Brazil is set to host both the 2014 football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games and with abundant natural resources and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, one way or another Brazil is set to become a major player in the affairs of the 21st century.
With an ambitious, progressive government, a population of around 193 million, now well established federal democratic structures and apparent political stability, many even see it as a global superpower in the making, perhaps even deserving of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council in the not too distant future.
But Brazil’s international reputation has not always been so glossy. Between 1964 and 1985, Brazil was ruled by a military regime that was frequently accused, both at home and abroad, of serious human rights abuses.
Those were the dark days when many of the government’s left-wing political opponents, often at the behest of the US, were suppressed, when the aspirations of its indigenous people were generally ignored and when economic mismanagement and widespread corruption, still something of a problem today, hindered the country’s development.
A lot has been done since to remedy those problems, but for the country to confidently take up its place on the world stage in this century, it needs to deal with the legacy of the last, especially with regard to the savage political repression that was such a dominant theme of the 1970s.
Can Brazil shake off the murky past of its security forces as it attempts to cement its place as a 21st century power?