Brazil: More Than Crisis, Carnival, And Samba

You overemphasized our country's problems ("Brazil: Deepening crisis," Special Report, Mar. 22). The currency has recovered some of its value, and inflation won't pick up while the country is in recession. Moreover, consumers are aware of the best buys, which should push prices down. In the past, when we lived in a closed economy, it was harder to manage that; also, there used to be so much indexing that a simple hike in oil prices could set off price markups everywhere else.

Nor did you mention that the Brazilian Congress has taken all requested steps to balance the budget. And the Central Bank of Brazil will target inflation, so it will hardly reach the numbers you mentioned for the current year (45% or over). Despite the recession, $18 billion in foreign capital is expected to irrigate the economy. Also, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has a deal with nearly all the [state] governors to play their part in controlling the deficit. The "tough measures" are on their way and will produce good results by yearend. The crisis isn't worse than we think--instead, the opportunities are much better than you could imagine.

Luiz Eduardo Oliveira

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Brazil has a complex economy, mixing its agriculture, industry, and services together, and suffering its biggest speculative phase of the 20th century. You cannot just interview poor people living in slums, showing they are worried about the price of rice and beans, and then present catastrophic indicators.

Also, the unemployment rate should not be shown as national: It is higher in places such as Sao Paulo, where international auto makers are shutting down factories and moving south to receive tax credits and government financing for new installations. Part of the federal government debt is [in the form of] guaranteed bonds for loans from Brazilian states to multinationals. Beyond all that, the bitter medicine offered by the International Monetary Fund dictates high interest rates and strict monetary control, which would certainly deepen a recession anywhere.

You should be more accurate about the reality and profile of each country: Don't just say they are poor and full of problems. Today, our profile is totally different [from what it was]. The upper class is still dominant but has lost its importance as a support to the country and its bad politicians. A new society is ready to emerge, with wide access to information and freedom to organize groups to complain about corruption and misgovernment. Please do not only think about us in terms of carnival, samba, or naked dancers. We are a country built by immigrants, and we work hard.

Vicente Ferraz Pacheco Neto

Sao Paulo

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