RIO DE JANEIRO – As a younger man my policy was to not discuss politics or religion as it seemed to provoke conflict and kill my buzz. Now as a slightly older man, I still tend to shy away from debating these topics due to a growing awareness of my fallibility, and understanding the massive complexity of the issues.
For starters, this week the Belo Monte Dam moved forward a key step and development was bid and won by a Brazilian conglomerate. Horrible for the Amazon residents and environment, potentially good for clean energy to pull the region from poverty.
Then there is the Brazilian Landless Worker’s Movement, or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). Anarchy for the citizens having their land stolen out from under them my hoards of undesirables, great for the underprivileged otherwise lacking opportunity to escape exploitative poverty.
The other big issue is Brazil supporting soft diplomacy in the face of Iranian nuclear development. Bad for stability in the region and certainly not helping U.S. interests, and also bad for stability in the region and certainly not helping U.S. interests (that was on purpose as one’s perspective defines the implications of that statement).
Although truth-be-told it’s not only politics and religion that spark so much controversy. For instance, cosmetic surgery seems to be a hot issue, and there is growing concern over false advertising as scores of surprised parents gaze upon their children born with unfamiliar physical characteristics (joking of course).