27 October 2020

Brazil, from the crisis to economic growth

Sometimes relationships between countries resemble certain interpersonal dynamics: if, in fact, people suffer from prejudice, then countries too – Italy included, sometimes – find themselves victims of ancient preconceptions, rooted in the collective imaginary, further fueled today by the superficiality of social media.

This is the case of Brazil, long considered a “developing country” or a land of the future, with a tomorrow that never seems to arrive. In reality, Brazil is a key country for some of the challenges that our future depends on. This is precisely what I attempt to demonstrate in my book  “La terra del futuro. Il Brasile dalla crisi alla crescita economica”(The Land of the Future. Brazil from Crisis to Economic Growth) published last July by Luiss University Press.

From 2013 to 2016, I had the opportunity to work as a diplomat at the Italian Embassy to Brazil. This experience allows me to discover Brazil beyond preconceptions, an extraordinary country, starting with its people, who are exceptionally talented. I am learning even more about this in Berlin, a city with a large Brazilian community made up primarily of artists, researchers, IT experts and start-uppers.

Brazilian people have always demonstrated that they know how to push forward, despite crises, which happen cyclically in Brazil as in the rest of Latin America. This will also be the case with COVID, I’m sure of it, and I’m rooting for our Brazilian friends.

A country of great contrasts, and it couldn’t be any other way: Brazil still suffers from its colonial legacy and is a large country, fifth in the world for both population and size. But Brazil is so much more than these record numbers: modern Brazil plays an indispensable role for the future of our planet.

I’ll explain why I think so. First of all, I believe that Brazil represents one of the most successful models of democracy in the world: a multiethnic and multicultural country with a strong sense of political participation that, starting from the late 1980’s, following the Cold War, boasts solid institutions, alternation of power and transparent elections, a bona fide virtuous example in South America.

A democratic nation that, in recent decades and beyond political leanings of its governments, has worked to pull increasingly large sections of the population out of poverty, introducing millions of people to the job market and educational system. Thanks to this internal development, Brazil has also become an authoritative voice on the international scene: Brazilian diplomacy, known for its professionalism, promotes values around the globe including multilateralism, regional cooperation, peaceful conflict resolution and the fight against underdevelopment.

For those who are still not convinced of Brazil’s growing importance, it is important to consider that the country possesses one of the largest biodiversity patrimonies on the planet, without taking into consideration their immense water reserves and their ability to produce mineral and agricultural commodities, truly enviable assets in a world that is starved of raw materials.

My book, that I consider a small homage to a great country, attempts to show how it is in the interest of the entire international community to consider Brazil as a fundamental partner with an eye on the horizon that knows how to look beyond current contingencies. In this regard, Italian diplomacy stands out for its proven commitment in every area of bilateral relations, from cultural cooperation to economic investments, also thanks to the precious contribution of the large community of Italian descendants in Brazil.

Lorenzo Trapassi, diplomat (Italian Embassy to Berlin).

The opinions expressed are strictly personal and do not represent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in any way.