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When I read that headline, Small Earthquake in Brazil’s Planalto, in today’s Financial Times I thought people in the capital were worrying about books falling from shelves and coffee spilling over.
It turns out that the FT editorial was metaphorical rather than literal.
The paper lauded the earlywork of President Dilma Rousseff for making her own mark on government, paticularly in the fields of human rights and the economy.
Rousseff was Lula’s pic and many thought she might be Lula in a skirt. But the FT cheerily noted:
“Ms Rousseff has broken with her predecessor’s policies in a number of encouraging ways. One of the least appealing aspects of Mr Lula da Silva’s presidency was his cosying up to Iran, and his refusal to speak out about human rights abuses there. This posture made cordial relations with the US difficult. Ms Rousseff is reversing his stance. She rightly criticised the refusal of her predecessor’s government to join a UN resolution to condemn stoning in Iran.”
The FT also praised Rousseff for making more spending cuts but it warned these are early days and there is much to do, such as reform Brazil’s ridiculously complex tax code, boost the savings rate and prevent inflation and interest rates spiralling out of control.
The overall verdicton her first month was positive.
“Ms Rousseff has made a sound start,” the paper said. “The panic that greeted Mr Lula da Silva’s inauguration proved largely misplaced. If Ms Rousseff continues as she has started, she will confound the doubters as well.”
Amen to that.