Browsing Tag: brazil

    Rio de Janeiro Light Rail – A Dica do Dia
    Articles, Blog

    Rio de Janeiro Light Rail – A Dica do Dia

    October 11, 2019


    There is a special transportation that you’ll only find and be able to use at the center of Rio. Have you heard of the Rio de Janeiro Light Rail? The VLT Carioca, as it’s called in Portuguese, was built in 2016 for the Olympics and it’s now part of the everyday life of Cariocas. Inspired in the streetcars that used to be seen around the city in the 60s, Rio de Janeiro Light Rail connects several points in the center of the city in a fast and sustainable way. It improved mobility and facilitated access to Porto Maravilha and neighborhoods such as Saúde, Gamboa and Santo Cristo which are an important part of the history of Rio. The VLT is nearly silent, fueled by fossil fuels and it moves just like a bus, following the same traffic rules. The only difference is that it has its own rail to move around. For you to use the Rio de Janeiro Light Rail, you’ll need a card, the same that you use in a bus, and you can buy it in every VLT station. Once you enter teh VLT you need to validate your card. Not validating it can have bad consequences, such as paying a R$ 170,00 fine. Come and ride it with us on our RioLIVE! activities. You’ll surely enjoy it. Bye bye!

    Articles

    Contra A Copa: The Other Side of Brazil’s World Cup (Part 3)

    October 9, 2019


    L’hélicoptère survole la manifestation
    avec une caméra, et on peut la suivre en temps réel. La Coupe du monde n’aura pas lieu ! [CONTRA A COPA
    PARTIE 3 SUR 4] Afin d’accueillir la Coupe du monde,
    la FIFA a demandé au Brésil de grands changements en termes de sécurité et d’infrastructures. Dans les rues de Rio, ça s’est traduit par
    une guerre contre les trafiquants de drogue. En réalité, les faits montrent que c’était plutôt
    une guerre contre les populations révoltées des favelas. Mais les habitants ont contre-attaqué,
    des policiers ont été tués et un de leurs hélicoptères a été détruit. Dans le nord de Rio,
    à 4 km du stade du Mondial, 8 000 familles ont occupé
    un bâtiment de télécom abandonné. En avril dernier, quand l’heure était venue de les virer
    pour laisser place au foot, les rues se sont embrasées. “La Coupe du monde n’aura pas lieu” est devenu
    le cri de ralliement de tout le pays, et particulièrement celui des favelas. La Coupe du monde n’aura pas lieu ! La Coupe du monde n’aura pas lieu ! Chaque exécution de la police a fait monter l’hostilité envers le gouvernement
    et ses projets pour les riches. Vous avez tué un innocent ! Vous avez tué un innocent ! Il semblerait que la seule réponse
    du gouvernement à cette colère populaire soit d’accroître l’utilisation de la force. [RIO DE JANEIRO, BRÉSIL]
    On est allés dans un bidonville un peu excentré,
    la favela Rocinha, l’un des plus grands de Rio, pour voir ce qui a changé depuis la prise de contrôle
    de la police il y a 2 ans et demi. [TIM POOL, VICE NEWS]
    Pacifiée en novembre 2011, Rocinha
    est aujourd’hui sous surveillance policière 24h/24. Je m’appelle Weelf,
    je suis rappeur. [WEELF, HABITANT DE ROCINHA]
    Un pur produit de la favela Rocinha,
    la plus grande d’Amérique latine. On est à l’entrée de la 2e rue. Je vais vous faire visiter la paisible communauté dans laquelle on vit et vous montrer les conséquences du projet de l’État. Ils ont créé un vrai camp de concentration
    et nous maintiennent sous surveillance policière. J’ai parcouru une bonne partie
    de la favela Rocinha. On m’a expliqué ce qui se passe depuis la pacification
    et on a rencontré un jeune qui veut rester anonyme. Il fait partie d’un gang
    et il va nous raconter ce qui se passe. Comment toi et les gens des favelas
    voient la Coupe du monde ? Je pense que c’est bien
    qu’elle ait lieu au Brésil, mais ce Mondial est pour les riches,
    les pauvres ne pourront pas y aller. C’est pour ça que les gens
    ne sont pas très enthousiastes. On voit pas de fresques sur les murs, on voit plus de petits drapeaux comme avant. Le Brésil est un très beau pays
    pour faire des photos, mais les gens ont besoin
    de nourriture et de soins… L’autre jour, à la télé, j’ai vu
    une femme qui accouchait au milieu de la rue. Son bébé est venu au monde sur le sol. C’est inconcevable que de telles choses surviennent dans
    un pays assez important pour accueillir la Coupe du Monde. Au lieu d’être investi dans l’eau ou la santé,
    l’argent qui part dans les favelas ne sert qu’à installer
    des caméras pour contrôler la population et s’assurer du bon ordre. Ça fait quoi de voir fleurir les caméras ? Les gens ont des avis
    très différents là-dessus. Certains s’en foutent complètement, et d’autres le vivent comme
    une intrusion dans leur vie privée. Si l’UPP [Unité de Police Pacificatrice]
    utilisait de bonnes méthodes, ça pourrait servir à quelque chose. Mais si c’est pour qu’ils aient
    des preuves d’incivilité, comme ça m’est arrivé 2 fois… Si je veux des images pour prouver que la police a mal agi avec moi, ils ne les fourniront pas. Par exemple, celle-ci… Beaucoup de gens n’aiment pas être surveillés. Par exemple, celle-ci est cassée. Regarde. On s’est demandé qui était
    à l’origine de cette surveillance. Alors, avec Matias,
    on a essayé de les débusquer. [MATIAS MAXX, ACTIVISTE/RÉALISATEUR] On va au CICC,
    le Centre intégré de commande et de contrôle. En fait, c’est là qu’ils ont toutes les caméras,
    les écrans et tout. Et toutes les agences sont là.
    La police militaire, la police civile, la police fédérale. J’espère que ça va m’impressionner. Enfin, non, parce que
    si je suis impressionné, ça veut dire qu’ils nous surveillent vraiment.
    Ce serait la merde. Je comprends pas ce qu’elle raconte. Putain, mais tu veux que j’aille où ? Plein le cul de ce GPS. Parcourir Rio en voiture avec Matias,
    c’est toujours une aventure. Quand on se perd pas,
    on tombe en panne d’essence, ou les 2. Ah, putain. Plus d’essence ? Ouais. J’espère juste pas tomber en panne d’essence
    dans le parking de cette merde. La prochaine étape de notre parcours,
    le Centre de commande, est un bâtiment récent de surveillance construit
    pour la Coupe du monde. Il a coûté environ 50 millions de dollars
    au gouvernement, et c’est le cœur du système
    de surveillance de la ville. Très peu de Cariocas connaissent
    l’existence de ce bâtiment. C’est si nouveau que, pour accéder au parking,
    il faut grimper sur des trottoirs. Qu’est-ce qui se passe, Matias? Ils ont dit de passer sur le trottoir pour rentrer dans le parking. On n’est pas censés faire ça, mais
    c’est le gouvernement, donc… Putain, j’espère que
    la voiture n’a rien pris. Le Centre de commande fait partie
    d’un grand projet de surveillance des données. Il est dirigé par des officiers
    de la police militaire. Première étape,
    la salle du serveur. C’est le cœur du centre. Tous les serveurs et le matériel [COL. CARLOS ALFRADIQUE, POLICE MILITAIRE DE RIO]
    se trouvent ici. On a une capacité de stockage
    de 98 terabytes. À ce que je sais. Et on est en train d’ajouter
    130 terabytes de plus dans une autre pièce qui va être ouverte
    au gouvernement fédéral. Le centre a été construit pour
    la Coupe du monde et les J.O. de 2016, mais c’est aussi un nouvel outil du gouvernement pour
    surveiller les favelas les plus difficiles qui entourent le stade. Les caméras de l’UPP, elles sont aussi reliées ? Oui, elles diffusent toutes ici. Ici, on peut voir une caméra
    qui filme le Complexo do Alemao. On voit ce que voit chaque caméra. Si un touriste qui vient pour le Mondial appelle le numéro d’urgence, les données de sa requête
    seront transférées à la police ou aux représentants de chaque agence afin qu’on puisse faire
    le nécessaire pour l’aider. On a les images des caméras
    des hélicoptères. Lors des manifestations,
    par exemple, l’hélicoptère a une caméra au-dessus
    de la manifestation et on peut la suivre d’ici en temps réel. Combien de ces écrans vont diffuser
    les matchs du Brésil ? Ici ? Aucun. Même pas un ? J’y crois pas. Personne regardera le foot ? Faudra suivre à la radio. Le centre fait partie d’un projet visant
    à garder un œil sur les manifestations. Une large frange de la population
    s’est opposée à un nouveau projet de loi antiterroriste du gouvernement brésilien
    qui aurait rendu toute manifestation illégale. Cette loi prévoyait des peines de 15 à 30 ans
    pour incitation au désordre public. La Coupe du monde n’aura pas lieu ! Comme beaucoup de ses voisins latino-américains,
    le Brésil n’a pas de lois antiterroristes en raison d’abus terribles
    pendant la dictature militaire qui a pris fin il y a 20 ans. Les Brésiliens refusent de laisser
    les militaires reprendre le contrôle du pays. Désormais, de plus en plus de citoyens
    expriment leur colère dans la rue. Police terroriste ! Ils se sont mis à chanter,
    “Silence dans la favela ! Silence dans la favela !” [À SUIVRE DANS LA PARTIE 4] Il y a vraiment des gens riches qui disent,
    “les pauvres, fermez-la” ? – Ouais.
    – C’est dingue. La FIFA va tomber ! La FIFA va tomber ! La FIFA va tomber ! La FIFA va tomber !

    Articles

    Brazil monorail collapse: One killed in Sao Paolo ahead of World Cup

    September 16, 2019


    Part of a monorail has collapsed in Brazil’s
    biggest city, killing a construction worker. The man is believed to have been working on
    an extension to Sao Paolo’s metro network when he was hit by a large, concrete beam. Collapsing just days before the start of the
    World Cup, the 11 mile line, connecting the airport to the city’s metro, was supposed
    to have opened in time for the tournament to alleviate congestion, but is one of several
    ventures delayed or scrapped. Once built, the driverless trains are expected
    to carry up to 250,000 passengers a day. Two other workers were injured in the accident,
    but local media has reported they didn’t face life threatening injuries. Eight people have died during the building
    or refurbishing of the 12 venues scheduled to host the month-long competition. Three of those happened in the building of
    Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians which will host the World Cup opener when Brazil faces Croatia
    on Thursday.

    Articles

    Contra A Copa: The Other Side of Brazil’s World Cup (Full Length)

    September 15, 2019


    [Applause] we’re coming off of a year of the biggest protest results ever seen some of the most aggressive [Applause] we’ve guys corruption financial waste all of the soccer hooligans are coming to descend on Brazil as well you’ve got a pissed off population it seems like a very very large powder keg yeah [Applause] in 2007 FIFA chose Brazil to host the World Cup Brazil it seemed like a brilliant idea hosting the World Cup in the most football frenetic country on the planet little did they expect that it would become the focus of some of the largest protests Brazil has seen in decades this masked civil uprising began in June of 2013 and it surprised even the most jaded Brazilians hundreds of thousands of people paralysed cities across the country over a 20 cent increase in bus fares the police response was brutal in the beginning elite military police units trained to pass by Rio slums were brought to quell demonstrators but the police violence drove more people into the streets for the first time anyone can recall that people began to lose their fear of the police the protests have been remarkable for another reason the public outrage bridged wide class differences in Brazil Rios college educated kids are fighting side by side with hardened protesters from the favela who have borne the brunt of Brazil’s brutal police force thanks to the World Cup they now have a common enemy FIFA the world governing body of football and the unbridled capitalism that it represents in exchange for hosting the World Cup FIFA demanded upgrades to Brazil’s infrastructure and internal security that is Eluned into the most expensive in football history some 15 billion dollars the government insists all of the spending is worth it yes Maria I are now at a masa policía militar a police is if you acquiesce a figure out my ship in Chile warmest regards parada with the Syrian civil war but achilles give you opportunity but the past year is shown the population is fellow this outrage can only be contained through a massive mobilization of troops 170,000 military and police are being deployed to secure the games new laws have granted the military and police special powers to arrest demonstrators in a country emerging from decades of military dictatorship FIFA and the World Cup have given the police and armed forces and new reason to flex their muscles team Brazil may do its magic during the World Cup but this is not about football anymore [Music] in Rio we joined probably the most peaceful protest of the year the annual marijuana March where everyone is too stoned to cause trouble we went there to meet up with Matias who has been filming the cast in the streets from day one last year he’s part of the movement and an activist in his own right not afraid to get his camera up in the face of the police hurling a beer can at a cop last year he was arrested but even that didn’t stop him from filming we headed to downtown Rio where one of the largest rides took place to get an insider’s perspective on what the demonstrations are really about rio de janeiro way of crossing the street now we begin with the the bus fare the mayor’s were real acted and assumed a they assumed office they raised it bus fares both real and some power you know and that got people really pissed off it’s like they’ve been trick and you know like so it sounds like politics man yeah it’s not about only twenty cents it’s about everything it’s about how quality of life is sucks in real and in some pound the big cities the big events such as the World Cup and the Olympics have part of it because people are seeing like how many money is spend it for the World Cup you know it’s already the most expensive World Cup of history and it’s all for people who don’t live here it’s all for the tourists exactly and it’s sad because the Brazilians are such fanatics to football and it’s just like the they’re missing the best of the body they hosting the party but they can’t be there yeah shut up Matthias is taking us to where one of the largest protests in Rio’s history took place last year most of the protests until then had been hidden from sight and confined to poor areas in the favelas but this uprising took place right in the middle of downtown Rio there was you know the protests going all over the country or something like oh my god this is the revolutions coming is the day I waited all my life you know [Applause] people torture the car down there I got the finally the chance to first time I seen a cab car burning and they don’t sport like in the American movies then explode no they just burn burn burn [Music] without expectation with the bits floating well it didn’t you didn’t get your action movie sequence yeah if the present team plays really bad you know like in the 2006 World Cup they suck it they played really bad you know if that happens again things can get out of contr because then I’ll the population will be pissed off with the Brazilian national team and they come on now there’s more like one week of these Gringo’s having party here you know that can be a frightening football and politics are so intertwined in Brazil that whether by accident or design the presidential elections always have in the same year as the World Cup the World Cup has been seen as a way for the government to boost its ratings and there’s an official view that Brazilians love for football will override all other problems hezonia do mundo de mundo a table protégée de Levante DDoS pesos Nena poem grande event Rashmi Candace’s Allison’s commissar disembark Ando Brazil us to reach disaster ystos de todo mundo comas Aria disembark a new Brazil moister Amazon Web ENT me – mais de fest locate the protest but events in Rio last year proved otherwise and could be an indication of what to expect during the World Cup in the city on June 30th 2013 undefeated Spain played Brazil in the Confederation Cup final at Maracana stadium in Rio this would be kind of a dry run for the World Cup 6,000 police were deployed around the stadium versus 1,200 protesters at 7:00 p.m. the match started and with just a minute and a half into the game Brazil got its first chance for an attack Fred number nine made an astonishing goal while lying down outside the stadium protestors played football with tear gas canisters the police engaged Molotov cocktail throwing protesters with rubber bullets tear gas and stun grenades Fred one of the best attackers in football said that he done a lot of good things laying down but never a goal full name on outside the right became more dramatic as the game continued reaching a violent climax as Brazil’s Neymar fired a second goal this left foot high above the goalkeeper Brazil pummeled Spain 3 to 0 defeating Spain’s record 29 game winning streak but this spectacular win wasn’t enough to keep protesters off the streets [Applause] [Music] [Applause] Rio de Janeiro is famous for its sprawling favelas there are 750 of these slums stacked up on the hills throughout the city migrants from the countryside seeking work built these favelas which have spread higher and higher into the mountains but over the years these slums have been taken over by drug traffickers and gangs the deepest resentment against the Brazilian government can be found in these neighborhoods holding what I do a more hateful you know thinking these will you take up the banner and aesthetically these vast slums like the Complexo do Alemao in the northern sector of Rio have long been neglected by the state for decades these places were left to rot basic services are non-existent and drug gangs have set up a parallel government but under the banner of security for the World Cup in the 2016 Olympic Games the government launched operations imposing military law and a de facto police state on a vast majority of Rio’s urban poor at the battalion headquarters of the Brazilian Army at complex Adama a major crew check insists the pacification efforts are not linked to the World Cup CSO Paris own Ella no es Pacifica para copa de Elif we visualize ah de para trás demise Saguna Sinisa rhe camara fundamental message Costa Dorada mio mio favela kilulu engineer the Thomson said Trinamool’s vvv Akina saheba pasa pasa por mucho Grande Jose denser distant image Clinton’s he gives us Tristana CG the abandon medicine practicum energy associates the police Emir to the main tones as well canister screaming walls eras in domine ninh domine ro aside a keeping with them the operation is currently going on right now Antonio Jeffersons my treated Jesus Jesus Evita Jackie Arizona which what was Roger set you gypsum on which we see the the cars the people looking for drugs broken for guns do you think that the aberration puts stress on the on the innocent people the people who aren’t criminals having a deal with the military in the police coming in to do this work a key a comunidade laughs Evo mucho tiempo de manera que los primeros in Tony stay si UD Sega yup watch a converse aquagenic you meadow GT Emma hey Talia Sunday poised do crimin was it on kompis our tempo no sons Serie C Medicaid esteem man Eve a key which tab stop residential don’t even ask for money – people the pacification program resembles nothing less than a full-blown military operation Rios hotspots presents some of the most challenging and dangerous terrain and Brazilian elite units are some of the most highly trained in urban warfare right now we’re at favela da Marais it’s a favelas situated in between two very important roads in Rio now for a long time a lot of the favelas in Rio were not under state control there were no police here at all they were controlled by gangs so the government has started occupying these spaces these neighborhoods to try and bring them back under their control right now we’ve got military here and once the military clean up the the neighborhood they’re gonna send in the military police and then the civilian police the civil police is a lead squad known as cote will be among the first to respond to any trouble during the World Cup cote spearheaded the pacification efforts of Complexo do Alemao an operation famous in Brazil for being one of the deadliest my stylist NASA buzz akima who from marcus operators on Friday I had to model complex Dalia mom and I say keep for a premiere keeping track na kijiye no complex circuit okay but kinda CJ fair walking around the police headquarters it’s apparent that the World Cup has been a windfall for the police and the private security business some Calabrian da de nos Damon hotels so the pro corona mark is here yeah it’s the bank that’s anyone luckily chewy that’s area of the San Bernardino si an Oscar Aubrey and add th kostroma ant Ranas comunidades a aqui en Casa give ear as Marcus quasi a natural V those columns if you come before I didn’t hear a breezeway key in cash offers you a secure version of an alkali all blended much more like a lot a mountain so washed away [Music] [Music] [Music] in Thomas a samosa favelas moolaade a rich Frieder to ossify felt appreciated Apollo’s rapid operation as Ducati tourists explore kapa quality rau French but programmatic decima sobre el some scam with Ezra’s estimate preocupado que está cuidando yeah he’s no per se que te Tony Stevo cuidado de bata hace para la ciudad en contra for example a key staging Escondido Leo’s conjured a key a woman’s vanity quadrant eh Sampson bein straight eternity reproduce de todo se Shippuden be a change in contra [Applause] conseguir a key advantage of in entrando por aqui press coming disparage the Summa to the PDO change detect owners favelas mistress praça you ever ever had to jump down this is easy yeah yeah [Applause] [Laughter] while the fake favela was cool we wanted to hear what the cops do in the real favelas Rio’s elite police units are notoriously trigger-happy every year officers kill about 1300 people a vast majority of them are poor and black inhabitants of the favelas thousands have also been disappeared we’re on our way to favela Hasina to meet with the wife of a man who is disappeared by the police last year his name was on a real dough and his story has resonated with many of the protesters in Brazil his mysterious disappearance the hands of the police call up memories of Brazil’s military dictatorship pets can you tell me what kind of person I’m a real dough is like I’m a developer swaboda la comunidad Nasiri creatinine KCl at aerospace Osheaga Sima de Falla becchi nada de Mario de Falla nada a police Amato so new cosmo es mio capo Trafficante marta mo stroke or police Almaty so me in Tabasco estados de minimis comunidade pocketed raka bo-boogie push public action movie LaVon de marido oh no very important education shigeki de nasi gonna set up a pair mio marito antibody for etomidate OPP vo go Bonilla apparel fritto paper mill marriages yo como si ma de patrasche Yoko Paris principal Nelson Sessler Selma Mario porque se no Abbas a fa la cerveza por la casa umoja viva la première family bearing American tinnitus Eva Braga’s calamari okay image image emerges a policy I if I come in size of a proper associa community room [Applause] AHA sentai Oh jeepers I’m assuming the contest chemical protest o mundo – away AHA synthetic Apache low over to me I’m a real dose case through even more people into the streets to join the protests as it fueled the fire of an already volatile population Brazilians have had enough of the brutal police tactics and they refused to be controlled again by a military police state [Applause] [Music] in order to host the World Cup FIFA demanded that Brazil go through a huge makeover in terms of security and infrastructure on the ground in Rio this translated into a war against drug gangs but really it was part of a larger war against the disaffected population in the favelas but the favelas fought back killing officers and even shooting down a police helicopter in the North Zone of Rio just four kilometers from the World Cup Stadium 8,000 families occupied an abandoned telecommunications building when it came time to clear the mountain April this year to make way for the games the streets erupted in violence there will be no cup has become a rallying cry across the country resonating especially loudly from within these favelas [Applause] and each summary execution at the hands of the police has stoked more hatred towards the government and its grand plans for the rich [Applause] it seems the government’s only response to this public anger has been to use more force we went to a hillside slum called favela Haseeno one of the largest in rio to see how things have changed since the police gained control two and a half years ago pacified in november of 2011 favela hosseini is now under 24-hour police surveillance the omission was l feel so happy create a favela Coliseum automatically cheer someone can I try the Horde wish to Akira what’s up over safe woman I perceive I was in severe we have flex this project to do we study monitory by the scope is constant are so might ancient ceremony Colorado felafel years [Music] so I’ve been walking around for village aho see Nia being shown around being shown what’s been happening since the pacification and we met a young man who doesn’t want to be named he’s part of the gangs and he’s going to tell us what’s going on so how do you and people live in the favelas feel about the World Cup wha-wha Patek or metabones in Brazil myself II support my fajitas before publication Sandeep usually down of a cervical panettone multi-person today’s n operating vagabond area commercial annexed to defected Camerata Papa Brazil face passage my interceptor compassion for mr. Theodore will be tied to Germany compass on tourism grab them film I did not who are you taking a photo he made shale rock other people in France a fantasy the symbolic on by this grand conditional but they are cotton physicians philosophically instead of investing in basic infrastructure like plumbing in hospitals it seems like the only money the government is spending in the favelas is on cameras to monitor the poor and make sure they don’t break the law so how do you guys feel with cameras being put up everywhere Carlo keep a certain opinion is marriage gvg a personal leave Donaire a specific centralized dodgy being Vegeta bra Andre beneficial this will decide okay beer point sixty of the 140 I wanna see for few more about size nonprofit John Hoover idea chromatography shuttle may do or in venture Carmela see successes imagine proper proper box please please Armani it in under engine you put Louisiana prosecute this way mm-hmm Mukesh don’t wash you see monitory profound sake for example dr. Braga we wonder who is actually watching all these cameras so we went with Matthias to find out what was behind all this Big Brother style monitoring we are going to the CIC see with the central command center command Center for real is that they have all the cameras the monitors everything they have how the ages is that the military police the city police etc for years I hope to get in press it but at the same time I hope not to get impressed because if I get impressed that means they’re really watching us and that’s not cool talking driving around Rio with Matias is always an adventure if we’re not getting lost we’re running out of fuel or both I just hope we don’t get out of flow in the parking lot of the of that next door to a circus school the command and control center is a brand new real-time intelligence and surveillance facility built for the World Cup it cost the government almost fifty million dollars to complete and is the central hub for all surveillance throughout the city few of Rio’s residents know this facility even exists it’s so new that getting to its parking lot means an axle breaking drive over the sidewalk drive over the sidewalk to get into the parking lot and they’re not supposed to do that right okay they got the government so mums car didn’t get hurt the command and control center is part of an ambitious plan to harness the power of big data and is headed by officials from the military police our first out the server room Josh cam is not into it data bytes so say he stung call economize Sam III in Tutera bytes now salah considerable is on the command and control center was built up to deal with the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics but it’s also provided the government a powerful new tool to watch over the most troublesome favelas which surround the world cup stadium security no certain tastes amazing Hadas song fill destroys a bazooka complex dailymotion values this community I travel a silver Lance a shaved monkey so to reach that if they are akhada moon la liga instead of animation sow yes Dada so it starts on them sunfish village which policy I shall oh goodness trees never intentionally garnish it with some Pradesh Bashar evolution SSR what did you mail yes mbm ideas in mind with every part that police donna massive cost sampling of manifested sound really popped entire by my consumer the man officials so what is a key down almost to Brazil keep encouraging the regime the center is part of a larger plan to keep tabs on protests and a move that’s been met with widespread popular resistance the Brazilian government has tried to pass a new anti-terror law that would make protests illegal the law would allow fifteen to thirty year sentences for people inciting civil unrest like many Latin American countries Brazil has no anti-terror legislation because such laws were heavily abused during the military dictatorship which ended less than 20 years ago Brazilians refused to let the military regain control of the country and more and more citizens are now taking their anger into the streets [Music] Rio’s favelas may now be under police control but little has changed for residents criminal gangs may be temporarily silenced but now some police have taken their place skimming money and enforcing the right to do so some police are now shaking down businesses here from the providers of basic services like health care water electricity to the owners of food stands bars and nightclubs like this in the southern Rio slum known as favela Pacheco [Music] we’re in the south side of Rio which is a big wealthier and since the pacification of the favelas gentrification has started happening here now these trees parties they were free so the poor people would always come and party and the rich people were welcome saved by drugs but now that you’ve got to pay to come in these clubs the wealthy people are here but the poor people have been left out it’s not just getting into the club that now costs more but prices are soaring on assess ”tis like food transportation rent and what hits hardest for brazilians the cost in football matches we went to see how this plays out in Rio’s newly refurbished Maracana stadium the match was between two Oreos oldest teams Flamengo and luminance [Music] my ambush the biggest dam in Brazil while fulminated other team go to the overclass after the film resume the second goal they they started chanting silence in the favela sighs the favela the state people shut up you’ve got the rich people actually shut up do you think any of these people are gonna make it to the World Cup or do you think it’ll be too expensive the thing is I like $500 not only can most not afford to attend the games but Brazilian vendors can’t even profit from all the money that’s coming in from tourists to accommodate FIFA’s requests Brazil overturned a decade-long ban on beer sales inside stadiums while at the same time canning beer sales within a two kilometre radius from where the games are being held further shutting out working-class Brazilians who make their living selling here outside the matches out the government propaganda about the World Cup was out you could have bring lots of money and jobs to the country but as it approached we are seen as quite different they don’t don’t this out is poking laughter no standing by outside here when there is going to be their users games here they won’t be allowed there will be like two kilometers for their probably selling beer for the protesters the ot1 Milka Milka dad or the Commission to Dubai who gave a shitty here Janu had magic no hi nobody listen up you FIFA that’s what they’re saying here in this sprawling encampment in Sao Paulo not far from one of the gleaming new World Cup stadiums so right now we’re at the people’s cup camp it’s a huge camp of over 4,000 families that are here protesting and we’re gonna be showed around by an organizer Ejim Milson he’s it take us into the camp he or she assists are you a chief economist a Kiana peaceful gentle movement this was we’ve done that finally Kano food well we stopped here in the middle of the camp we’ve got a fire going so we’re gonna ask the locals here what they think about the world cup ouple Munda yellow girl made a difficult idea Vado Castle dead on a trajectory from Gaston me no initiative target for Delia Dharmaraja way to Casa the pro tip about fight bralla arco opposite yet approach / – it’s my dollar to buy a beautiful aesthetic open to hit the target them but the government is determined to show Brazil is ready and able to host the games and will use any necessary force to make sure things go according to plan the erosion exactamente pathologist to be affected with the eye recently she have the procedure wasn’t that official fans laugh this exercise shows how they would remove a single protester but there will most likely be tens of thousands with teachers security guards bus drivers trash collectors and even police themselves threatening to strike and shut down Brazil cities during the tournament the competition to host the World Cup is often as hard fought as the tournament itself that’s because the chosen host gets a chance to show off to the world what it’s capable of the Brazilian government has seized the opportunity to show that it’s arrived as a top global economic power but it’s not just the government and gets a chance to tell its story the people do – including those who don’t typically get a voice at home let alone abroad that’s gone oh I see you have one breakfast item any attention yeah it’s of having to come to change buzzer sound and now that the games have started they’re going to make sure they’re heard loud and clear [Applause] [Music]

    Jim Zirin-What’s Going On in Latin America?-Shannon O’Neil
    Articles, Blog

    Jim Zirin-What’s Going On in Latin America?-Shannon O’Neil

    August 30, 2019


    ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>>HI THERE. I’M JIM ZIRIN. WELCOME BACK TO MORE CONVERSATIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE. OUR FOCUS TODAY IS ON LATIN AMERICA AND THE CHALLENGES THE NEW ADMINISTRATION WILL FACE IN THE REGION. RECENTLY, WE HAVE SEEN SIGNS OF PROGRESS IN COLUMBIA, ARGENTINA AND PERU. WHILE VENEZUELA AND BRAZIL ARE IN POLITICAL UPHEAVAL. MEXICAN POLICY IS ALSO IN PLAY. IN THE FIRST DEBATE, DONALD TRUMP CONTINUED HIS HARD LINE TOWARD MEXICO MAINTAINING THAT WE ARE LOSING JOBS TO MEXICO AND THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, NAFTA, SHOULD BE RENEGOTIATED. IS THERE ANYTHING TO THIS? WHERE IS U.S. POLICY HEADED WITH OUR GOOD NEIGHBOR IN LATIN AMERICA? HERE TO HELP US ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS IS SHANNON O’NEIL. SHANNON O’NEIL IS A SENIOR FELLOW IN LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES AT THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS AND IS THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK “TWO NATIONS INDIVISIBLE, MEXICO, THE UNITED STATES AND THE ROAD AHEAD.” SHANNON, WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM. >>SO NICE TO BE HERE. >>SHANNON FROM THE EARLY 20th CENTURY, THE UNITED STATES HAS ENJOYED A GOOD NEIGHBOR POLICY TOWARD LATIN AMERICA. NOW IT SEEMS TO BE A POLITICS OF ANTAGONISM. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS HAPPENED?>>OVER THE LAST CENTURY, WE HAVE SEEN UPS AND DOWNS WITH PARTICULAR COUNTRIES AND WITH THE REGION MORE GENERALLY. WE HAVE HAD TIMES WHERE WE HAVE HAD CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS WHERE WE HAVE SEEN BONDS BETWEEN THE TWO. FOR INSTANCE IN THE 1960s WITH THE ALLIANCE FOR PROGRESS. THEN WE HAVE SEEN TIMES WHEN WE HAVE HAD REAL TENSION WITH THE REGION, PARTICULARLY U.S. POLICY TOWARDS CUBA WHICH HAS SPILLED OVER IN MANY YEARS TO THE REST OF THE REGION. SUSPICION ABOUT U.S. INTENTIONS IN THE REGION. BUT WE HAVE NOT SEEN IN RECENT YEARS AT LEAST THIS REAL ANTAGONISM THAT WE DID SEE DURING THE ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN AND A POSITION OF A U.S. CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT THAT WAS SO ANTAGONISTIC TOWARD THE REGION.>>LET’S START WITH MEXICO, BECAUSE THAT SEEMS TO BE FRONT AND CENTER. AND OF COURSE, IT’S THE CLOSEST LATIN AMERICA NEIGHBOR. WHAT IS THE STATE OF U.S.-MEXICO RELATIONS?>>OVERALL, U.S.-MEXICO RELATIONS HAVE BEEN QUITE GOOD. WE HAVE SEEN OVER THE LAST DECADE SEVERAL THINGS THAT HAVE PROMOTED THE DEEPENING OF THESE TIES. ONE IS A CONTINUED ECONOMIC INTEGRATION BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. SO BASED ON NAFTA AND BUILDING OFF OF THAT, WE HAVE SEEN TRADE EXPAND FOUR PLUS FOLD BETWEEN THE TWO. IT’S NOT JUST THE QUANTITY, WHICH IS NEAR A HALF TRILLION DOLLARS EVERY YEAR, IT’S WHAT IS TRADED. SO TODAY WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT GOES BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN MEXICO, IT’S NOT NECESSARILY FINISHED GOODS. IT’S NOT A FINAL PRODUCT. IT’S ACTUALLY PIECES AND PARTS THAT ARE MOVING BACK AND FORTH IN THE MAKING OF THINGS. IN THE MAKING OF CARS, THE MAKING OF AIRPLANES, FLAT SCREEN TVs AND A WHOLE HOST OF OTHER THINGS THAT SUPPORTS FACTORIES AND JOBS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER. SO IT’S A VERY DIFFERENT TRADING RELATIONSHIP THE UNITED STATES HAS WITH MEXICO THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. PARTICULARLY COMPARED TO COUNTRIES SUCH AS CHINA OR BRAZIL OR EVEN THE EUROPEAN UNION.>>NAFTA WAS NEGOTIATED IN THE BILL CLINTON ADMINISTRATION. TRUMP IN THE CAMPAIGN ARGUED THAT WE REALLY SHOULD TEAR UP THE TREATY, THAT IT’S BAD FOR THE UNITED STATES, THAT WE LOSE JOBS, THAT GOODS ARE CHARGED A TARIFF WHEN WE SELL THEM INTO MEXICO, BUT THEIR GOODS AREN’T CHARGED A TARIFF. WHAT ARE THE FACTS ON THIS?>>THE WHOLE POINT OF NAFTA WAS TO REDUCE TARIFFS, TO GET RID OF TARIFFS. THAT NAFTA DID DO. IT WAS ALSO TO CREATE A LEGAL SYSTEM OR A LEGAL BASIS FOR TRADE BACK AND FORTH OR INVESTMENT BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES THAT WOULD ALLOW COMPANIES ON EITHER SIDE TO USE A MORE NEUTRAL LAW, BASICALLY U.S. LAW, BUT A NAFTA-BASED LAW IF THERE WERE DISPUTES. TO PROVIDE CERTAINTY FOR INVESTORS. THERE HAVE BEEN TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF MEXICAN INVESTMENT THAT HAS COME INTO THE UNITED STATES EVEN AS WE HAVE SEEN U.S. INVESTMENT GO DOWN THERE. TARIFFS WERE GOTTEN RID OF. WHEN TRUMP WAS REFERRING TO, I THINK WHAT HE MEANT WAS THAT MEXICO CHARGES A SALES TAX, WHICH IS SOMETHING WE IN THE UNITED STATES CHARGE, TOO. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IMPORTS AND EXPORTS. THAT JUST HAS TO DO WITH GENERAL REVENU RAISING.>>MEXICO CHARGES VAT EVEN TO DOMESTICALLY PRODUCED GOODS?>>ON EVERYTHING EXCEPT FOR A FEW ESSENTIALS, SOME FOOD AND MEDICINE ARE EXEMPT.>>WHEN THEY EXPORT GOODS TO US, VARIOUS STATES CHARGE SALES TAXES AND HIDDEN TAXES THE SAME TAXES THAT THEY IMPOSE ON ALL SALES WITHIN THE STATE, ISN’T THAT RIGHT?>>EXACTLY. IF YOU BUY A TV COMING FROM MEXICO, YOU WILL PAY A SALES TAX JUST AS IF YOU BOUGHT A TV IN THE U.S. IN MEXICO, YOU WOULD PAY THIS TAX. >>WHAT ABOUT THE CLAIM WE’RE LOSING JOBS TO MEXICO? FORD IS CLOSING ITS PLANTS AND THAT THEY’RE GOING TO LAY OFF ALL THE WORKERS AND HIRE MEXICAN WORKERS TO PRODUCE SMALL CARS IN MEXICO. WHAT ARE THE FACTS ON THAT?>>ONE OF THE BIGGEST GLOBAL TRENDS FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS HAS BEEN THE DEVELOPMENT OF WHAT ECONOISTS CALL GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS. PRODUCTION NO LONGER HAPPENS IN ONE COUNTRY. IT HAPPENS ACROSS COUNTRIES. SO AS THAT HAS HAPPENED AROUND THE WORLD, MEXICO HAS BEEN PART OF THAT. NAFTA HAS HELPED EXPAND THAT ABILITY OF COMPANIES TO PRODUCE IN VARIOUS PLACES. WHAT’S REALLY INTERESTING HERE IS WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE MOVEMENT OF JOBS AND THE OPENING OF FACTORIES ELSEWHERE, THE PLACE WHERE MOST OF THIS IS HAPPENING IS IN CHINA. WE HAVE SEEN THE RISE OF CHINA OVER THE LAST 15, 16 YEARS SINCE IT JOINED THE WTO, THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION. WITH CHINA, WE DO NOT HAVE A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT. WHAT’S INTERESTING ABOUT NAFTA, ACTUALLY, IS AS THE U.S. LOOKS TO COMPETE GLOBALLY, AS IT LOOKS TO ENTER INTO THESE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS AND MAKE PRODUCTS THAT ARE COMPETITIVE TO SELL GLOBALLY, IT NEEDS REGIONAL PARTNERS. WE HAVE SEEN THESE REGIONAL HUBS COME TOGETHER AS PEOPLE MAKE THINGS. SO IN MANY WAYS FOR INSTANCE, WE HAD A CAR INDUSTRY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY PRECISELY BECAUSE THERE’S MANUFACTURING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER. IN FACT, ALSO IN CANADA. IT’S A REGIONAL PRODUCTION THAT ALLOWS FORD AND GM AND OTHER CAR COMPANIES TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE AND TO SELL AROUND THE WORLD. SO IN MANY WAYS NAFTA HAS HELPED PROMOTE THE STAYING OF AMERICAN JOBS RATHER THAN GOING TO OTHER REGIONS WITH WHOM WE DO NOT HAVE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS, IN PARTICULAR CHINA. >>FORD WAS QUICK TO POINT OUT THAT THEY HAVE NOT LAID OFF A SINGLE U.S. WORKER AS A RESULT OF THEIR BUILDING SMALL CARS IN MEXICO. THEY HAVE 8,000 EMPLOYEES IN MEXICO. 80,000 IN THE UNITED STATES.>>YEAH. AS FORD HAS EXPANDED ITS OPERATIONS IN MEXICO, IT HAS BEEN ABLE TO EXPAND ITS OPERATIONS AND ITS EMPLOYMENT HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. SO IN THAT PARTICULAR CASE, IT HAS BEEN A WIN WIN ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER. >>CARRIER AIR CONDITIONING, WHAT ARE THE FACTS THERE?>>THERE YOU SEE A CLOSING OF A PLANT IN THE MIDWEST. SOME MOVING DOWN TO MEXICO. BUT YOU ALSO SEE OTHER CASES WHERE BECAUSE OF OPERATIONS IN MEXICO, YOU HAVE SEEN PLANTS EXPAND IN THE U.S. IN FACT, I WAS DOWN IN MEXICO AND VISITED A PLANT DOWN THERE OF A COMPANY THAT’S A MICHIGAN BASED COMPANY THAT BUILDS THE RODS THAT GO INTO YOUR SUNROOF. THEY DO SUNROOFS FOR ALL TYPES OF CARS, ALL BRANDS. THEY WERE TELLING ME BY OPENING THIS PLANT THAT’S DOWN IN MEXICO, THEY WERE ABLE TO KEEP THEIR PLANT IN MICHIGAN AND OPEN ANOTHER PLANT BECAUSE THEY WERE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE RODS TO MANY MORE SUPPLIERS GIVEN WHERE THE LOCATION IS. THERE IS AN INTEGRATION. IT’S THIS PLATFORM OF PRODUCTION THAT’S HAPPENING. NO ONE MAKES CARS ANYMORE IN ONE PLACE. THAT HASN’T HAPPENED SINCE HENRY FORD DAYS. SO IF YOU WANT TO BE COMPETITIVE, IF YOU WANT TO GAIN MARKET SHARE AND SALES AROUND THE WORLD, IT REALLY HAS TO BE DONE REGIONALLY. THAT’S WHERE MEXICO FITS IN FOR THE UNITED STATES.>>HISTORICALLY, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS BEEN A LOW TARIFF PARTY. IT’S THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAT’S BEEN THE HIGH TARIFF PARTY. NOW WE SEE A REVERSAL, DON’T WE? EXCEPT WE STILL HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE TRANSPACIFIC TRADE PACT.>>IT’S INTERESTING WHEN YOU WATCH THE POLLS. HE WOULD TRADITIONALLY THINK OF REPUBLICAN PARTY AS THE FREE TRADE PARTY, THE ONE THAT’S PUSHED THAT. IF YOU LOOK AT POLLS OF VOTERS, TODAY DEMOCRATS ARE MORE PRO TRADE AND MORE PRO FREE TRADE THAN REPUBLICANS ARE. THAT’S IN PART DUE TO DEMOGRAPHICS. YOUNGER VOTERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO VOTE DEMOCRAT THAN REPUBLICAN. AND IT ALSO HAS TO DO WITH THE TYPE OF WORK THAT THOSE PEOPLE DO. DEMOCRATS INCREASINGLY ARE BETTER EDUCATED, ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION OR ABOVE THEN REPUBLICANS ARE AND THEY’RE MORE LIKELY TO BE IN SERVICE INDUSTRIES OR BENEFIT FROM THIS OPENING OF THE WORLD RATHER THAN MANY OF THE — OF THOSE WHO WOULD VOTE REPUBLICAN. WE HAVE SEEN A SHIFT IN PUBLIC OPINION TOWARDS TRADE BETWEEN THOSE WHO VOTE DEMOCRAT AND THOSE WHO VOTE REPUBLICAN.>>AUGUST 31, 2016, TRUMP TRAVELED TO MEXICO AND MET WITH THE UNPOPULAR PRESIDENT. DO YOU SEE ANYTHING THAT CAME OUT OF THAT MEETING?>>WELL, THE VISIT DID MAKE THE PRESIDENT OF MEXICO — IT DIDN’T MAKE HIM POPULAR. MEXICANS FEEL STRONGLY THAT TRUMP DEN GRADIGRATED THEM. HE CALLED THEM RAPISTS AND CRIMINALS. FELT HE DIDN’T SHOW RESPECT FOR THE NATION BUT ALSO FOR THEIR CITIZENS, WHETHER THEY LIVE IN MEXICO OR THEY LIVE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES. THIS IS A — IT HAS BEEN A GROWING POPULATION WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. THERE’S LOTS OF MIGRATION FROM MEXICO. THIS HAS SLOWED SINCE 2007. WE HAVE SEEN A DECLINE. ACTUALLY, SINCE 2009, THERE’S BEEN A NET ZERO OR NET OUTFLOW OF MEXICANS COMING TO THE UNITED STATES. WHEN YOU LOOK AT OUR BIGGEST IMMIGRANTS, BIGGEST POPULATION COMING IN, IT’S FROM INDIA AND CHINA. IT’S NOT FROM MEXICO. STILL, WE HAVE VERY LARGE MEXICAN AND MEXICAN AMERICAN POPULATION HERE. THERE WERE FEATHERS RUFFLED.% BUT A BIG ONE OVER THE LAST DECADE PLUS HAS BEEN A GROWING SECURITY COOPERATION BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES. MEXICO STILL IS STRUGGLING WITH HIGH LEVELS OF VIOLENCE, PARTICULARLY IN AREAS AROUND THE COUNTRY, ALONG THE BORDER AND THE LIKE. THE UNITED STATES HAS HAD, SINCE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, THROUGH THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, HAS HAD PRETTY CLOSE WORKING COOPERATION ON THAT. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WILL CONTINUE HOPEFULLY UNDER THE NEXT PRESIDENT. SO WHETHER THAT VISIT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A BUMP IN THE ROAD AND HOPEFULLY WON’T AFFECT THE LARGER, MUCH MORE IMPORTANT AND MUCH MORE STABLE AREA BECAUSE WE SHARE THE BORDER, WE SHARE AN ENVIRONMENT, WE SHARE PEOPLE, WE SHARE THE ECONOMY, WE SHARE SECURITY. THERE ARE A LOT OF ISSUES THAT WE SHARE THAT THE NEXT PRESIDENT WILL NEED TO WORK WITH MEXICO ON. >>LET’S SHIFT TO BRAZIL WHICH WE HAVE CITED IN THE PAST AS AN ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE. NOW WE HAVE HAD A NINE-MONTH IMPEACHMENT PROCESS WHICH HAS ENDED. THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM OFFICE. CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION. >>NOT YET CHARGED BUT — >>NOT OFFICIALLY CHARGED, CERTAINLY IN THE PRESS. WHAT’S GOING ON THERE? IT SEEMS TO BE A CENTER OF POLITICAL UPHEAVAL. >>THE APPOINTED PRESIDENT IS THERE UNTIL 2018 WHEN BRAZIL WILL HOLD ELECTIONS. THE FIRST IS AS YOU ALLUDE TO, THE LEGITIMACY AS PRESIDENT. HE WAS NOT ELECTED. HE WAS APPOINTED. SO HE FACES THE DIFFICULTY OF TRYING TO PUSH THROUGH BIG REFORM TO THE ECONOMY, WHICH ARE NEEDED TO GET IT UP AND RUNNING AGAIN. PUSHING THROUGH THE BIG REFORMS WHEN HE DOESN’T HAVE THE ELECTORAL MANDATE. BRAZIL HAS BEEN GOING THROUGH FOR TWO-PLUS YEARS AN EXTRAORDINARY SET OF CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS. YOU HAVE A SET OF PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES THAT HAVE BEEN PUSHING THE CAR WASH SCANDAL. IT BEGAN THERE. IT REALLY IS A SET OF CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS THAT BROUGHT IN THE STATE-OWNED ENERGY COMPANY. IT HAS BROUGHT IN DOZENS AND DOZENS OF LEADING CORPORATE LEADERS. IT HAS BROUGHT IN DOZENS AND DOZENS OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS OF OTHER POLITICAL LEADERS. IN SOME OF THE INVESTIGATIONS, EVEN THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN NAMED IN SOME OF THE DEPOSITIONS. THIS HAS ROCKED THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT AND MADE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO MAKE DEALS, TO PUSH FORWARD REFORMS. THE OTHER CHALLENGE HE FACES IS THAT MANY OF THE THINGS BRAZIL NEEDS TO DO TO JUMP START THE ECONOMY, REFORM TAX CODE, THE LABOR CODE, THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, MANY OF THESE THINGS, BECAUSE OF THE WAY BRAZIL’S CONSTITUTION IS WRITTEN, ARE WRITTEN INTO THE CONSTITUTION. YOU NEED NOT JUST A MAJORITY TO PASS CHANGE, YOU NEED A THREE-FIFTH MAJORITY. THE POLITICAL HURDLES ARE SO MUCH HIGHER TO GET CHANGE DONE, EVEN AS HIS POLITICAL CAPITAL IS MUCH WEAKER THAN, SAY, PERHAPS AN ELECTED PRESIDENT WOULD HAVE BEEN.>>IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT ALL POLITICS ARE LOCAL AND THEY DO HAVE UPCOMING LOCAL ELECTIONS. IT SEEMS THAT CANDIDATES FOR THE CITY COUNCIL HAVE BEEN ASSASSINATED METHODICALLY. WHAT’S BEHIND ALL THAT? THEY SEEM TO BE IN TOTAL DISARRAY. >>THERE ARE CHALLENGES IN BRAZIL. WE TALK ABOUT MEXICO’S SECURITY AND THE WORRIES THERE. BUT BRAZIL A PER CAPITA HOMICIDE RATE IS EQUAL TO MEXICO AND SOME AREAS WORSE. THIS IS A NATION THAT DESPITE SOME ADVANCES — I DO THINK THE CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS ARE REAL ADVANCES IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND ITS INDEPENDENCE AND ITS CAPACITY. IT STILL HAS REAL RULE OF LAW ISSUES. SO SOME OF THESE HOMICIDES AS WELL AS POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS OF WHICH THERE HAVE BEEN SOME ARE AN EXAMPLE OF THAT. HOW CAN YOU REALLY ESTABLISH A RULE OF LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY THROUGHOUT THE NATION?>>THEY JUST HAD THE OLYMPICS, WHICH THEY HOSTED IN RIO. THERE WERE REPORTS OF RAW SEWAGE IN THE BAY AND OFF THE BEACHES THREATENING SWIMMERS AND SAILERS. JOURNALISTS REPORTED WATER IN THE DIVING POOL CHANGES FROM BLUE TO GREEN. ARE YOU CRITICAL OF THEM FOR NOT RUNNING A BETTER OLYMPICS?>>I THINK IN THE END THE OLYMPICS TURNED OUT PRETTY WELL. ONCE EVERYBODY GOT THERE AND SHOWED UP, EVERYBODY HAD A PRETTY GOOD TIME, WHICH IS — BRAZIL, IT’S A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN HAVE A GOOD TIME. ESPECIALLY RIO, THEY ARE USED TO HOSTING BIG PARTIES. EVERY YEAR IN FEBRUARY THEY HOST CARNIVAL. THEIR BIG CELEBRATION AND OVER A MILLION PEOPLE COME. SO THE 5-600,000 WHO CAME FOR THE OLYMPICS, IT’S A DIFFERENT EVENT, YOU HAVE TO GET TO DIFFERENT VENUES AND THE LIKE. BUT I THINK OVERALL THEY HOSTED IT FAIRLY WELL AND DEALT WITH SOME OF THE CHALLENGES. THOSE YOU POINT OUT ARE REALLY ABOUT ONE OF THE LONGER TERM CHALLENGES OF BRAZIL, WHICH IS INFRASTRUCTURE. THERE THEY HAVE NOT CLEANED UP THE SEWAGE SYSTEMS, THEY HAVE NOT BUILT ROADS, RAILROAD, THE CONNECTION. THAT IS THE CHALLENGE FOR WHOEVER COMES. CAN YOU MAKE THE STRUCTURAL REFORMS, POLITICAL REFORMS? CAN YOU ENTICE LOCAL AND FOREIGN INVESTMENT TO MAKE IT A MORE — IT COULD BE AN INCREDIBLY COMPETITIVE GLOBAL ECONOMY. IT’S ONE OF THE TOP TEN BIGGEST ECONOMIES IN THE WORLD. THERE’S OVER 200 MILLION PEOPLE THERE, POTENTIAL CONSUMERS AND CONSUMERS ALREADY. HOW DO YOU MAKE IT MORE PRODUCTIVE AND COMPETITIVE?>>LET’S MOVE ON TO COLUMBIA WHERE THERE’S BEEN SOME GOOD NEWS. USED TO BE THOUGHT OF AS A FAILED STATE WITH NARCO TERRORISTS AND THEN THERE WAS THE REVOLUTIONARY CHALLENGE OF THE GOVERNMENT. NOW THE GOVERNMENT MADE A PEACE TREATY AND I THINK SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY WENT FOR THE SIGNING. WHAT DO YOU SEE HAPPENING THERE?>>THIS IS A HISTORIC AGREEMENT. YOU HAD DECADES OF WAR BETWEEN THE REBELS, BETWEEN THE GROUPS AND THE GOVERNMENT. AS YOU SAY, BACK IN THE 1990s, THERE WERE TIME WHEN THERE WERE WORRIES THE STATE ITSELF WOULD FAIL. SO YOU HAVE HAD THE SIGNING OF THE AGREEMENT. IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS DEMOBILIZATION PROCESS BY THE GROUP. WHILE THAT — IT’S A HUGE STEP FORWARD AND ONE THAT SHOULD BE CELEBRATED. BUT THERE ARE LONGER TERM CHALLENGES. THIS IS JUST — >>TALK ABOUT THOSE.>>ONE IS YOU HAVE 7,000 FIGHTERS COMING IN OUT OF THE JUNGLE. YOU HAVE TO FIND A PLACE FOR THEM. MANY OF THEM HAVE NEVER IN THEIR ADULT LIFE KNOWN ANYTHING BESIDES LIVING IN REBEL ENCAMMENTS. THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO — MUCH MORE THAN USIN A GUN. HOW DO YOU BRING THEM BACK WITH FAMILY OR COMMUNITIES THAT THEY LEFT MANY YEARS AGO? THAT’S ONE CHALLENGE. THE OTHER CHALLENGE COLUMBIA NEEDS TO TAKE ON — THEY HAVE PLANS TO DO SO. BUT WHETHER THEY CAN FULFILL THEM IS THE QUESTION. IS HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THE REASON THAT LED THEM TO REBEL IN THE FIRST PLACE? THOSE ARE DEEP INEQUALITY. THOSE ARE AREAS OF THE COUNTRY THAT ARE STILL ISOLATED FROM THE LARGER COUNTRY. SO YOU NEED TO GO IN, YOU NEED TO BUILD PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE, ROADS, RAILROAD, PORTS AND THE LIKE TO MAKE SURE ALL OF COLUMBIA IS CONNECTED SO PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THESE AREAS AREN’T ISOLATED. BUT YOU NEED TO CONNECT THEM IN VIRTUAL WAYS, TOO. THE WORD HAS MOVED ON FROM WHEN THEY FIRST WENT INTO THE JUNGLE TO PROTEST AND TO FIGHT THE GOVERNMENT. HOW DO YOU BRING THE MAJORITY OF COLUMBIANS INTO THE 21st CENTURY AND PROVIDE THEM WITH LEGAL OPPORTUNITIES, WITH A LEGAL PATH FORWARD? THAT IS SOMETHING THIS GOVERNMENT WILL STRUGGLE WITH. THEY HAVE VERY LOW APPROVAL RATINGS DESPITE THIS HISTORIC AGREEMENT. HOW DO YOU MAKE COLUMBIA MORE PROSPEROUS AND INCLUSIVE?>>WHAT ABOUT THE DRUG TRADE? THAT REMAINS IN FORCE?>>SO THE GROUP WAS INVOLVED IN THE DRUG TRADE. THERE’S OTHER ORGANIZATIONS THERE. BUT THERE’S A BIG QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER SOME STAY AND CONTINUE RUNNING THE DRUG TRADE OR WHO ELSE COMES INTO THAT VACUUM IF THOSE PEOPLE LEAVE. AS WE KNOW, DEMAND HAS CONTINUED AROUND THE WORLD. IN THE UNITED STATES BUT ALSO EUROPE AND OTHER PLACES AROUND THE WORLD FOR COCAINE, COLUMBIAN COCAINE. SO HOW DOES COLUMBIA REALLY INSERT RULE OF LAW MORE BROADLY TO DEAL WITH THAT AND OTHER CRIMES THAT HAPPEN?>>HOW WILL THEY FINANCE THE NEW PEACE THAT’S BEEN ARRIVED AT?>>THAT’S THE BIG QUESTION, TOO. IN COLUMBIA LIKE MANY COUNTRIES IN SOUTH AMERICA IS VERY COMMODITY DEPENDENT. SO OIL HAS BEEN A BIG PART OF THEIR BUDGET. AS COMMODITY PRICES HAVE FALLEN, AS OIL PRICES HAVE FALLEN, SO TOO HAVE THE RESOURCES THAT THEY HAVE. THEY ARE TURNING TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. THEY’RE TURNING TO THE UNITED STATES, EUROPE, TO OTHER PLACES TO HELP THEM. THEY’RE TURNING TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR. THEY HAVE A BIG INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN THEY HAVE BEEN SELLING AROUND THE WORLD TRYING TO GET PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT TO COME IN. THIS IS A CHALLENGE. IT TAKES REAL MONEY TO INTEGRATE THESE PEOPLE AND OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN ISOLATED AND WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO GET IT. >>LET’S MOVE ON TO ARGENTINA WHERE THERE MAY BE GOOD NEWS UNDER THE PRESIDENT. TELL US ABOUT THAT.>>ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT’S LOOKING FOR MONEY IN THE GLOBAL MARKET BUT HAS RECEIVED A WARM EMBRACE. WE HAD BEFORE HIM 12 YEARS OF A PROTECTIONIST VIEW OF THE ECONOMY. THEY HAD ECONOMIC POPULISM AS ONE OF THEIR PLATFORMS. USING PATRONAGE TO BUILD UP THE POLITICAL BASE. AS WE ARE SEEING IN ALLEGATIONS IN COURT CASES, THEY USED NOT A LITTLE CORRUPTION. YOU HAVE SEEN MINISTERS THROWING MONEY OVER A CONVERT WALL TRYING TO HIDE THE ILL GOTTEN GAINS. YOU HAVE SEEN A CHANGE AWAY FROM A VERY DIVISIVE POLITICS, A VERY ANTI-AMERICAN STANCE AND A VERY UNSUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC MODEL BASED ON NATIONALISM AND POPULISM TO A PRAGMATIC PRESIDENT WHO HAS COME IN, A VERY OPEN ECONOMIC — HE RESOLVED CHALLENGES THAT WERE OUTSTANDING WITH FOREIGN CREDITORS THAT HAD BEEN DODGING ARGENTINA FOR OVER A DECADE. HE UNIFIED THE CURRENCY. HE MADE CHANGES TO OPEN UP THE ECONOMY AND MAKE IT MORE OPEN AND COMPETITIVE INTERNATIONALLY. BUT TO DO SO, HE HAS TO DEAL WITH A RECESSION. HE HAS TO DEAL WITH VERY HIGH INFLATION. AND HE NEEDS MONEY TO HELP BRIDGE THE GAP UNTIL HE CAN GET THE FINANCES IN LINE. SO FAR, HE HAS BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL IN THAT. HE HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY OF MANY INVESTORS LOOKING FOR DECENT RETURNS IN THIS ERA OF LOW INTEREST RATES. HE SO FAR HAS PRETTY GOOD SUPPORT AT HOME, EVEN THOUGH SOME OF THE MEASURES HAVE BEEN HARD ON THE MIDDLE AND LOWER CLASSES. SO FAR SO GOOD. HE NEEDS TO SHOW RESULTS BEFORE PEOPLE GET WEARY OF HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, HIGH INFLATION AND OTHER ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES. >>JUAN PERONE HE IS NOT. >>HE IS THE OPPOSITE. HE IS A BUSINESSMAN IN TRAINING. HE WAS MAYOR OF A CITY. HE HAS HAD GOVERNING EXPERIENCE. HE COMES IN WITH A MUCH MORE PRAGMATIC, MODERATE AND MARKET FRIENDLY VIEW. MANY OF HIS TEAM TRAINED IN THE UNITED STATES AS WELL AS ARGENTINA BUT VERY OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL MARKETS. >>VENEZUELA. >>NOT LIKE THAT. VENEZUELA, WE HAVE SEEN THE COLLAPSE OF OIL PRICES HAS RATHER THAN TURNING TO MORE MODERATE AND OPEN POLITICAL PATH HAS TURNED IN THE OTHER DIRECTION. SO WE HAVE SEEN AUTHORITARIAN MOVES BY THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF VENEZUELA. WE HAVE SEEN AN INCREASING CONTROL OF THE ECONOMY, EXAPPROPRIATIONS OF BUSINESSES, CONTROLLING THE SALE OF BASIC FOOD AND MEDICINE. PART OF THE INCREASING INTERVENTIONS OVER 15 PLUS YEARS, WE ARE SEEING THE LOCAL ECONOMY DISINTEGRATE.>>DO YOU DETECT A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO?>>YOU KNOW, HE IS DIFFERENT IN CHARACTER. HE DOESN’T HAVE THE CHARISMA — >>THAT LIGHT.>>EXACTLY. HE IS DEALING WITH THE AFTERMATH. CHAVEZ WENT OUT WHEN OIL PRICES WERE HIGH. HE HAD MONEY AND SUPPORT AND AT BUILT TO SPREAD PATRONAGE. NOW MEDORA IS DEALING WITH LOW OIL PRICES, FALLING PRODUCTION OF THE OIL. THEY WERE PRODUCING 3.5 BILLION BARRELS. TODAY THEY ARE PRODUCING JUST OVER 2 MILLION BARRELS. >>OPEC JUST SAID THEY WERE GOING TO CURTAIL PRODUCTION. IS THAT GOOD FOR VENEZUELA?>>THEY JUST CAN’T PRODUCE. IN PART BECAUSE THEY HAD A VERY STRONG STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISE WHICH WAS VERY TECHNOCRATIC. IT HAS BEEN WEAKENED OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS. IT HAS BECOME A PLACE OF PATRONAGE RATHER THAN PRODUCTION. IF OPEC CUTS PRODUCTION, THAT’S FINE WITH VENEZUELA. BECAUSE THEY CAN’T PRODUCE THE AMOUNT THAT THEY WERE BEFORE. THEIR PRODUCTION WILL FALL NO MATTER WHAT OPEC DOES. BECAUSE OF THEIR INABILITY TO PRODUCE. THAT IS HARD FOR VENEZUELA BECAUSE GOVERNMENT FINANCES AND ALL THE THINGS THEY DO SINCE THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLS THE ECONOMY DEPEND ON OIL REVENUES, WHICH IS FALLING. >>I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU, SHANNON O’NEIL. WE HAVE COME TO THE END OF OUR TIME. WITH THE NEW ADMINISTRATION IN OFFICE, DO YOU HAVE AN OPTIMISTIC VIEW OF OUR FUTURE RELATIONS WITH LATIN AMERICA?>>I BELIEVE ACTUALLY LATIN AMERICA IN GENERAL WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS LIKE VENEZUELA IS MOVING IN A VERY POSITIVE DIRECTION. IT’S MUCH MORE DEMOCRATIC THAN IT WAS MANY YEARS AGO. IT IS FINDING WAYS TO DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY. IT’S A MORE PRAGMATIC AND OPEN PATH. I THINK IS A REGION — THE CHALLENGES THE UNITED STATES IS GOING TO FACE GOING FORWARD, THIS IS A REGION THAT HAS MOSTLY GOOD NEWS. IT’S ALSO ONE THAT WE CAN WORK WITH, MANY OF THESE COUNTRIES AS WE FACE BIGGER GLOBAL PROBLEMS, WHETHER THEY ARE CLIMATE CHANGE OR OTHER THINGS.>>MOSTLY GOOD NEWS. SHANNON O’NEIL, THANK YOU FOR COMING BY. THIS HAS BEEN MARVELLOUS. THANK YOU FOR COMING BY. TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR MORE CONVERSATIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE. I’M JIM ZIRIN. ALL THE BEST. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

    China’s New “Silk Road”: Future MEGAPROJECTS
    Articles, Blog

    China’s New “Silk Road”: Future MEGAPROJECTS

    August 18, 2019


    Having recently completed both the world’s
    most extensive system of expressways and the planet’s longest high speed rail network,
    China is now looking beyond its borders for opportunities to keep building. President Xi Jinping announced at a recent
    summit that Beijing has sealed megaproject deals with 65 countries throughout Eurasia
    and Africa to construct ports, power stations, rail lines, roads, and all the tunnels and
    bridges needed to connect them back to mainland China. At a total cost of over $1 trillion, the One
    Belt, One Road initiative is unprecedented in size and scope. So is the bold funding mechanism: China will
    use its large, state-run banks to provide most of the financing, a risky move, when
    you consider how few of the nations in the O.B.O.R. could afford something like this
    on their own. “Oh,” say the leaders of economically-challenged,
    underdeveloped Laos, Yemen, or Ethiopia — or the blood-soaked regime of Bashar al-Assad
    in war-ravaged Syria — “you want to loan us billions of dollars to build some cool
    stuff in our countries? Of course, why not!?” China is hard-selling the project as a way
    to boost its westward connections, an update of the silk road trade route that played a
    significant role in developing China and the rest of the region 1,000 years ago. But many analysts see this comparison as little
    more than a marketing pitch. Al Jazeera clip: “Is the real point of this,
    East-West service then simply to boost China’s westward connections? [Pauline Loong] “Well I wouldn’t say simply
    to boost China’s westward connections, but I totally agree with Charles that it’s more
    a PR stunt. To call it the “Silk Road,” that’s really
    brilliant—evocative of romantic camel travels in the past. When, you know, you have these lovely silks
    and trade and so forth. And it’s good, because look at all the headlines
    it has been getting, but in practical terms, it’s early days yet.” [Bryce] Aside from the lessons China learned
    from its own recent infrastructure boom, Beijing is also drawing inspiration from the American
    Marshall Plan which financed the rebuilding of Western Europe after it was decimated during
    the second world war. That program was worth the equivalent of $130
    billion in today’s dollars and ensured the US had reliable export markets for the manufactured
    goods and machinery its growing economy had become dependent on producing. China’s modern version — first announced
    in 2013 — is the signature initiative of President Xi Jinping. Several projects have already been completed. Earlier this year London became the 15th European
    city connected directly to China through an ever-expanding global rail system, meaning
    freight trains loaded with goods can now arrive after a 12,000km journey all the way from
    the east coast of the landmass. And, at a cost of $4 billion, China also just
    completed Africa’s first transnational electric railway, which runs 466 miles from Djibouti
    to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. Chinese companies designed the system, built
    the line, and supplied the train cars. The many other projects under the O.B.O.R.
    umbrella include: A $6 billion, 260-mile railway connecting
    eight Asian countries. Desperately needed power plants to address
    Pakistan’s chronic electricity shortage, part of a larger $46 billion investment by
    China in Pakistan aimed at offsetting the American and Japanese-backed building boom
    happening in neighboring India, China and Pakistan’s mutual rival. Train lines will connect Budapest to Belgrade,
    Serbia, providing another artery for Chinese goods to reach Europe after arriving in a
    Chinese-owned port in Greece. And — in a move that adds prestige to O.B.O.R. — China is financing more than a third of
    the $23.7 billion cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in southwest England. Part of the challenge in analyzing whether
    this building boom is ultimately good for the world is its sheer complexity. Nothing like this has ever been done before
    in human history. Yes, providing underdeveloped countries a
    chance to have better transportation infrastructure, or cleaner power plants is a good thing. But, by funding infrastructure that’s designed
    to enhance commerce and trade — instead of basic services many of these countries
    need more, like clean drinking water, affordable housing, and better education — China’s
    motives seem to favor the wealthy, elite business class. Here are other factors that explain why China
    is undertaking a project of this magnitude: The Communist Party has staked its reputation
    on non-stop economic growth. Since they hold all the power, the Chinese
    people expect them to deliver. But with its domestic megaproject boom nearing
    completion, China must find new buyers for all the steel, cement, and construction machinery
    its economy produces, or many of its factories could grind to a halt. It has decided the solution is One Belt, One
    Road, but lending hundreds of billions of dollars to many countries with weak credit
    ratings and unstable political systems is very risky. Which reveals an underlying sense you get
    when you look closely at One Belt One Road: China’s increasing desperation. The country’s national debt is already very
    high, but borrowing continues to accelerate at historic levels as state owned banks loan
    more and more money to state owned companies. The prime example of the risks associated
    with the tight rope the Communist Party is trying to walk was the government bailouts
    issued during China’s recent stock market collapse. That crisis was caused by the same sense of
    impatience that’s driving O.B.O.R.—the Party’s need to feed the insatiable economic
    growth monster. Using its powerful propaganda machine, Beijing
    urged its own people to invest their savings heavily in its immature, unstable market—causing
    inexperienced citizens to treat investments in companies like bets at a casino, creating
    a huge bubble that, naturally, burst. The government then suspended trading for
    a while and pumped billions into the system to avoid a total collapse. So really, when you step back, the core motivation
    for One Belt, One Road boils down to the Communist Party’s need to buy itself more time in
    order to come up with its next scheme to prop up the economy, because when it inevitably
    slows down, which it’s already starting to do, the Party’s promise to deliver a
    fantastic economic dream world will have been proven false for everyone in China but the
    elites. The silver lining is that many of the ventures
    China has undertaken will pay long-term dividends, like building up its high-tech manufacturing
    sector, with the anticipation that when OBOR’s transportation networks are complete, it will
    be ready to use them to deliver higher-cost goods like iPhones, drones, and green energy
    technologies to the rest of the world. The other major motivating factor here is
    the unmistakable opportunity to gain even-power status with the United States in Asia. The election of Donald Trump, and then his
    decision to walk away from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal that would have hurt
    China, are massive geopolitical mistakes—completely unforced errors that China intends to take
    full advantage of. When it first announced the O.B.O.R. back
    in 2013, Barack Obama had just begun his second term and the US pivot to Asia was in full
    force. With rivals like Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam
    challenging China’s efforts to control maritime trade routes, it was clear China was being
    hemmed in on its Eastern flank. Despite the election of Trump, this is still
    true. So by instead turning instead to the vast
    land mass to the west for new opportunities, China minimizes its reliance on maritime trade
    routes that could be cut off in the event of a destabilizing military conflict. At the end of the day, China is all about
    business. It doesn’t matter if you’re a democracy,
    a dictatorship, or a failed state, China wants to work with you. But this willingness to embrace some of the
    world’s more unsavory characters could backfire. Just look who Xi is sitting next to at the
    O.B.O.R. summit: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan—two men who look
    more and more like dictators clinging to power with each passing day. That’s not a good look for China, and it
    reminds us that the Communist Party is even less transparent. But in a world where the President of the
    United States is a bumbling fool, these partnerships create much less of an image problem now than
    they would have just a few months ago, when the widely admired Barack Obama was leading
    the free world. If you ask the Chinese, the O.B.O.R. is all
    about peace, an embrace of the concept of coop-etition. A generation ago it was unthinkable for a
    country to invest billions of dollars on infrastructure in another country, but in our hyper-globalized
    world, dominated by interconnected markets, it may become the norm, especially when we
    consider the intangible benefits—greater economic interdependence lowers the risk that
    groups of countries will want to fight with other groups of countries, many of whom are
    bound together by military alliances. Every one of these projects increases China’s
    soft power, giving Beijing more and more leverage in any future negotiation or military conflict. The many foreign seaports it will build and
    manage for the next half century will be particularly valuable chess pieces. Its understandable that Chinese policymakers
    are romanticizing One Belt, One Road as a crowning achievement for their nation—further
    recognition that it has regained its former status as a great civilization that deserves
    recognition around the world. But the reality is that it still has a long
    way to go. Combined, the following factors may weaken
    the optimistic sales pitches being made to foreign officials: a recent Oxford business
    school study argued that half of Chinese domestic megaprojects actually destroyed, not generated
    economic value; a few of China’s previous efforts to build megaprojects in foreign countries
    — like the A2 motorway in Poland — failed miserably; landowners and their representatives
    in the national assemblies of host countries are pushing back hard against attempts to
    take away their land; and public demonstrations against some the projects are beginning to
    take root, and spread. Another dose of reality that should sober
    Beijing is that— after analyzing China’s overleveraged financial position — its credit
    rating was just downgraded by a major agency, whose analysts concluded that its borrowing
    is raising red flags, and its economic growth will continue to slow down. Of course, none of these speed bumps is going
    to stop the Communist Party from attempting to execute their great leap. They are committed 100% to embracing a fundamental
    history lesson — one we were all reminded of by Brexit’s improbable win and the unlikely
    ascendence of Donald Trump — that fortune favors the bold—at least, in the short run. Thanks for watching. Get caught up on all of China’s major domestic
    megaprojects with the mini-documentary I made last year, which started some interesting
    conversations. To learn even more, and to support our work,
    sign up for a free 30-trial of Audible.com — linked below — and you’ll get one
    free audio download, like the great courses on The Fall and Rise of China. Until next time, for TDC, I’m Bryce Plank.

    Brazil’s Geography Problem
    Articles, Blog

    Brazil’s Geography Problem

    August 14, 2019


    This video was made possible by Skillshare. Learn from 21,000 classes for free for two
    months at https://skl.sh/wendover3. There are plenty of lines you can draw on
    the globe but perhaps none is more consequential than the equator. Of the 15 wealthiest countries
    in the world as measured by GDP per capita, all are in the northern hemisphere. Only 800
    million of earth’s 7.6 billion residents live south of the equator. There is a clear
    divide between north and south but of those 800 million people a quarter of them, about
    207 million, live here in Brazil. The country is an exception to the global trend. Brazil
    is the fifth most populous country in the world and the most populous entirely within
    the southern hemisphere. Its economy has grown enormously and the country is quickly developing.
    Although, the very land it sits on stacks the odds against it. Its location gives it
    a disadvantage. Given this, the question is whether Brazil can develop into a world superpower
    by the likes of the US, Europe, Russia, India, and China or if the country is doomed to fail? Brazil, of course, looks like this but in
    reality almost 80% of the country’s population lives here—within 200 miles of the coast.
    You do see a concentration of population near the coast in any country as it provides a
    cheap and easy means of transportation by boats and a source of food through fishing
    but few countries have such a severe concentration of people by the oceans as Brazil. This small
    area, for example, is home to three of Brazil’s six largest cities. Normally this would help
    development as the area in between cities will urbanize but this map doesn’t tell
    the whole story—this one does. You see, this area of Brazil is rather mountainous.
    The major cities mostly exist in small pockets of low-altitude, flat land on the ocean. This
    is because major cities need easy water access to get goods in and out. The majority of Brazil’s
    coast is defined by steep, sheer cliffs. Petrópolis, for example, a suburb of Rio, is a mere 13
    miles from the ocean and yet it sits at almost 3,000 feet of altitude. The rare areas with
    low-altitude land on the water are where cities like Porte Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife
    are but this pattern has two consequences. First, these cities, while being on flat land
    themselves are surrounded by cliffs and mountainous regions which means their growth is limited.
    There are plenty of cities that exist in mountainous regions but the world’s largest and most
    influential cities like London and Delhi and Beijing all exist in areas with absolutely
    no geographical features limiting their growth. The fact that Brazil’s cities locate in
    rare low-altitude coastal land means that the country will likely never have a megalopolis
    by the likes of the Pearl River Delta or the US Northeast. It takes a surprising six hours
    to drive between Rio and Sao Paolo and since there’s no low-altitude coastal land in
    between them, there are really no major cities in between them too. Brazil’s cities are
    confined to the geographically convenient areas which are spread out from each other.
    This means the cities can’t collaborate easily with each other thereby limiting Brazil’s
    impact on the world stage. Like any large country, Brazil’s development
    potential is also linked to how it gets its food. This, in fact, might be Brazil’s greatest
    obstacle as it really doesn’t hav e much great farmland, at least yet. The country’s
    main agricultural region is its south which is blessed with great soil and great rivers
    that help transport crops away from their farms. Interestingly, the same elevation that
    leads to steep coastal cliffs causes rivers to run in a counterintuitive direction. The
    Tietê river, for example, starts near Sao Paolo a mere 10 miles away from the Atlantic
    ocean but then runs inland almost 500 miles where it flows into the Paraná River which
    eventually flows out into the ocean near Buenos Aires, Argentina. If a farmer wants to export
    their food abroad, it’s often cheaper to first ship it the thousands of miles by boat
    on these rivers than just hundreds of miles overland to Brazil’s coast due to their
    poor road infrastructure. This means that Argentina gets the business of packing up
    and shipping Brazil’s food to other countries. That’s just lost money for Brazil as a result
    of their geography. Brazil’s south, though, does not even have enough land to feed the
    country’s own 200 million residents. Given that, the question is where to put the rest
    of the farms. In Brazil’s north is the Amazon basin. The
    central feature of this region is, of course, the Amazon River which is navigable for boats.
    Normally this feature would lead to a significant population as navigable rivers serve as cheap
    and easy transport for crops and goods but the banks of the Amazon are a tough place
    to farm or live. Not only are they muddy and unstable which makes building difficult, but
    the Amazon also regularly floods which means that every year many of the communities on
    the banks of the Amazon can have their streets underwater for months. Building and living
    in the Amazonian cities is difficult, but what’s more difficult is building the roads
    in and out. The largest city in the Amazon, Manaus, is home to 2.6 million people, it’s
    as big as Baltimore, and yet there are only three roads connecting the city to the outside
    world. Many of the smaller towns around the Amazon have no roads going in and out as its
    just incredibly costly and difficult to build roads through the rainforest. In fact, rather
    unbelievably, there is not a single bridge spanning over the Amazon so there is no way
    to drive from the northernmost region of Brazil to the rest without taking a ferry. Overall,
    this whole area is just empty. Even if there was the infrastructure to transport crops
    to market, farming in the Amazon involves clearing huge amounts of land and even then,
    the soil is relatively infertile which leads to poor yields. Despite being Brazil’s largest
    state, Amazonas is home to just 1.8% of its population. It just costs too much to build
    the infrastructure needed to live there. To the south of the Amazon, though, is an
    area known as the Cerrado. This vast savanna used to be in the same category as the Amazon—it
    was empty. The problem was not only that there was no natural network of rivers to get crops
    out of the area but also that the soil was too acidic and lacking enough nutrients to
    easily grow large quantities of crops. Between both the Amazon and the Cerrado being off-limits
    for large-scale farming, that meant that Brazil really didn’t have much land at all for
    farming. 30 years ago, with only the south to farm, Brazil was actually a net importer
    of food—it bought more food from other countries than it sold. That was until researchers discovered
    that all you needed to do to fix the soil was add phosphorous and lime. The phosphorous
    served as a fertilizer in the place of natural nutrients and the lime worked to reduce the
    level of acidity. In the early 2000’s, the country spread more than 25 million tons of
    lime per year and so today the Cerrado accounts for 70% of Brazil’s farmland. In addition,
    Brazil has begun growing soybeans. This plant is normally grown in more temperate climates
    such as the US, northern China, or Japan, but through cross-breeding and genetic modification
    it can be modified to grow in warmer and acidic environments such as the Brazilian Cerrado.
    Thanks to the enormous amount of land Brazil has and these technological advancements the
    country has gone from producing 16% of the world’s soybean in 2005 to 31% today.
    A country’s level of development is often to linked to how good its natural transportation
    system is. That’s part of why the US developed so much so fast—it has a great system of
    navigable rivers right in its agricultural heartland that helps get goods from the fields
    to cities fast and inexpensively. The Brazilian Cerrado, though, does not have that. It doesn’t
    even have much of a preexisting network of roads since before this recent agricultural
    advancement barely anyone lived there. Therefore anyone who wants to farm in the Cerrado has
    to find land, level it, treat it with phosphate and lime, and build roads to get supplies
    in and crops out. Cerrado farms can be profitable but it takes an enormous amount of money to
    build the infrastructure needed to start a farm. It’s not like the US or France or
    China where all you need is some land. The consequence of this is that farms in Brazil
    tend to owned by corporations rather than individuals because only corporations have
    the money to build farms. That therefore increases the level of wealth disparity in Brazil. According
    to the World Bank’s Gini index, Brazil is the 11th most economically unequal country
    in the world. Lower wealth disparity and the emergence of a middle class are indicators
    of economic development so the country should want to fix this. Brazil’s government has
    recognized its infrastructure problem as a source of its wealth disparity and has therefore
    worked to build roads in the interior so that more individuals can run farms but the government
    only has so much money to spend and it’s a big country.
    Brazil does, though, understand the importance of its core. It understands that the coastal
    cities are constrained and that economic development will come from the center. It was partially
    for that reason that the country decided to move its capital from Rio de Janeiro to here—Brasília.
    The thinking was that putting the capital in the core would stimulate the economically
    underdeveloped region and, in many ways, it worked. The city simply did not exist before
    1960 yet today more than 4 million people live in its metropolitan area. Being located
    on relatively flat land unlike Rio, the city can just grow and grow and grow without hinderance.
    Brazil has potential, but its defining issue is that it’s an expensive place. It’s a
    vicious cycle. In order to make money, Brazil needs to invest in its infrastructure but
    without people making money it doesn’t have the tax money to build what it takes t o transition
    into the first world. The question of why tropical countries are less developed is an
    enormous one without a clear answer, but Brazil is one of the most likely candidates to break
    this trend. It certainly lags behind other developing countries like China, but as its
    agriculture industry develops it will become a bigger and bigger exporter which will bring
    more money in. With time, its average income will inch up. The country already does have
    major companies in other industries such as banking, manufacturing, and oil but with how
    big Brazil is, agriculture is the one that’s the world’s focus right now. Only France,
    Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States export more agricultural products per year
    which is good company to be in. Brazil may not have the explosive growth rate of some
    other less developed countries but by continuously taking what it earns and reinvesting it to
    open up more of the country to agricultural production it will continue its path to superpower
    status. One of the common questions I receive is how
    I started making these videos. The first step was learning the skills needed from writing
    to research to sound design and editing, but for each and every one of them there’s a
    course on Skillshare. Skillshare, you see, is an online learning community that has more
    than 21,000 classes on whatever you want to learn. The variety is astounding. You can
    learn skills to help you make videos, to show off at parties, or even to help you get a
    job. There are also some great courses taught by fellow YouTubers such as Mike Boyd and
    Kurzgesagt. What’s best about Skillshare is that you can try it all for free for two
    months exclusively by going to skl.sh/wendover3. Skillshare makes this show possible and its
    a great place to learn or improve your skills so please do check them out, once again, at
    skl.sh/wendover3. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you again in three weeks for another
    Wendover Productions video.