Rio de Janeiro! The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Brazil the honor (and burden) of hosting the 2016 Olympics. Despite strong pitches from three heavyweight cities, Madrid, Chicago, and Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro won the bid.
The Olympic Games will be held in South America for the first time in the long history of the games. While all of South America will celebrate this decision as a win for the entire continent, make no mistake, this is Brazil’s time to shine.
Brazil has taken the World stage by storm in recent years and the IOC’s decision serves as another affirmation that Brazil is truly a global heavyweight. Their role as one of the world’s strongest emerging economies has provided them significant influence in both the North and the South.
Brazil is a driving force in the G20; the recent news that the G20 will replace the G8 as the primary economic council of wealthy nations can be attributed to the hard work of President Lula da Silva of Brazil. Brazil is also the likely choice for a permanent seat on an expanded UN Security Council, which would certainly solidify their place in the World.
On the economic front, Brazil has a rapidly developing and diverse economy. The IMF reported just this week that Brazil is set to lead the rest of Latin America out of the recession. The country’s economy reported a 1.9% growth in the second quarter this year, effectively making them the first in Latin America, and one of the first G20 nations, to emerge from the recession.
While Brazil’s efforts to be recognized by the world as an important player are finally coming to fruition, they have yet to fully take on the responsibility that comes along with the recognition. In an event at the New America Foundation yesterday, former Foreign Minister of Mexico, Jorge Castaneda, stated that Brazil, “wants to be present, but doesn’t want to take sides” on important regional and international issues.
President Lula de Silva wants to be Latin America’s diplomatic leader, but he allows Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to outshout him on regional matters. Castaneda offered an excellent analysis of the steps Brazil must take to become a responsible leader. I think it’s just a matter of time before Brazil finds its voice and their sense of responsibility catches up with their popularity.
— Faith Smith