ShareThis Page
Featured Commentary

World Cup has been a failure for Brazil

| Saturday, June 28, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The World Cup is far from over but it's not too early to declare it a failure for Brazil: The country has missed a golden opportunity to rebrand itself as an emerging technological power and to upgrade its stereotype of being the nation of carnival, beaches and soccer.

Here are some of the stories you are not hearing from the more than 5,000 journalists from 70 countries who have traveled to Brazil to cover the world's biggest sporting event:

• Brazil is one of the world's leading aircraft manufacturers. Its Embraer aircraft maker is the world leader in production of mid-size passenger planes, which it sells to American Airlines, United Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa and nearly 80 other commercial airlines.

• Brazil's state-run Embrapa research institute is one of the world's leading agricultural research centers. It has developed, among other things, an acidic-soil-adapted soybean plant that has helped the country become one of the world's biggest soybean exporters.

• Brazil has recently unveiled its “Startup Brazil” program aimed at turning the country into a world-class innovation center. Under the program, domestic and foreign high-tech startup companies can get nearly $100,000 in government aid, plus free office space. Hundreds of U.S. and European entrepreneurs have already applied, Startup Brazil officials say.

• Brazil also recently started a “Science without Borders” program to send 101,000 university students to pursue graduate degrees in mostly U.S. and European universities. The program is aimed at helping Brazil, which already produces 10,000 doctorates a year, get more foreign-trained Ph.D.s in science and engineering.

These and other Brazilian moves could help Brazil become a major emerging technological power. But, unfortunately, it has not been able to get that message out during the World Cup.

Simon Anholt, a British consultant who publishes a massive annual “nation brand index” about how countries are perceived around the world, told me that Brazil has a relatively good, but “soft” international image.

“Brazil is a country that is regarded as decorative, but not useful,” Anholt said. “That's bad for Brazil, because it limits its economic potential.”

It is a tragedy that Brazil has lost a magnificent opportunity to show itself to the world as a country that already can do much more than samba.

Andres Oppenheimer is a Latin America correspondent for The Miami Herald.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me