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From Rohter to Romero | Pra Inglês Ver


«Brazil from the point of view of a reporter from the world’s most influential newspaper.»


Yes, but is Rohter one of the most influential reporters of the world’s most influential newspaper? Rohter was last spotted handicapping the foreign film category for the Oscars, in a December 1 posting to the Times Web site.

Simon Romero of the New York Times, recently feted as a Latin American expert is a clear-headed, workmanlike, relatively independent voice whose news judgment is demonstrated again today with a story on the fiscal woes of the Brazilian government.

Simon joined the paper in 1999 as a contract writer in São Paulo, Brazil, where he covered economic issues and was based there until 2000.

Unlike his forebear, Larry Rohter — who very nearly got himself kicked out of the country, although he has family in the Southern Zone of Rio — Romero consults a variety of sources and opinions and avoids scandalizing. Rohter would habitually — brazenly — consult with the writers of Veja magazine and their extensive brain-slug trust. In a memorable TV appearance to plug his book, Rohter assumed the martyr’s role, urged Brazilians to “follow the money,” and asked “What did Lula know, and when did he know it?” during the «PT Payola» scandal.

Rohter appears to remain a psychological warrior who used his Times credential for anamnesis, or appeal to authority. Somewhere here I have a grip and grin photo of Rohter with one of those cultural attaché types in Paraguay. Things have not changed much since the publication of Carl Bernstein’s essay «How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up» (Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977)

Rohter’s Deu no New York Times is a 2008 Portuguese-language compendium of the reporter’s reporting on Brazil which plays on the Brazilian syndrome of para  inglês ver — hypersensitivity to what other countries think of Brazil. As Kenneth Maxwell has written,

One of the weirdest things about Brazilian journalism is the fact that it still gives credence to what U.S. newspapers, and especially the New York Times, have to say about this country.”Kenneth Maxwell, in an op-ed in the Folha de S. Paulo.

Simon Romero became the Brazil bureau chief for The New York Times in November 2011. In this role, Mr. Romero covers Brazil and several other countries in South America, including Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Bheefore beginning this assignment, Mr. Romero was Andean bureau chief from 2006 to 2011, based in Caracas, Venezuela, where he wrote extensively on a broad range of issues, including President Hugo Chávez’s political movement, Colombia’s long internal war and indigenous politics in Bolivia.

According to Romero,

Scandals over corruption and impunity weigh on Brazil’s Congress. Nearly 40 percent of its 594 members are facing charges of one type or another, according to Congresso em Foco, a congressional monitoring group. Still, few lawmakers ever go to jail because of the special judicial standing they enjoy, allowing their cases to be tried only in the Supreme Federal Tribunal, producing years of delays.

In the current «Toucan payola» case, the defendants were separated by category — lawmaker or layman — and tried in separate venues. In the «PT payola» case, all the 40 defendants were tried en masse in the plenary session of the Supreme Court.

Then there is the raise, which would take legislative pay to $187,000 in a country where gross national income per capita is about $11,690 a year. Congress’s move to raise salaries beyond those paid to legislators in richer countries has raised doubts about whether Brazil can rein in spending.

Romero reports today on the recent Uruguayan elections.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Uruguayan voters elected Tabaré Vázquez as president on Sunday in a show of support for the leftist coalition that has governed the country over the last decade, presiding over robust economic growth and a pioneering set of socially liberal laws, including a state-controlled marijuana market.

Dr. Vázquez, 74, an oncologist and former president from 2005-10, defeated Luis Lacalle Pou, 41, a leader of the conservative National Party who had vowed to scale back the legalization of marijuana in the small country of 3.4 million people. Mr. Lacalle Pou called Dr. Vázquez on Sunday night to congratulate him after several unofficial exit polls showed Dr. Vázquez winning by a comfortable margin. Official results are expected on Monday.