The BRIC states continue to be a major subject of discussion and are understood to be important if not crucial drivers of global trade. An ITJ correspondent visited Brazil within the framework of the first transatlantic flight of Varig from Zurich to Rio. Varig had taken over the international route rights to Brazil from Panair do Brasil in 1965.
The occasion of a correspondent’s visit to Brazil was the transatlantic connection of Varig between Zurich and Rio de Janeiro, which was topped off after a stop-over in Recife with a connecting flight to São Paulo.
The economic vibrancy of the subcontinent of Brazil was clear as early as in 1967. Already at the start, it is explained that an aircraft takes off every thirty minutes «within the framework of the Ponte Aéra» on the flight routes from Rio or São Paulo to New York or Washington.
In addition, reference is made to the growing commercial and industrial centre of São Paulo, which is emphasised as the «Chicago of South America», as a centre of the expanding industrialisation. Observers note the «vast industrial districts of the chemical or pharmaceutical industries» as well as major tractor and textile plants. The heavy industry has given this location rampant growth, which is now also seeing a very first push towards diversification. The country has moved on from being a pure exporter of commodities such as rubber, sugar cane or wood as well as precious metals, but also foods, to a «more varied utilisation of the existing resources».
The journey towards the gradual integration in the global economy was, however, yet to start for the BRIC country of today. In the 1960s, there was still an ideal of economic self-reliance – cars, Nescafé or Whisky were produced in the country itself in order to avoid imports and currency outflows. It is also noted that coffee still made up 60% of Brazil’s exports at that time. This era in Brazil, today referred to as «pragmatic nationalism», is a matter of the past.
The foundation of today’s success was, however, laid in these years and, after initial beginnings in this period, the flow of foreign investments into the country located at the foot of the sugar loaf mountain hit an initial climax in the following 1970s. However, as Reuters informs in January 2014, at USD 6.8 billion (EUR 4.9 billion) Brazil received lower foreign investment than its national deficit (USD 8.7 billion / EUR 6.3 billion) for the first time in the year 2013.
But anyone wanting to dive deeper into the mentality of Brazilians was recommended already back in the 1960s to at least have «rudimentary knowledge of the language». The reason for this is that in the most beautiful country in the world with the most beautiful language, and as becomes clear even today from Brazilians’ common understanding of themselves and is also confirmed by the proverbial hospitality detailed in the report, one truth has remained to this date: «Deus es Brasileiro – God is Brazilian.»