Equality, Environment and Political Polarisation in Brazil
The overall impression of the visit was – for me – the dynamism and liveliness of Brazilian politics and democracy. After a challenging few years under its previous political leadership, Brazil seems to have bounced back with its strong democratic institutions and constitution. Few, it would seem, wanted a return to the dark days of the dictatorship prior to 1985, whatever their views on the previous President.
Brazil clearly still has its problems, though. Populism and political polarisation – along with many other parliamentary democracies – plagues its congress and political discourse but the system appears to be robust enough to cope. President Lula will have his work cut out and we found that, even three months after his inauguration, not all governmental positions had been filled. But Brazil is a young country with huge resources and a high-functioning education system which powers economic growth and development. Poverty is still at unacceptable levels but the current administration is determined to make Brazil a more equal country. Racism is also shockingly prevalent at every level of society.
We found a country determined to take its place amongst world leading economies and nations and unique in its importance to the entire planet, given the place of the Amazon Rainforest in the ecology of the Earth. The vastness of Brazil, 33 times larger than the UK, is almost unimaginable to British visitors. Its population is only just over three times that of the UK.
Many thanks should go to our Delegation Leader, Karen Bradley, and Holly Sloan, the British Group IPU’s Latin American expert. I was very grateful to have been part of such an excellent and rewarding visit.