RIO DE JANEIRO – There are a few key issues that are happening this week that make me think of trade offs. They say there are always at least three versions of the truth, and it seems the more complicated a situation, the more versions there are. While answers to these complex issues are hard to come by, the more we think about them, the better off we are.
The record rainfall and subsequent deaths caused by landslides has prompted relocation of thousands living in favelas. One could argue this is the government’s responsibility, and all the more reason to control the illegal sprawl of these untaxed neighborhoods. On the other hand, it is clear it is Brazil’s lack of affordable housing and tremendous poverty that forces this type of favela construction.
The potential loss of offshore oil proceeds to be distributed across Brazil is an issue that has Rio understandably concerned. Rio is Brazil’s most famous city, although in decline since the Seventies and Eighties as a business and political center.
With the oil discoveries and recent World Cup and Olympic wins, it seems set to reemerge as more then just a tourist and Entertainment mecca. Brasília was created for a reason though, and Ibsen Pinheiro and his amendment may be looking at a bigger picture, or at least think they are.
The other big issue covered is the trade negotiations (aka wars) around the cotton market and international economic impact. Few Americans outside the cotton industry would think this is an issue, but for almost a decade Brazil has called the U.S. to task for illegally subsidizing the agro-industry, and cornering the market. One could argue that Brazil could also subsidize their cotton farmers… but the WTO made this law for a reason, and the U.S. seems to stepping into line.
All questions outside my pay-grade, but it’s good to understand these issues exist, and there are no easy answers, only trade offs.
In other news, this writer decided to cheer for Vasco… because of the jersey, and everyone and their mom seems intoxicated with Flamengo. Unfortunately, Vasco da Gama couldn’t beat them even without their star Adriano last weekend, so the Taça Rio championships will happen without them, again. The good news is they all continue to play year-round it seems.