Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Lula’s Sentencing Should Be a Sober Moment for All Brazilians

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s sentencing on Wednesday was long expected, but no less of a bombshell. Lula may have fallen from the pedestal of international acclaim and approval ratings north of 80 percent; a majority of Brazilians may think he broke the law, at a time when citizens are becoming more aware … Read more


For Brazil’s Lula, It’s Not Over Yet

Well, now it’s officially part of the judicial record: Lula is in a category all his own. The most striking aspect of Wednesday’s ruling against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was the judge’s admission that Lula warrants special treatment. This, more than any other detail, suggests the man who has dominated Brazilian politics … Read more


Why Brazilian Politics Needs a Radical Makeover

Brazil is one of the top 10 economies globally, but it fails to meet too many of its population’s basic needs. It is one of the OECD countries with the highest public spending on education – yet Brazilian students perform worse on international tests than those in other OECD countries. Half of all Brazilians still lack access to basic sanitation and 35 million lack … Read more


Revisiting Brazil’s 2013 Protests: What Did They Really Mean?

Brazil’s current political instability began four years ago, with a wave of street demonstrations that virtually no one predicted – and eventually drew more than 1 million people into the streets. In this special report, AQ’s editor-in-chief looks back at what really caused the protests – and whether today’s politicians have fully learned their lessons. … Read more

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Three Top Challenges for Brazil’s Next Foreign Minister

José Serra’s tenure as Brazil’s Minister of Health from 1998 to 2002 was highlighted by a successful effort to overcome the resistance of U.S. pharmaceutical giants and provide Brazilians with universal access to generic AIDS drugs, a move that saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Serra was unable to make such a significant mark in … Read more


Brazilian Judge’s Enemies Come Out of the Shadows

When Sérgio Moro visited Washington, D.C. last July, the 44-year-old judge overseeing Brazil’s “Car Wash” corruption investigation was greeted with standing ovations and adoring questions. “Will you please run for president?” one Brazilian executive pleaded. “What advice would you give so we can have a ‘Car Wash’ in Mexico?” asked a lawyer. Well, what a … Read more


No More Odebrechts: Three Steps to Reduce Graft in Latin America

The revelations of years of immense and systemic bribe payments to policymakers across Latin America by engineering and construction conglomerate Odebrecht are an unmitigated disaster for Brazil – and its foreign policy of the last decade and a half. The internationalization of Brazilian capitalism – that is, the government’s strategy of boosting Brazil’s influence by … Read more


Brazil’s ‘Car Wash’ Probe: Tell Me How This Ends

During their first year in the spotlight, the young federal prosecutors leading the “Operation Car Wash” corruption probe seemed to handle themselves with an eerie, almost cinematic grace. From the case’s obscure roots of money laundering at a gas station, to its eruption into an unprecedented scandal that helped bring down Dilma Rousseff’s presidency, the … Read more

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How to Get Brazil (And Latin America) Completely Wrong

It’s been yet another rough week for Brazil’s international image, with an Olympic mascot shot dead in an absurd accident and another national political figure dragged into scandal. But the biggest blow of all came from Declan Ryan, co-founder of the Irish budget airline Ryanair, who told an Argentine newspaper that he was considering expansion … Read more

Michel Temer

Michel Temer and the ‘Nobody Survives’ Scenario in Brasília

I had dinner recently with a Fortune 500 executive who was absolutely furious over Brazil. At great pains, he had finally convinced his board to take a fresh look at investing there under interim President Michel Temer’s government. But the latest wave of corruption-related resignations and arrests had scared them away once again, for fear … Read more

Sergio Moro

Judge Moro: Systemic Corruption Can Become a ‘Sad Memory’ of Brazil’s Past

Editor’s note: Moro is the federal judge overseeing “Operation Car Wash,” the historic investigation of corruption at Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras. This piece first appeared in Portuguese in Exame magazine, and can be seen here. The English translation has been lightly edited for clarity, context and length. More than two years after the start … Read more

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Impeachment and Brazil’s ‘Que Se Vayan Todos’ Moment

Leia em Português When Argentina’s economy collapsed in late 2001, everybody was absolutely sure whose fault it was. Aloof, hermetic and increasingly prone to slurring his words in public, President Fernando de la Rúa had managed to trash the government’s fiscal accounts in just two years in power. Steakhouses and nightclubs were empty, unemployment was … Read more


Argentina to Expand Use of Plea Bargaining, Inspired by Brazil

With the use of plea bargaining, a Brazilian legal team has recovered $785 million stolen in the Lava Jato (Car Wash) corruption scandal, and they’re hunting down another $5.9 billion. You can’t blame Argentina for wanting to use the controversial legal tool to see what it can recoup, too. Inspired by Brazil, Argentine President Mauricio Macri is laying … Read more


The Key to Rousseff’s Future – And Maybe Brazil’s, Too

After more than a decade studying Brazil, there are still two things whose popularity I cannot fully explain: bacalhau and the PMDB. The former is a vile salted codfish that no human being should ever be forced to ingest. The latter is the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, a shape-shifting, ideologically diverse group of politicians that … Read more

Lula da Silva

Don’t Let Brazil Become Venezuela

This piece was updated on March 7. The next week will be critical to the future of Brazilian democracy. The temporary detention of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for questioning related to the Petrobras probe is indeed a sign that no one in Brazil is above the law. But it also brings the … Read more

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