Blame It on Sao Paulo

  • Share
  • Read Later
SAO PAULO: Brazilians -- at least some of them -- are ready for the knife. In gubernatorial elections in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and richest state, voters have reelected Gov. Mario Covas, a close ally of President Enrique Cardoso. That means the imminent implementation of Cardoso's own brutally honest reelection platform: more taxes, less spending and an IMF bailout that will make life tough on pretty much everybody.

Unsurprisingly, that message didn't play too well in the sticks; Cardoso allies lost at least six of the other 12 governorships in Sunday's vote. But TIME Latin America bureau chief Tim Padgett says that support from Covas should be enough: "Governors are very powerful in Brazil -- the states are where most federal money goes, and austerity measures have to start there." Since Sao Paulo is Brazil's industrial and financial powerhouse, any attack on Brazil's pervasive and gargantuan bureaucracy depends on Sao Paulo's cooperation. Let the cutting begin.