Archive for February, 2011

Brazil: Ronaldo Retires

If you are a soccer fan, you know the most dynamic player of the past twenty years, has been a gap-toothed Brazilian who hailed from a favela in Rio and goes by the single name Ronaldo.


Fans around the world will remember Ronaldo’s first significant injury, while making one of his signature, freight-train runs towards goal while playing for Inter Milan.  Just outside of the opponent’s goal box, just as Ronaldo was completing his patented step-over move, just as he was preparing to humiliate yet another defender, his knee essentially exploded.


The soccer world gasped in horror as the image was played over and over again.  We have never recovered.  Nor did Ronaldo.


Ronaldo in his prime was unstoppable and undeniably fun to watch.  Both on and off the pitch, he was bigger than life.  He was a rock star.  He could party all night, and play all day.  The only thing that stopped him in the end was his own body.


In announcing his retirement, he told the world that he felt like he was experiencing his “first death”.


For all of the soccer fans around the world who use to delight in watching him play, we know what he means, sort of.  Our “first death” was watching him fall to the ground in tears while wearing the Inter shirt.  Our “second death” happened on Monday.


He will be missed, but never forgotten.


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Suddenly, everything seems to be coming up Brazilian.

President Barack Obama will visit Brazil during his first South American trip in March and Brazil is Florida’s top trading partner. But Brazilians are also snapping up beachfront luxury properties and downtown Miami condos, investing in everything from real estate to Burger King, and shopping voraciously.

It’s as if a “swarm of grasshoppers” has descended on South Florida, chomping through bargains from Dadeland to Sawgrass Mills, one tour operator says.

Read Mimi Whitefield’s Miami Herald Article here:


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In a nation known for its jubilant spirit, massive parties and seemingly intrinsic ability to celebrate anything under the sun, is a constitutional amendment really required to protect the pursuit of happiness?

Several lawmakers think so, and a bill to amend Brazil’s Constitution to make the search for happiness an inalienable right is widely expected to be approved soon by the Senate. The bill would then go to the lower house.

The debate comes a month before Brazil’s Carnival, a raucous festival replete with tens of thousands half-naked men and women that Rio officials call the largest party on Earth. But supporters say the happiness bill is a serious undertaking despite the revelry, meant to address Brazil’s stark economic and social inequalities.

Read Marco Sibaja’s Miami Herald Article here:


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President Barack Obama’s State of the Union announcement that he will travel to Brazil in March, along with El Salvador and Chile, is recognition that a stronger relationship with Brasilia is a key to advancing our own foreign policy interests.

Despite close cooperation on many issues and shared pronouncements of common interests and goals, Brazil’s dramatic rise is altering the foreign policy calculus. Deft management of the relationship will be required to minimize further bumps in the road such as that which occurred recently on Iran, particularly as Brazil determines whether to define its interests primarily as a Western nation, a member of the BRIC’s, a leader of the developing world, a leader of South America, or, more likely, in some combination of the above.

Read Eric Farnsworth’s Miami Herald Article here:


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Brazil’s economy is booming. Prices for its commodities are stellar and unemployment is at record lows, but panelists at a Miami conference said there could be some clouds on the horizon.

Among concerns are a growing current account deficit, an overvalued real, and mounting inflation, which could top 6 percent this year; said participants at “Forecast 2011: Economic and Political Risk Scenarios for Latin America.”

Yes, but Carnival is always a good time.

Read Mimi Whitefield’s The Miami Herald article here:



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Brazil is building 8,000 new, free homes for survivors of the deadly mudslides that ripped away mountainsides near Rio de Janeiro, President Dilma Rousseff announced Thursday.

The president said the housing initiative is a partnership between private companies, the federal government and Rio de Janeiro state, where floods and slides killed more than 837 people and left 541 missing.

Read Juliana Barbassa’s The Miami Herald Article here:



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There is little question that Brazil, the world’s eighth largest economy and an emerging global power, will be the most important leg of Obama’s trip. Tensions between Brazil and Washington rose during the last two years of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s administration over, among other things, Brazil’s diplomatic support of Iran.

But now, after the Jan. 1 inauguration of Lula da Silva’s hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla who served as his chief of staff, U.S. officials are hopeful that they will be able to rebuild bilateral ties.

President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador in March — in what will be his first trip to South America — could result in an improvement in Brazil-U.S. ties following a significant downturn over the past two years.

Obama announced in his State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday that he will visit the three countries as part of his efforts to strengthen ties with Latin America. The five-day visit is likely to take place in the second half of March.

Read Andres Oppenheimer’s The Miami Herald Article here:



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