Troubled Brazil

April 7, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 13
Can it overcome corruption, inequality and recession?
By Christina Hoag


Demonstrators in São Paulo protest the widespread corruption (AFP/Getty Images/Miguel Schincariol)
Demonstrators in São Paulo in December 2016 protest the widespread corruption that has helped drag down Brazil's once flourishing economy. Experts say a return to prosperity will require overcoming the vast nation's economic and structural problems, including its dilapidated infrastructure, inefficient workforce and high unemployment rate. (AFP/Getty Images/Miguel Schincariol)

Only a few years ago, Brazil seemed poised to fulfill its potential as a global powerhouse. Almost as big as the continental United States and with a population of nearly 206 million, it boasted the world's eighth-largest economy. Thanks to robust economic growth and spending on social programs, millions had moved out of poverty, and the nation's middle class was growing. But plummeting demand for Brazil's commodity exports and a massive corruption scandal have plunged Brazil into the worst recession in its history. Last summer, just after Brazil hosted the first-ever Olympic Games in South America, an event meant to showcase its progress to the world, President Dilma Rousseff was impeached on charges of political malfeasance. Scores of other politicians and business officials also have been accused or convicted of wrongdoing. Now, analysts say Brazil must pursue major reforms before it can regain its momentum. Meanwhile, government plans to radically expand hydropower along the Amazon River have sparked resistance from environmentalists and indigenous peoples.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Apr. 07, 2017  Troubled Brazil
Jun. 07, 2011  Brazil on the Rise
Apr. 12, 1972  Brazil: Awakening Giant
Sep. 27, 1969  Amazon Basin Development
Jan. 26, 1966  Brazil: Democracy or Dictatorship
Jan. 15, 1962  Brazil in Ferment
Bilateral and Regional Trade
Crime and Law Enforcement
Economic Crises
Economic Development
Electric Power
Energy and the Environment
Energy Policy
Exports and Imports
Forests and Rangelands
General Employment and Labor
Infectious Diseases
Land Resources and Property Rights
Low Income and Public Housing
Oil and Natural Gas
Sports and Recreation