André Barcinski observes how the country has advanced economically:
In November, 2012, one new shopping mall was opened every three and a half days in São Paulo. Luxury stores such as Chanel, Bulgari, and Prada are always packed. Airports are also filled to capacity: in 2011, domestic plane passengers surpassed bus passengers for the first time. Last year, Brazilian tourists spent over twenty-one billion dollars overseas, a thirty per cent increase in comparison to 2010. It is no coincidence that the United States recently adopted measures to facilitate the issue of visas for Brazilians. For any Brazilian over twenty, this is big news. We used to spend endless hours in line at the American Consulate, begging for a visa. Now, they encourage us to go to the U.S. and spend our money.
He credits "social assistance programmes, huge discoveries of deep-water oil fields, the development of the ethanol industry and advances in agricultural technologies" for the improvements. But he fears that easy credit in the country will doom the country:
In June 2012, almost a third of all credit card holders in the country were at least 90 days late on their payments. Economists fear mass default.
(Photo: People watch fireworks along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on January 1, 2013, during celebrations by over three million people attending New Year's Eve festivities. By Ari Versiani/AFP/Getty Images)