In 2010, Dilma Rousseff made Brazilian history as the first female president of the South American nation. With 56 percent of the vote, she was able to secure the victory against José Serra with a platform of “eradicating extreme poverty” and “reducing inequality” in Brazil, as well putting more of a focus on increasing the quality of education for the youth of the nation.
Over the last several years I’ve conducted extensive research in Brazil focused on the multiple and complex intersections of race, music, and space.
On November 5th, 2015, an unprecedented environmental disaster took place in the interior state of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Two dams containing runoff material from nearby mines, ruptured and sent a wave of chemically hazardous sludge throughout the nearby regions. The dams, located in the municipality of Mariana, covered entire towns and wildlife in a thick layer of sludge, and moved its way to the Rio Doce which now runs a deep orange color.
Military dictatorships in most Latin American countries during the 1970s suppressed the population, but out of it grew a movement that remains strong. People who were typically voiceless, began to use walls as a microphone for their political and social expressions. While street art is not always politically linked, the movement grew from the need to not be silenced anymore.
It is frequently argued that the rivalry between Brazil and Argentina has been surmounted. That is, the two countries have successfully overcome their differences and turned their relationship into a paragon of a strategic partnership - except on the pitch. Although Brazil-Argentina provides an astonishing example of turning an erstwhile opponent into a strategic ally, the fact is that the two countries live a love-hate relationship.
The Brazilian government has placed its bet on Amazonian hydroelectric infrastructure as a key piece of its clean energy future. A national discourse about the green economy and sustainable development surround such large development projects today, despite the long and distressing historical track record of building large dams in the Amazon.
Since the end of the nineteenth century, Brazil has enjoyed international renown as a ‘racial democracy’ and a mixed-race country, due to its mixture of people of European, African and Amerindian descent. Mário de Andrade and Gilberto Freyre were amongst several intellectuals who, from the beginning of the twentieth century, started to positively assess the black and African roots of Brazil.
The recent impeachment scandal occurring in Brazil stemming from President Dilma’s alleged involvement in the Lava-Jato scandal has resurrected stories from past impeachment scandals around Latin America.
During the first years of the new century, the Brazilian economy experienced an economic growth spurt, and its society became more equal than before. It was included among the most important developing economies worldwide (the "BRICS") and was often regarded as an example to be followed. Recently, however, it seems as if it had lost its way toward development.
In December 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization issued an alert warning of the zika virus infection. The virus is a mosquito-borne disease that causes a fever, headaches, conjunctivitis, etc. Its clinical manifestation is similar to the dengue fever, which is also a mosquito-borne illness.