Ian Bremmer has a short listicle in Time listing the “5 Reasons Brazil is Getting Close to the Brink” which seems to suggest that the B in BRICS is yet again living up to the saying about it: Brazil is the country of the future… and always will be. After citing a bleak economic outlook, lingering problems with corruption, water shortages, and an increase in poverty, Bremmer focuses on how this is all breaking on Dilma Rouseff:
Since narrowly winning reelection four months ago with 51.6% of the vote, her approval ratings have nearly halved. A recent poll revealed that the percentage of people who rated her performance as “excellent or good” declined from 42% to 23% in just three months; those who rated her presidential performance as “bad or terrible” spiked from 24% to 44%. Brazilians are losing faith in Dilma: 60% believe Rousseff lied more than she told the truth during her campaign, and 77% think Rousseff knew about the corruption at Petrobras, a company she used to run.
But there’s good news here too that points to long term progress. Cycles like this are all too common in Latin America: a party or movement in power too long becomes deeply corrupt, and ultimately economic conditions turn against a commodity-based economy and things get very ugly. But in the old days, neither the right nor the left would be committed to democracy. Military coups (sometimes right wing, sometimes left wing), violent terror groups (sometimes right wing, sometimes left wing) would make things much worse.Fortunately, today’s Brazil has come a long way. And voters are learning an important lesson as well: no party can be trusted with an indefinite lease on power.So brazil has some pain coming, and those who optimistically predicted that Brazil was going to change the world and become a First World stature country overnight have to adjust their forecasts. And there is always a danger that an economic crisis could turn into a deep and ugly political crisis. But in today’s Brazil that is much less likely than it used to be, and for this Brazilians have to thank strengthening institutions, the wider acceptance of the norms and limits of democratic political life, greater political maturity on the part of voters, and a growing middle class.Brazil may still be the country of the future. But the future is a lot closer than it used to be.