Miriam Leitao at PostGlobal

Miriam Leitao

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Miriam Leitao is a reporter and columnist for O Globo and Radio CBN in Brazil. She is also a commentator on Globo TV Network and runs her own blog, www.miriamleitao.com, hosted at Globo online at www.oglobo.com.br. She was awarded Columbia University’s Maria Moors Cabot Prize in 2005. Close.

Miriam Leitao

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Miriam Leitao is a reporter and columnist for O Globo and Radio CBN in Brazil. more »

Main Page | Miriam Leitao Archives | PostGlobal Archives

June 11, 2008 4:40 PM

A Farewell to Isolation

The Current Discussion:PostGlobal celebrates its second birthday this week. Is there a growing global agenda -- that is, an agenda of issues being discussed that affects the world rather than individual countries? Or are local concerns still paramount?

The answer is yes, to both questions: Yes, there is a growing global agenda, and yes, there are local concerns in each country. That is the complexity of our era. Globalization, amazing new possibilities for communication, and intense capital flows have increased the ties between countries, but each nation still has its own challenges, realities, and priorities.

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April 15, 2008 8:37 PM

Stop Wasting Corn on Ethanol

Let's start with good news. One part of the problem is that more people have gotten used to eating. The sustainable growth in many countries such as China, India, many African countries and throughout Latin America has increased income levels. This has delivered food security to millions of human beings who have never had it -- and, of course, has had the consequence of higher prices.

If rising demand and prices for food were the only problem, the simple solution would be to increase production. However, there are other factors at play. Two of them are climate change and the attempt to mitigate it.

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March 25, 2008 7:51 AM

Brazil's Hard-Fought Economic Dreams

The Current Discussion:The global economy is quaking. Are we heading toward a global recession? Who's to blame?

During the American inflationary surge in the late 1970s, the Fed raised interest rates to sky-high levels. Latin America was its first victim. Her external debt snowballed and the region entered into a deep recession. The 1980s are known as the “lost decade” in our economic history.

Things are different now. The largest countries in South America are accelerating their growth rate while the U.S. is falling into a recession. Argentina and Venezuela are struggling with an old Latin American enemy: high inflation. In Brazil, however, the inflation rate is right on the Central Bank’s target, the external indicators are better than ever, and we are on the eve of being rated as an investment-grade country. For the first time in decades, our private and public external debt is lower than our international reserves, which means Brazil has a negative external debt. Consumption is growing, fueled by rising incomes and the first expansion of credit in our recent history. Truck sales have increased by 40% last year; auto sales, by 36%; growth of durable goods sales has averaged 20%. Brazilians drink more Coke than the Chinese; the country is the third market for Coca-Cola, only behind the U.S. and Mexico.

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March 17, 2008 10:02 AM

State Dept. Out of Touch On China

The U.S. State Department has chosen the worst time to tell us such a foolish thing that China is no longer a human rights offender. PostGlobal asks us whether the State Department is right to say that. Obviously it is not. Look at what is happening right now in Tibet. The violence with which Chinese authorities are repressing the Tibetan movement for freedom and autonomy is completely unacceptable. If someone thinks it is a normal reaction against a separatist movement, look at what is happening in China itself. The Chinese have no freedom to express any disagreement against the communist regime, neither in the press nor in the blogosphere.

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February 20, 2008 2:47 PM

In Cuba, Change Has Already Arrived

The Current Discussion: With Castro gone, will Cuba become America's 51st state?

Cuban TV airs hugely popular soap operas including the American TV series, “Desperate Housewives,” and the Brazilian “Women in Love.” New Chinese buses are beginning to replace the old ones on Havana’s streets. The Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras just signed a new agreement to survey for oil in the Cuban sea. Canadian and Spanish investors are arriving with liquidity and interests. Two million tourists a year arrive in Cuba to spend their money. In Cuba, ironically, the American dollar is still a strong currency.

Those are real facts. The myth remains, however, that Cuba is an isolated and strategic island that threatens U.S. national security, because once upon a time it led two superpowers to the edge of a nuclear war. It is dangerous enough to be banned from OAS, World Bank, IMF, and IDB. All that belongs to the past. Today, Fidel Castro’s Cuba is only a shadow from this past of confrontation.

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February 14, 2008 9:09 AM

Love Still Infinite – While It Lasts

The Current Discussion: For Valentine’s Day, this question: What is the future of love?

A beloved Brazilian poet, one of the composers of the song “The Girl from Ipanema,” Vinicius de Moraes, wrote in one of his most beautiful sonnets that love cannot be immortal, because it is a flame; but it has to be infinite while it lasts.

This is the perfect recipe: lovers have to believe the sentiment is everlasting even if it lasts only a single night.

Some romantics are mourning the end of love. They are wrong. Yes, the duration of the sentiment seems to shorten each day, as some bonds emitted by some unreliable debtors. But who cares about duration, if we can have intensity? A brief love is not a sub-prime sentiment. Actually, love can be on the verge of another dimension of its existence.

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February 6, 2008 1:07 PM

China’s Rise to Disaster

The Current Discussion: China's on a resource-buying spree, most recently paying US$13 billion for a stake in an Australian mining company. Is this a threat to your nation and its economy? To the world's?

I could say yes, China is a threat, because the obvious target of this particular movement is to counter the global aspirations of Brazil’s largest mining company, Vale. China is right now challenging Vale on a bid to buy part of the U.K.-Swiss company Xstrata, another global and diversified mining company. The Brazilian Vale has already made an offer to buy Xstrata, and now China is announcing its interest in buying a 34-percent share of the company.

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January 23, 2008 1:53 PM

No Ordinary Sneeze

The Current Discussion: If countries around the world are doing so well economically, why are they still catching a cold when the United States sneezes?

Brazil is very proud of itself. For the first time, we remember we’re in a good position relative to the outside world: very low foreign debt, no outstanding foreign currency liabilities, and record high hard-currency reserves. Governmental authorities have assured us that the Brazilian economy is as shielded from outside turbulence as it has ever been. Thousands of middle-class Brazilians who have been hurt by the several financial crises of the 1990s invested their money in the stock market. In December alone, 100,000 new small investors made their debut in Brazil’s market. Despite good fundamentals and widespread optimism, the Brazilian Stock Exchange plunged into a free fall this Monday. To us, it seemed to be even more unfair because Americans were on their civic holiday, aloof to the turmoil of which their country was the epicenter. Actually the American people, especially the poor, have been bleeding since the beginning of the sub-prime crash.

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January 22, 2008 10:48 AM

There’s No Free (Prosperous) Lunch

The Current Discussion: In the future, global prosperity will present more of a threat than poverty, according to a recent Post op-ed. Is this just rich-American rhetoric, or is the world really getting too prosperous for its own good?

The basic dilemma is this: Should the world follow the United States’ pattern of consumption to raise its people’s standards of living? Or should the world, including the United States, look for another way of life?

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January 16, 2008 10:30 AM


The Current Discussion: Australians are voting online for a "Word of the Year" from a list of new words to be included in the dictionary: among the frontrunners, "Chindia", "globesity," and "password fatigue." Create your favorite new word of the year that tells us something about trends in your country.

Past-iology – noun; a political view entirely dominated by the past and incapable of looking ahead. A pathology spreading now in Latin America, spearheaded by the leader of the pastiologism: Hugo Chavez. To understand more about the syndrome, read the story below.

Oliver Stone parachuted into South America several weeks ago as if he was rescuing the Truth, captive in a new kind of Vietnam. He was welcomed by a man dressed in an olive green military jacket and a red beret. The famous film director then told the press what he was doing in the middle of the Venezuelan-Colombian jungle this Christmas Eve: he wanted to prove that a group that had kidnapped more than 700 people was, in fact, no more than “some peasants fighting for more decent lives”.

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PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send your comments, questions and suggestions for PostGlobal to Lauren Keane, its editor and producer.