BRAZIL: The Builder

After President Juscelino Kubitschek made José Maria Alkmim his Finance Minister 28 months ago, Brazil's economic position steadily slipped. The cruzeiro free rate dropped from 70 to 147 to the dollar. A 14 million-bag mountain of surplus coffee piled up, and so did the balance of payments deficit. The U.S. promised help —provided something was done about the fiscal chaos. Last week Kubitschek replaced Alkmim with Lucas Lopes, a brilliant engineer who masterminded Kubitschek's ambitious development plan.

It took political courage for Kubitschek to make the switch. Alkmim's policy of holding coffee off the market to exact higher prices succeeded...

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