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Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In Brazil’s rural interior, the people who run politics and business and almost all aspects of people’s lives are called “coronéis” or colonels, even though they almost never have any military rank nor even military experience.

The term arose in Brazil’s colonial past, when the emperor sold National Guard commissions to the highest bidders. These, needless to say, were the wealthy owners of Subscribe to our Premium Membership Plan. Already Subscribed?