The collision that brought down the GOL plane recently was a big black eye for the government. Most Brasilians were confident that their ATC system was first-rate. Now they're not so sure. Their first reaction to the collision was to blame the pilots of the business jet. This was, of course, brought about by the totally biased media coverage of the accident. The fact that the government has been holding the flight crew for this long is evidence that they (the government) are determined to find something - anything - to pin the blame on them. Meanwhile, I understand that the crew is living a life of luxury confined to one of the finest hotels in the country. The papers have been filled with pictures and articles designed to enflame public opinion against them. The Brasilian economy seens to be extremely robust. The Japanese and other Asians have been making substantial investments in Brasil in all sectors of their economy. The country is almost (with help from Venezuela) energy self-sufficient. The agriculture sector is extremely strong. The best sign that the government is intent on reducing unemployment is the fact that there is a program to encourage better education throughout the country. Mothers are being paid to make sure their children are in school. This is important because the educational system in Brasil, such that it was, has long been one of the worst in the developing world. The currency, which crashed just before Lula was elected to his first term, has rebounded very strongly since then. Lula was viewed as a socialist but has turned out to be very much pro-business. He's had his share of scandals which almost cost him a second term, but the situation seems to be improving. Of course, Brasil will always have an embedded culture of corruption as does all of South and Central America. When Lula was first elected he was one of the most leftist leaning heads of state in South America. Now, with elections in Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, etc., Lula is looking more and more like a rightist by comparison. Make no mistake, the far left electoral victories is the direct result of a backlash against the Bush administration. Look at what has happened to nearly every candidate who was favored by the Bush administration. They have gone down in defeat to the leftist. The only exception I can think of was Mexico, and in that case the U.S. probably rigged the election with help from Kark Rove. Anti-American feelings are now stronger than they have been in decades. That will continue to worsen as long as the U.S. continues to try to corrupt their elections and strong-arm their governments. American policy in South America has been a disaster for our self interest. What else is new? It has been a disaster around the world.
Skinz I really appreciate your insightful post. I had no idea how much the media is trying to blame the pilots as opposed to the air traffic system.
from what you said it is great to hear about the robust economy (self-sufficient energy and low unemployment is music to my ears) so it seems the booming airline industry there should have the foundation in place to grow 15% next year (as i keep reading everywhere)
but my concern comes from having learned that the gov/military controls all brazilian air traffic. Your feedback reassures me that this pro-biz gov will likely fix these problems but why not privatize?
The news I get is conveyed by my friend who lives in Salvador. In fact, most of what she sends me is in portuguese. She does the translating... I speak hardly any portuguese myself. You're right about the military controlling all the ATC in Brasil. They consider that their sacred territory and will be extremely reluctant to give it up. If the final determination is that they screwed up and thereby caused the collision, I'm pretty sure the whole investigation will be covered up and buried along with the victims. My main reason for owning GOL is that Brasil is a country with an extremely poor transportation infrastructure. Railroads are almost non-existant, and highways are not nearly up to the standards that we expect here. Therefore, the best way to travel more than a few miles is by air. My friend usually uses TAM (she used to use Varig almost exclusively) for travel between cities. Her first trip on GOL will be in a few weeks to go from Salvador to Recife. The fare on TAM is about R$1000 and about R$400 on GOL.
Latin America can't be trusted. Neither can IBM or Dilliards. We invest anyway. I believe they will muddle through this and eventually get their air traffic control system straight, or straight enough. The US pilots, who were appraently innocent, have been released, and I would think the abuse of them for political purposes is about over. I don't expect a major or persistent drop in air travel on GOL, and the stock price is going back up now. To imply that the area south of the Rio Grande is politically unstable and irrational and dishonest is simply old news. To state that we caused it is to admit that somewhere between your start and the finishof your message you stuck your head up your rear end.