Brazil on world stage Is eco­nomic, Olympic suc­cess be­ing eclipsed by Ze­laya flap?

The Washington Times Weekly - - International Perspective - BY LUIS VIEIRA

PORTO ALE­GRE, Brazil | To the out­side world, Brazil ap­pears on a roll.

In re­cent weeks, the coun­try has beaten out Spain, Ja­pan and the United States to be­come the venue for the 2016 Sum­mer Olympics — the first South Amer­i­can coun­try to host the games.

Brazil has taken an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant place in world eco­nomic de­lib­er­a­tions as a mem­ber of the Group of 20 in­dus­trial and de­vel­op­ing economies. Its do­mes­tic econ­omy ap­pears to be re­cov­er­ing from cri­sis faster than many oth­ers.

But Brazil’s de­ci­sion to give refuge Sept. 21 to the ousted pres­i­dent of Hon­duras, Manuel Ze­laya, in the Brazil­ian Em­bassy in that Cen­tral Amer­i­can na­tion has aroused con­tro­versy and con­cern about whether Brazil is act­ing on prin­ci­ple or try­ing to curry fa­vor with the other Latin power, Venezuela, whose pres­i­dent, Hugo Chavez, is a strong sup­porter of Mr. Ze­laya.

Peru­vian pun­dit Al­varo Var­gas Llosa said Brazil was help­ing Mr. Ze­laya to bol­ster its own stand­ing in the Amer­i­cas.

Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Luiz Ina­cio Lula da Silva has main­tained a dual “po­lit­i­cal-ide­o­log­i­cal per­sona dur­ing most of his term,” Mr. Var­gas Llosa said. While co­op­er­at­ing with Wash­ing­ton, “he has also kept an old Brazil­ian tra­di­tion of coun­ter­bal­anc­ing U.S. in­flu­ence in the re­gion and try­ing to emerge as a re­gional power.”

“He ob­vi­ously thinks the al­liance with the left helps him in

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IM­AGES

Ousted Hon­duran Pres­i­dent Manuel Ze­laya and his wife, Xiomara Cas­tro, have taken refuge at the Brazil­ian Em­bassy in Hon­duras.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Nearly 50,000 Brazil­ians cel­e­brate at Copaca­bana beach af­ter Rio de Janeiro was cho­sen Oct. 2 to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

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