Brazil has had a lot happening in the last few months.
Let’s see: There were the summer Olympics and, of course, the Paralympics.
Oh, yeah, and there was that little impeachment episode with Dilma Rousseff and the Petrobras scandal, followed closely by the arrest of the former speaker of the Congress, who just happened to have led the impeachment process against his nation’s president.
And then the new kid on the presidential block, Michel Temer, went to New York to defend the contentious and convoluted proceedings as having been conducted “with absolute respect for the constitutional order.”
Yes, the recent rollercoaster adventures of the world’s seventh-largest economy have been as thrilling and nail-bitingly intense as any telenovela.
But now the dust is finally beginning to settle, and it looks like Brazil might at long last be waddling its way out of the a one-way spiral into banana republic status and back to becoming a serious global economic player once again.
To begin with, unless Temer gets himself mucked in another classic Brazilian soap-operatic scandal, it seems that the largest country in South America may be in store for a long-awaited semblance of political stability, at least through 2018 (when his term ends).
Also, Temer has taken an aggressive hands-on approach to tackling Brazil’s out-of-control public spending by drafting a bill to reform the country’s pension system, stare down trade unions and revamp investment infrastructure, particularly ports, airports and highways.
He also is making headway in bridging dicey partisan ravines and ending congressional gridlock.
More importantly, under Temer, Brazil is openly courting global markets, particularly in Europe and the United States, a major turnaround for a country that had for the last decade been seen as having a closed economy.
All of this is not to say that Temer will not have his work cut out for him.
Brazil is still reeling from the Rousseff impeachment and there are more than a few Brazilians who question his legitimacy as president.
But Temer certainly has made a good start, and after the last year of hellish political theater, Brazil definitely needs that.
Thérèse Margolis can be reached at [email protected]