There is a lot to admire about Brazil. Its national martial art is one of the coolest to look at. Its music can even make old women get up and dance, and its football stars are idolized the world around. Even economically, as I mentioned in a previous article, Brazil is in the middle of a coming out party, but problems remain.
The one problem that might be holding Brazil back from true world dominance is its corruption. Brazil is booming economically and will be an economic success, but it desperately needs to crack down on its corrupt officials.
Both my Brazilian and non-Brazilian friends, who do seasonal work there, all agree that Brazil is better now than it was twenty years ago. However, they also took shots at its leadership. While it’s true that former President Lula Ignacio Lula da Silva, did continue the economic reforms of his predecessor, it is clear that the administrations of the populist Lula, and his handpicked successor Dilma Rousseff, have been scenes of rampant crookedness.
On October 26, it was reported that Brazil’s sports minister resigned amid allegations of corruption. As it turns out, $23 million that was supposed to provide young children with athletic opportunities, actually ended up in the bank account of Minister Orlando Silva, and into the coffers of the Communist Party of Brazil – a party allied with Dilma Rousseff.
Silva is only the fifth of Rouseff’s ministers to leave office, voluntarily or otherwise, in her short tenure. The minister of agriculture left over “pay-to-play” allegations, the tourism minister quit after using public funds to pay for his wife’s chauffeur, and the transport minister also quit after a pay-to-play scandal. With still more allegations of corruption on the way, the labor minister is facing allegations of wrongdoing as we speak. These threats are marring the reputation of a nation that should be focused on hosting the World Cup and Olympics, not dealing with fraud.
Dilma Rousseff has a golden opportunity on her hand. She inherited a country making great strides thanks to the policies of the two previous presidents. She shouldn’t waste the opportunity. A female president with a proud personal history who is in charge of a rising economic giant, should be someone we all celebrate, but she must get her house in order before her good name is soiled. Also, the leaders of the Brazilian Congress should do what they can to root out malfeasance and prevent Brazil from falling into the trap of becoming a typical third world kleptocracy.