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

January 2008 Archives

January 4, 2008 1:44 PM

Dear Candidate: Latin America Isn’t One Country

The Question: The U.S. starts to choose a president this week. If you could send the candidates one message, what would it be?

Congratulations, candidate. You are already better than the president you are about to replace. Whoever you are, whatever you believe, you will inaugurate a new era with less fundamentalism in national security issues, with more responsibility toward environmental issues, with stronger multilateralism, with more empathy to other nations’ people. You are lucky. It will be easy to be wiser than the man in charge now.

“Change” should be your key word. This word, by the way, doesn’t belong to only one candidate. Things have to change in many ways, in many areas, for many reasons. Make a fair endeavor to be more cooperative in the international arena. On climate change issues, accept some responsibility for making a difference when analysts confront the old and new American commitments in the global arena. By coincidence – or luck – your power will coincide with the world’s negotiations toward a post-Kyoto agreement. You will be in the right place, in the right moment, to lead the process that will safeguard our lives on the planet.

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January 10, 2008 11:32 AM

Stop Tribal Manipulation

The Current Discussion: The slaughter last week of Kikuyus and Luos in Kenya reminded us that this is a world of tribes. How should wise governments deal with the reality of tribal loyalties and tribal violence?

Africa is booming. The economy of the whole continent is growing, Zimbabwe being the only exception. There are some amazing figures, such as Angola’s high GDP growth. There are more African countries growing faster than the world average than there are those growing slower. Why do conflicts like the one in Kenya arise in the middle of such a great outlook? Kenya’s GDP, by the way, has been rising by 6.5% a year.

It would be easy to say that Kenya was the oasis of Africa and that for no reason, all of a sudden, its citizens started fighting each other. It would confirm the stereotype of Africa as a savage, uncivilized land. However, this tragedy has deep roots in both African and Kenyan history.

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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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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 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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