Brazil, Venezuela In Crisis

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Two South American giants in crisis. Brazil and Venezuela. We’ll look at their ways ahead, from corruption to oppression to the Olympics.


Two South American giants in serious trouble right now. Brazil’s in trouble. Economy gone from star to mess. Brazilians in the streets. Zika virus hitting. President sidelined last week. Claiming coup. Facing impeachment trial. And the Summer Olympics looming. Venezuela can look in free fall. A state of emergency declared on Friday. Shortages and violence all over. This hour On Point: we look at Brazil and Venezuela, South America’s two big players in trouble.
-Tom Ashbrook


Julia Leite, Sao Paulo bureau chief for Bloomberg News. (@julialeite)

Alex Cuadros, Brazil-based journalist, author of the upcoming book Brazillionaires. (@alexcuadros)

Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (@viapaulosotero)

Anatoly Kurmanaev, Venezuela correspondent for the Wall Street Journal (@AKurmanaev)

John Paul Rathbone, Latin America editor for the Financial Times. (@JP_Rathbone)

From Tom's Reading List

Brazil’s New Club Is All Boys and They’re Running the Show — “Definitely a step backward that there are no Afro-Brazilians and no women,” David Fleischer, professor emeritus of politics at the University of Brasilia, said by phone. “Some people will tell you that’s politics, but that’s traditional politics: turning the clock back 15 or 20 years. Those are two very vulnerable points for criticism.” (Bloomberg)

Venezuela president Nicolás Maduro declares state of emergency — "Maduro’s Friday night declaration of a 60-day state of emergency comes after a week that saw demonstrations for a recall vote escalate into violence, with protesters hurling stones and police firing teargas. His biggest problem is the economy, which contracted last year and is forecast to shrink by a further 8% this year. Inflation is already in triple digits and expected to soar over 700% this year, which could leave the government too cash-strapped to even pay for printing new money." (The Guardian)

Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals — "This nation has the largest oil reserves in the world, yet the government saved little money for hard times when oil prices were high. Now that prices have collapsed — they are around a third what they were in 2014 the consequences are casting a destructive shadow across the country. Lines for food, long a feature of life in Venezuela, now erupt into looting. The bolívar, the country’s currency, is nearly worthless." (New York Times)

This program aired on May 17, 2016.


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