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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Brazil Beyond Lula
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel quantifies all the positive ramifications of Lula's presidency.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

While hemispheric talking heads concentrate on the imprisonment of Lula and the chances of him being pardoned or succeeding in gaining freedom through some legal gimmick that would allow him to participate in the October presidential elections, Brazil continues to silently build a stronger more resilient and far more modern institutional framework.

And this chore will prove to be decisive to the development and freedom in the South American colossus.

But, alas no one seems to be noticing.

Yes, Lula is part of this modernizing story!! But no media whether traditional or social is placing him in the right perspective.

For most what seems to be interesting is the reality TV show aspects of Lula's drama which, of course are the least important and permanent.

Lula is important to Brazil's history because he made ordinary Brazilians feel significant for democracy and development.

Up and until he was elected, the overwhelming majority of Brazilians saw politics like the gaming ground for the elites.

When Lula became president, they felt that they were for the first time the center of Brazilian public policies.

Beyond Bolsa Brazil -- the family subsidy that pulled about 40M Brazilians from extreme poverty -- Lula's mandate will be seen 50 years from now as the period when democracy was spread to the hearts and minds of most Brazilians and that will most likely be his legacy.

Other bequests from the labor leader include blowing up the corruption toll stations that ruled political life in Brazil.

Roaring corruption during his mandates unleashed in full force the power of an independent judiciary to bring it to an end.

Although corruption is treated throughout Latin America as a facilitating fee to get things done -- whether it be the issuance of an identity card or the assignment of an infrastructure tender -- the depth, organization and pervasiveness of corruption during the Lula mandates set in motion destructive forces against this scourge.

Setting up bogus advisory councils and infiltrating financial departments of government entities with toll cutters is something that only the NY mafia families did in the 1920s through 1940s.

And as the news reached the media whose independent and unbiased stand brought into full light the modus operandi of a corruption machinery that encompassed government officials, politicians, businessmen and even journalists, Brazilians did not like the picture on display.

They thus chose to entrust the judiciary with the cleanup task. Cleanup on its turn unleashed a modernization drive that has left the state bureaucracy, corporations and political parties bracing for honest leaders and effective board members.
Crony capitalism is withering away while innovation and competitive drives are taking over.

Proof of the pudding is the way Brazil is handling the humanitarian crisis produced by the Maduro Administration in Venezuela.

Contrary to most Latin nations that are seeking external support to deal with the wave of migrants escaping death by disease and starvation in Venezuela, Brazil is seeing this tragedy as an opportunity to push development.

Accordingly, corporations are requesting the government to grant immediate work permits to Venezuelan professionals.

The Brazilian Army has already set up refugee camps in the state of Roraima to receive Venezuelans. A hospital is in the makings and soon two cities will be built to house Venezuelans that want to work and live in Roraima.

The wave of migrants has already been baptized as "brain gains" and absorption plans are proceeding fast. This would have never happened in pre-Lava Jato Brazil!!

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.


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