It's been an incredibly interesting year to watch Brazil: from the protests to the NSA scandal, from new movies to new media. I've put together a list of some of the top posts from this year, including reader favorites, some issues that I covered before the international media, and interviews with important new Brazilian voices.
- Interview with Kleber Mendonça Filho: I spoke to the brilliant Recife-based director of Neighboring Sounds, a Brazilian movie that made a splash and could change the face of Brazilian cinema.
- Interview on Batalha do Passinho: I interviewed the director of a documentary on a dance style that developed in Rio's favelas, at a time when favela culture is starting to lose a bit of the longstanding stigma it's faced.
- Brazil's Tomato War: I covered food inflation that crept up earlier this year and made tomatoes particularly expensive. I later spoke with my favorite Brazilian economist, known as the Drunkeynesian, who accurately predicted that prices would soon stabilize.
- The Things Brazilians Buy in the United States: To illustrate the ongoing issue of the high costs of certain consumer goods in Brazil, I conducted an informal survey of Brazilian shopping requests from people visiting the States. The answers ranged from the expected (iPads) to the ridiculous (a boat anchor).
Social Development and Entrepreneurship
- Interview with René Silva: I spoke to the enigmatic founder of Voz da Comunidade, a newspaper in Rio's Complexo do Alemão favela, who is changing the face of social media and journalism in Brazil. I also spoke to two other inspiring young people who like Silva, participated in a new Brazil-U.S. exchange program.
- Imagina na Copa: I profiled the Brazilian organization started by four intrepid young people trying to turn the popular phrase "Imagine during the World Cup!" on its head by promoting different social projects from around the country before the mega-event begins.
Crime and Rule of Law
- The Amarildo Case and Rio's Pacification Strategy: I explored the numbers that show disappearances have gone up in Rio's "pacified" favelas as homicides fall--in the context of one of the most high-profile crimes in the city this year: the murder of a Rocinha favela resident by the police.
- Nine Questions on Brazilian Criminal Law: With lots of questions about the mensalão corruption trial, a new conviction in a complex homicide case, and how jail sentencing really works, I turned to three leading Brazilian attorneys.
- Interview with Alessandra Orofino: I talked to one of the co-founders of the Meu Rio, an organization trying to engage young Cariocas in public policy, just two months before the protests began. Her mission is to address some of the very same issues the demonstrators were protesting. Alessandra would go on to become one of the faces of the protesters, sought after by international media outlets.
- Brazil's Bus Fare Protests: More than 20 Cents: Once the protests began, I collected as many eyewitness accounts and reactions to the demonstrations and tried to piece things together. I also explored whether the protests would last, why the demonstrations were discomfiting at first, and what the protests would mean for Brazilian politics and the rest of Latin America.
- Brazil's Protests: A Resource Guide: As one of the first major protest movements since Brazil's redemocratization, it was also one of the first to be broadcast via social media and livestreaming. I put together a list of people, webcasts, blogs, and crowdsourced information to follow.
Journalism and Social Media
- Brazil's Midia Ninja and the Rise of Citizen Journalism: I interviewed one of the guys behind one of the biggest stars of the protests, Mídia Ninja. This group challenged traditional media and changed how the demonstrations were perceived.
- Brazil's Protests and the Journalism Debate: I examined some of the issues around journalism and media ethics and practices that developed as a result of protest coverage.
- Dilma's Comeback and Social Media: The president got back on social media this year as a direct result of the protests and ahead of the election year. I look at the hilarious way she kicked off the process.
From the Ground
- Behind the Protests: A Rio Commute: In the wake of the protests, I narrate a long Rio commute on public transportation. Bus fare increases were the initial spark for the demonstrations.
- Rio's Renaissance: Will Public Works Last? After visiting some of the new developments in the city, I wonder what will become of them after 2016.
- Rio's Airport Scam: I experiencied debit card fraud at an ATM in Rio's international airport, and I then discovered that it's a problem that's been happening for years.
- Brazil's Protests: Be Careful What You Wish For: The talented São Paulo-based journalist Juliana Cunha gave her perspective on the protests and how they developed.
Image: Rio's Corcovado. (Germania Rodriguez/Flickr)