Anti-World Cup demonstrators hold a banner near Maracana stadium, where the final World Cup game took place, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13, 2014 (AP photo by Leo Correa).
When U.S. prosecutors unveiled a stack of corruption indictments against individuals involved with FIFA, the world’s governing body for soccer, they unwittingly added fuel to a potentially transformative movement that is emerging with astonishing force in Latin America. Throughout the continent, powerful men and women who had grown accustomed to operating with impunity in gray areas of the law are suddenly finding themselves on the defensive. They now face a day of reckoning, as mass movements demand an end to graft, corruption and favoritism benefiting top government officials as well as their friends, families and supporters. Against this backdrop, Washington’s [...]
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma at the BRICS summit, Brazil, July 15, 2014 (AP photo by Silvia Izquierdo).
The BRICS grouping must rank as one of the oddest geopolitical blocs in history. It was born in 2001 from the mind of a Wall Street economist as little more than a mnemonic shorthand device to describe the growing importance of developing economies. Ever since, the five countries it comprises—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a later addition—have been trying to transform their snappy acronym into a global player. Nobody has promoted the ambition to leverage the BRICS bloc into a source of influence more enthusiastically than Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sees the grouping as a potential vehicle [...]
Thousands of demonstrators take part in a protest against the government of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff in front of the Brazilian National Congress in Brasilia, March 15, 2015 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).
Dilma Rousseff has faced worse. Nothing that happens to her as president of Brazil could compare with the physical pain inflicted on her by professional torturers from the military dictatorship she fought to topple as a young revolutionary. But now that she is the one holding power, she is facing an avalanche of troubles, including the wrath of the people, the perils of a global economy and the stubbornly uncooperative forces of nature. Sadly for Rousseff, all signs indicate her problems are only about to grow worse. The dire signals started emerging a long time ago. But the evidence that [...]
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