Friday, June 17, 2011

Russia and Brazil

VOA News has an article "Can Russia catch up with Brazil". In this article it mentions similarities between the countries such as that both used to be dictatorships and that both were late abolishing slavery.

But where Russia is tuck with authoritarian Putin Brazil has found the way to democracy. The article's account of how this happened:
I was in Florianopolis, Brazil, lunching on shrimp stew with Roberto Schmidt, a lawyer and veteran of Brazil’s long, slow motion move to full civilian rule.

“Expansion of civil society is the key,” he said. “One year in the early 1980s, neighborhood groups just started forming across Florianopolis.”

As a reporter in Brazil in the early 1980s, I recall thinking that this proliferation of non-governmental groups, neighborhood groups, church groups, green groups, women’s groups, and independent trade unions was a boring story. For news value, how could this grass roots phenomenon compare with the pyrotechnics of civil war in El Salvador, Augusto Pinochet beating heads in Chile, and Maggie Thatcher rolling back Argentina’s occupation of the Falkland Islands?

But for Brazil, this transition to democracy was The Story.

On a political level, these non-governmental groups led to the formation of the Workers Party, Brazil’s first truly grass roots party. This is the party that overturned class expectations and put into the presidential palace Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, a former shoeshine boy whose formal education stopped at the fourth grade.

Unfortunately the US policy of color revolution has made grass root organizations suspect and politicized.

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