International Executives in High Demand in Brazil

“Headhunters in São Paulo, the southern hemisphere’s most populous city, say foreign executives used to come to Brazil, if they came at all, to get a few years of managerial experience they could parlay into a move somewhere more important. But now Brazil is the destination — especially now that salaries exceed what’s on offer in the developed world,” says Time.

“A recent study by the Dasein Executive Search firm found that CEOs in São Paulo today earn an average annual salary of $620,000, more than their counterparts in New York ($574,000), London ($550,000) or Hong Kong ($242,000).

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Brazil’s Emerging Class of Consumers

“Across Brazil, multinationals and foreign investors are competing with domestic companies in a bid to capture the wallets of Brazil’s emerging new middle class. Known as the Classe C, these are working-class and lower middle-class people who not long ago were stuck in the ‘D’ and ‘E’ classes,” says The Financial Times.

“Now, thanks to increases in the minimum wage, government social welfare transfers and Brazil’s growing economy, they are emerging from the favelas and the periferia – the impoverished peripheries – of Brazil’s large cities to find themselves at the centre of the country’s remarkable resurgence. Since 2003, more than 30m people have risen out of poverty in Brazil, swelling the ranks of the middle – those earning between R$1,200 ($699) and R$5,174 per month, per household – to about 105.5m in a population of about 190m.

“The creation of this fresh crop of consumers is leading to the emergence of new companies and even new industries across a range of sectors, from telecommunications, housing, consumer goods and education to travel and entertainment. Groups, backed by an array of foreign investors, are queueing up to give them what they want.

“Whatever strategy they use, most companies now realise that the one area of Brazil they used to ignore – the favelas – is exactly where they now need to be. As [a] security guard who lives in Pavãozinho Cantagalo in Rio, puts it, this is a trend that is not going to go away.

“It’s not just about the Olympics and stuff like that. This time it seems that this is for real – things are really changing.”

Brazil Beckons Skilled Foreigners

The Washington Post adds to the heavy coverage of the brain drain to Brazil: “With an economy that recently surpassed Britain’s to become the world’s sixth largest, Brazil is offering a sunny and often lucrative alternative to the downcast prospects in the United States and Europe. In a sort of reverse brain drain, foreigners are flocking to Brazil.

“The number of foreigners residing in Brazil reached nearly 1.5 million last year, up from 961,000 in 2010 … Americans have led the way, with 7,550 receiving work permits in 2010. In addition, 2 million Brazilians who had been living overseas have returned home since 2005.

“Despite the formidable red tape for foreign workers, this country of 194 million has an increasingly diverse economy with room for those in finance, engineering, Web design, petro-engineering and other highly technical professions.

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Many of Brazil’s Poor Left Behind in Growth Spurt

“Over the last few years, the Brazilian economy has powered forward, pulling tens of millions out of poverty and creating a new middle class. Indeed, just across the well-paved street from the wreckage of [the Pinheirinho favela violent raided and bulldozed by the police] is a strip mall that would be recognizable in Southern California,” says The Los Angeles Times.

“Nearby São Paulo is now the most expensive city in the Western Hemisphere, surpassing New York and London.

“Yet GDP per capita is still about a fourth of that in the United States. The minimum wage is less than $400 a month. And the violent razing of the Pinheirinho settlement — seemingly to the benefit of real estate investors in São Jose dos Campos, a middle-class suburb — brought a storm of criticism that some of the poor and marginalized are being cast aside in the race to profit from growth.

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A Bewildering Online Hit, Now Brazil’s Newest Star

Dom Phillips at Bloomberg News recounts “the surreal case of Luiza Rabello. The 17-year-old student was on an exchange program in Canada when her father Gerardo Rabello, a gossip columnist and television presenter in the city of João Pessoa, recorded a local television commercial for a luxury condominium development.

“In the advert … Rabello describes the wonders of the apartments up for sale as the camera sweeps over them. Then he’s shown sitting in an armchair … He says, gesturing toward his relatives seated around him:

“That’s why I insisted on getting the whole family together, except for Luiza, who is in Canada.”

“The camera zooms in on a framed photograph of his absent daughter, on a table next to him.”

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Poor Communities in Rio Destroyed in Preparation for Olympics, World Cup

“Rio de Janeiro is giving [Maracanã, its flagship stadium] a $63.2 million facelift as it prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Maracanã will be the jewel crowning both events, with the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and the final World Cup matches held within its storied blue and gray walls,” reports AP.

“[Neighboring] Favela do Metro does not fit in that picture. It’s being bulldozed; hundreds of families have been bought out as part of a “revitalization” process for the big events and the hordes of foreigners they will draw.

Says one evicted resident:

“They’re destroying our neighborhood for a game.”

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Brazil’s World Cup Preparations Hit by More Strikes

“Construction workers’ strikes at Brazil’s World Cup venues continue to plague preparations for the 2014 showpiece with the northeastern city of Salvador hit by a stoppage in demand of improved wages on Wednesday,” reports Reuters.

“FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke praised Salvador on their preparations only two weeks ago on a tour of Brazil, but workers are unhappy with deals made between venue cities and the consortiums building or refurbishing World Cup stadiums.

“In Recife, another World Cup host city in the state of Pernambuco, workers have been on strike for a week despite the building consortium’s claims that wages are up to date as agreed by both parties and that annual pay negotiations are not due until August.

“Meetings between workers’ leaders and consortium managers have failed to reach agreement.”

Land Dispute Highlights Race Argument in Brazil

The Economist profiles Brazil’s quilombolas who are “descended from groups of runaway slaves who founded settlements, or quilombos, deep in the forests. Most still live in the countryside, farming rice, bananas and other staples, but increasing numbers now live in towns. In the 1988 constitution, drawn up after the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship (exactly a century after slavery was abolished), the quilombolas were granted special guarantees to the title on their land, in recognition of their ancestors’ suffering.

“These rights were amplified in a decree from President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003. A bill that would, among other things, solidify their land claims has passed in Brazil’s lower house and is now in the Senate.

“The land affected by the law .. amounts to 2.5m acres … so its progress is of concern to Congress’s rural landowners’ block and to property developers,” two groups that wield disproportionate influence in Brazilian politics.

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Olympics Spur Rio Golf Course Design Competition

“By the end of next week, after months of jockeying, a winner will be chosen in a world-wide competition to create the course that the world’s elite golfers will play at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

“One of Rio’s pitch points in pursuing the Olympics was that all of the sporting venues would be within the city limits. Back in the mid-2000s, when Rio began putting its bid together, golf wasn’t part of the bargain. But two weeks after it won the games in late 2009, golf was voted in. Suddenly Rio had to come up with a suitable venue, just as it had to provide a new velodrome for cycling and a new beach-volleyball stadium.

“Rio already had two courses, both private and dating back to the 1920s and ’30s, but neither was deemed suitable. So an undeveloped site was identified only three miles from the planned Olympic village. The acreage doesn’t exactly shout “Fore!” The lower part is a mangrove forest and the rest has only modest elevation changes. But it abuts a lagoon only a few hundred yards from the coast and is on sandy soil, which facilitates drainage and reduces construction costs.”

Rescue Work Continues on Collapsed Rio Buildings

“The death toll in the multiple building collapse on Wednesday night in Rio de Janeiro’s [historic Centro area] remains at six, according to the Medical-Legal Institute (IML). A Globo TV report early Friday morning lists the number of people missing at 27 in total,” says The Rio Times.

“Investigations into the cause of the accident have not yet been completed. Reports indicate the most likely suspect is a renovation effort being made on one of the floors of the tallest building which collapsed, setting off a chain reaction.

“The current assessment is that the renovation, which occurred two months ago, led to the withdrawal of support beams weakening the structure of the building.”