6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

What (and Who) Will Emerge From the Crisis in Brazil?

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Webcast Recap

Until mid-May, positive economic growth and declining inflation in the first quarter of 2017 suggested that Brazil was finally beginning to recover, slowly, from the longest and deepest economic contraction in its history. Investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy was also improving as Congress moved forward on social security and other structural reforms necessary to address the serious fiscal imbalances at the root of the economic crisis.

Then came the latest bombshell: a surreptitiously taped and highly inappropriate late-night conversation between President Michel Temer and an owner of the world’s largest meat processing company, Brazil’s JBS. The recording included a discussion of maneuvers to obstruct justice and shield tainted politicians and others from ongoing corruption investigations. Despite mounting demands that he step down, a defiant Temer has vowed not to resign, throwing the country into what historian Boris Fausto, a former Wilson Center Fellow, described as “the largest and most dramatic crisis” in Brazil’s history. 

What—and who—will emerge out of this self-inflicted mess in Brazil? With most nationally recognized politicians under suspicion or criminal investigation, who will lead Brazil forward?

Join the Brazil Institute on June 1st to explore these issues and potential scenarios for Brazil over the next year and a half, framed by the presentation of a new opinion poll by Ideia Inteligência on Brazilian public attitudes toward the crisis. Restoring confidence will require the resolution of the severe crisis of leadership exposed by the still-expanding federal criminal investigations into systemic corruption among the business and political elites. Remarkably, the country’s many challenges are being addressed within a resilient institutional framework, but significant uncertainty remains with presidential and general elections on the horizon in October 2018 and the campaigns set to start in just one year.

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