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Monday, 25th August 2008

Legacy or Complacency? Lula's Unfinished Business in Brazil

Legacy or Complacency? Lula's Unfinished Business in Brazil
Source: American Enterprise Institute (Latin American Outlook)

When it comes to Latin America, "good news is no news." But Brazil has earned so many positive headlines recently that it might just rewrite this maxim. South America's most populous continental power has managed to string together a few decades of sound economic policies and pluralistic governance to become an example of how a multiethnic democracy and free market economy can help millions pull themselves out of poverty. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, labor leader turned statesman, has made impressive strides during his tenure. At a time when some protagonists in the region are wasting time and energy pushing a polarizing, divisive agenda, Lula's term has been defined largely by steady pragmatism. He has demonstrated that antipoverty programs are good business and that economic growth is objectively better when the opportunity that comes with it is shared more equitably. But he risks squandering his remaining thirty months in office if he basks in the glow of his accolades and becomes complacent. He owes it to his people and to his own legacy to take on a host of lingering economic and political reforms to make Brazil more open and fair.


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