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Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - When you look up this word in Portuguese, you get a short description. If you put it into Wikipedia, but the English language version, the same description is entitled “cronyism”. Both terms mean, essentially, passing out relatively important governmental positions to your political buddies, regardless of whether they have any technical competence.

In Brazil, cronyism has been around for a long time. Just after his election in 2002, President Lula publicly defended the practice of creating a number of new cabinet ministries and handing them out to political parties that would support . . .

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