You would have to be blind to fail to observe that Brazil has taken off like a rocket on the world stage. Following twenty years of military dictatorship and a turbulent economy, Brazil has roared its way into the 21st century, charting an impressive course in politics and diplomacy, economics and finance, culture, and sports and entertainment.

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Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff with Barack ObamaFollowing Brazil's fifth world cup win in 2002, Brazil received incredible news in 2007 when it was chosen to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for the first time in over 60 years. In the world of geopolitics Brazil has emerged as the de facto leader of Latin America, and while still maintaining a fairly close relationship with regional heavyweight the United States, it has sought to exert a bit of regional hegemony of its own.
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=> Under the two-term presidency of wildly popular Lula da Silva, Brazil experienced a decade of solid and steady economic growth, and paid off all its foreign debt.

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Brazil: The New Regional Power
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Following the 1964-1984 military dictatorship the return to civilian government and democratic institutions was first arduous and tentative. Economic growth brought with it inflation which reached other-worldly proportions of 5,000% annually in 1993. The 1994 introduction of the new real, pegged to the US dollar, brought stability and sustained growth. President Lula, who was regarded as too liberal by many in the business community, famously pledged to honor all of Brazil's foreign debts, and Brazil repaid its $15 billion debt to the IMF in 2005 well ahead of time. In 2008 Brazil became a net creditor, as opposed to debtor, for the first time in its history, and in 2009 the real was the best-performing currency in the world, rallying over 100% against the US dollar since the beginning of Lula's tenure in 2003.

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Brazil is known in the world for its own economic miracle, and its remarkable economic self-sufficiency. It has also taken significant steps towards thoughtful environmental and infrastructure policies. As Brazil's economic clout has grown markedly, Brazil has charted a fairly moderate and modest course on the geopolitical stage, maintaining good relations with all of its neighbors from Venezuela and its Hugo Chavez-led "Bolivariano" revolution, to the more conservative governments of Chile and Colombia. Brazil is now extensively involved in the economic development of the region, and has emerged as something of another polar influence as a counterpart to the United States and its traditional economic and geopolitical influence in the Americas.

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Towards the Future
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The Roaring Real

With the estimated 500,000 visitors for the World Cup in 2014 and potentially even more for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Brazil is hard at work making improvements in its transportation, tourism, and infrastructure sectors. Although Brazil has already emerged as a major actor on the global stage, this two year period in the near future is sure to be Brazil's grand moment in the sun.
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=> With a solidly democratic government, a strong and stable economy that well-weathered the global economic recession, and a vibrant cultural and sports life, Brazil is certain to chart an incredible trajectory through the 21st century.
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