a perennial underacheiver into one with economic and political clout, model social programs and a swagger as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The middle class has grown by 29 million people, creating a powerful new domestic consumer market. Another 20 million people were pulled from poverty.

The value of Brazil's currency has more than doubled against the U.S. dollar. Inflation has been tamed, unemployment is at a record low and illiteracy has dropped. By the time Brazil hosts the Olympics it is forecast to be the fifth-largest economy, surpassing Italy, Britain and France.

But Silva's legacy goes beyond figures. The common man remembers that it was a man from the poor masses who finally delivered on the promise of Brazil.

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