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  • Author: Françoise Montambeault, Graciela Ducatenzeiler
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Politics in Latin America
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: After two successive presidential terms, the leader of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) – the Workers' Party – Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, left office in 2011.1 After his first electoral victory in 2002, many observers of the Brazilian political arena expected a radical shift in the country's public policies towards the left. These expectations were rapidly toned down by the moderate nature of the policies and changes implemented under Lula's first government. Notwithstanding, Lula has succeeded in becoming one of the most popular presidents in Brazilian history and, by the end of his second term, about 90 percent of the population approved of his presidency. He attracted a large consensus among leftist forces in favor of market policies, which were accompanied by an important rise in the minimum wage and pension, as well as the expansion of social policies like his flagship program Bolsa Família. Some of his opponents grew to trust him as he tightened fiscal policy and repaid external debt. His government promoted growth through the adoption of economic measures that supported productive investments, including investorfriendly policies and partnerships between the public and private sectors. At the end of his second term, poverty and inequality had been significantly reduced, which had effects not only on wealth distribution, but also on growth by increasing domestic demand. Lula's Brazil also gained international recognition and approbation, becoming an emerging international actor and without a doubt a leader in Latin America.
  • Topic: Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Philip Kitzberger
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of government strategies vis-à-vis dominant media actors in the Latin American context, where the media's role in democratic politics is increasingly being questioned. It compares the first two Kirchnerist presidencies in Argentina with the first two Workers' Party-led governments in Brazil. While these governments initially adopted accommodation strategies towards media organisations, political crises subsequently disturbed the fragile coexistence of media and government, triggering divergent strategic responses that require explanation. Using accounts relying on ideological preferences, the study establishes the importance of environmental factors and critical junctures as determinants of governments' strategic options. Significant differences in the institutional configurations and articulations of media interests in the two countries are found to be relevant. However, the study shows that such constraints do not tell the whole story. Consequently, the analysis also focuses on how certain junctures affect government perceptions of media power and, in turn, inform governments' strategic stances.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America