by Catherine McBreen
I was in Brazil once. Two places...Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Rio is probably one of the most geographically beautiful places in the world. The mountains and the ocean. Just gorgeous. I am thrilled that the economy of Brazil is becoming stronger and that they are one of the strongest emerging nations. I want to visit again.
At the same time, the poverty was enormous. My visit was ten years ago and the number of individuals living in the flavas that surround the city was overwhelming. It was a little subculture within itself. There were little beauty parlors complete with hair dryers, mirrors and barber chairs sitting in these little huts. The crime was so bad that they told tourists to never wander alone but to take a cab from an approved company to ask for a tour. We did just that, and it was a wonderful tour. Hopefully the crime issues will be resolved before the 2016 Olympics.
Sao Paulo, on the other hand, was a really ugly overbuilt industrial city. It is one of the five largest cities in the world. I didn't know it existed until I visited there.
President Obama is visiting Brazil. I think that is a good thing. I believe the global economy will find Brazil to be an important participant in the future. The country is full of natural resources and great potential for tourism as well.
President Obama also pledged a $2 billion investment in the Brazil oil industry. I'm not so supportive of that. I think we should spend that money developing our own energy resources whatever they might be.....natural gas, wind power,......even (oh my gosh!) ..drilling in Alaska.
I wish Brazil the best. Humanitarian aid is important for countries that need it. Economic aid is important for developing countries....but isn't Brazil already doing OK without us?