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IMF Efforts to Privatize Brazil

March 18, 1999
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Brazil’s federal judges staged a one-day strike yesterday to protest allegations of corruption in the judiciary and a delay in raising their pay. At the same time, Brazilian president Fernando Enrique Cardozo announced his first overseas trip since the country plunged into a currency crisis this past January. Latin America’s largest economy has struggled to recover from the crisis and rebuild investor confidence, which some economists say is key to financial recovery. In his coming trip to Germany, Cardozo plans to court European investors.

Many in Brazil point to a larger problem in the economy than investor confidence; they cite inequality in land distribution and the need for extensive land reform. Five million families of landless workers in Brazil are entitled to land under the current Brazilian constitution. The World Bank is now proposing to create a $1 billion land bank that it says would support land reform, but critics, including members of the popular Movement of Rural Landless Workers, say that the privatization proposals by the World Bank offer a windfall to large landowners, while leaving peasants with high credit terms and no subsidies.

Guests:

  • Maiza Mendonza, from the Brazil program of the San Francisco-based human rights organization Global Exchange. Call (415)255-7296.
  • Rogerio Sochili, representative of the Brazilian Worker’s Party’s agricultural department.

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