Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas
Military Police in Rio de Janeiro

What’s Happening on Rio’s Beaches?

A civil society group is resisting government efforts to restrict access to some Rio de Janeiro beaches, announcing a plan for thousands of the city’s favela residents to travel en masse to a popular Ipanema beach on October 4. Papo Reto Coletivo, an independent media group based in Rio’s expansive Complexo do Alemão favela, is coordinating the event to … Read more What’s Happening on Rio’s Beaches?

Brazil's police force faces a new front in its war on drugs

Gangsta’s Paradise: How Brazil’s Criminals (and Police) Use Social Media

Rio de Janeiro´s most wanted drug trafficker, Playboy, died in a hail of police gunfire at his girlfriend´s apartment this month. Photographs of his bullet-riddled body began circulating on the Internet within minutes of his demise. So did an audio recording suggesting that he “left the scene alive, but arrived to the hospital dead.” His assassination is yet another pixel … Read more Gangsta’s Paradise: How Brazil’s Criminals (and Police) Use Social Media

Joe Biden and Thomas Traumann meet at the Palácio do Planalto in Brasilia

The Incredible Unknown Bond between Joe Biden and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff

“I have often congratulated President Obama for having such a seductive vice president.” That comment, made with a wink and a smile by Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff at a dinner just before the World Cup last year, raised eyebrows for two reasons. First, Rousseff is not exactly known for her personal charm. And second, relations … Read more The Incredible Unknown Bond between Joe Biden and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff


International Cooperation or Gridlock?

A shift of the global balance of power is under way. Emerging countries are increasingly playing significant roles on global issues, such as the global economy, trade, and investment, as well as in diplomacy and multilateral decision making. In a few years, we will witness a historically rare phenomenon, when a new country will become … Read more International Cooperation or Gridlock?


Safe Streets, Safe Cities

Discussions of sustainable cities tend to focus on environmental goals such as developing eco-friendly architecture, recycling, and improving the resiliency of urban infrastructure systems. But public or citizen security is an equally important aspect of building a sustainable city. Often, it is the issue that tops the list of citizens’ concerns—and with good reason. Violent … Read more Safe Streets, Safe Cities


City of God, City of Barriers

Some see Rio’s favelas as crime-ridden danger zones. Cavi Borges, a local filmmaker, sees them as dynamic film sets. The movie producer and director hops on the back of a motorcycle taxi at the base of the Vidigal favela—a shantytown snaking up Morro Dois Irmãos in Rio de Janeiro—and zips through a series of alleyways … Read more City of God, City of Barriers

Freixo original_Oct10

Brazil’s Municipal Elections Yield Mixed Results for the Ruling PT

As part of its quadrennial electoral process, Brazil held simultaneous local elections on Sunday in over 5,560 municipalities. In all, roughly 140 million votes were cast—normal turnout, since voting is mandatory in Brazil. Voters chose from among nearly 480,000 candidates to determine the mayors (prefeitos), deputy mayors (vice-prefeitos) and local councils (vereadores) across the country. … Read more Brazil’s Municipal Elections Yield Mixed Results for the Ruling PT


Tackling Brazil’s Obesity Problem

In recent years, Brazil has encountered a health threat more commonly seen in the advanced industrialized nations: obesity. The emergence of fast-food diets, sedentary lifestyles, as well as federal programs designed to alleviate malnourishment has—rather ironically—contributed to the nationwide spread of obesity. A survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, which interviewed 54,000 adults across … Read more Tackling Brazil’s Obesity Problem


A Brazil Perspective on Rio+20

All eyes are on Brazil this week as more than 130 world leaders and some 50,000 activists, civil society representatives and business leaders are attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro. The conference marks 20 years since the Earth Summit in 1992 concluded, when leaders—optimistic about a post-Cold … Read more A Brazil Perspective on Rio+20


Same-Sex Marriage in Chile

Marriage equality for same-sex couples is gaining new momentum in the United States. One month ago, President Obama announced that “same-sex couples should be able to get married.”  Meanwhile, major multinational corporations and top consumer brands are also coming out in favor of marriage equality. In February, Proposition 8, a voter referendum that reversed marriage … Read more Same-Sex Marriage in Chile