Brazil's rise attributed to growing middle class

Panelists at the Americas Conference said Tuesday that Brazil is finally coming into its own as an emerging power.

Not only will it be host to the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, but its economy is growing briskly as its middle class increases.

But Brazil hasn't always been a model, said Larry Rohter, a New York Times reporter and author of the newly released book "Brazil: A Rising Power." Even though it has long been touted as the country of the future, "no matter what Brazil did, it always seemed to fall short of the prophecy," he said.

It is only in the last 16 years that Brazil has emerged as a model of political and economic stability, Rohter said.

Jeanine Pires, director of Brazil 2016 -- an organization that is helping coordinate preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, pointed out that today about 103 million Brazilians fall into the middle class. By 2014, that number is expected to climb to 130 million, or around 56 percent of the population.

She attributed Brazil's recent economic success to "domestic market dynamism," public investment and redistribution of income.

Indeed, Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, said Brazil faces many of the same challenges as the rest of Latin America -- although he said he believes Brazil has the capacity to deal with them.

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