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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May, 2005, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Brazil: The Gentle Giant Awakes
First broadcast May 2005
In the 21st century, Brazil is starting to become a power in the world. Sue Branford looks at what happens when a developing country achieves political stability and steady economic growth.

How does it manage to make sure that development brings real benefits to as many as possible, and how does it compete with the rest of the world?

Part 1: Social movements

Sue starts off in Redenção, which at the time of her first visit in 1974 was a tiny hamlet of a few dozen houses, immersed in dense tropical forest.

She finds that today it has grown into a bustling town of some 80,000 inhabitants, surrounded by large cattle ranches. Only small fragments of forest remain.

Cattle farming and mining are helping to fuel economic growth. And, along with economic expansion, has come political stability.

Brazil today has a flourishing democracy, a far cry from the military repression of the 1970s.

In 2002 Brazilians elected their first working-class president, the former industrial worker Lula, who is trying gradually to put an end to the country's severe social problems, particularly its poverty and its marked social inequalities.

Social movements, particularly Brazil's one-million-strong landless movement, the Movimento dos Sem-Terra (MST), believe that Lula is moving far too slowly.

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