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CLARIN

Brazil Recession Starts To Weigh On Neighbors

Good times and bad times seep across Latin American borders, as Brazil's economic crisis begins to slows exports and manufacturing in neighbors like Argentina.

Anti-government protests last month in Sao Paulo
Anti-government protests last month in Sao Paulo
Pablo Maas

BUENOS AIRES — Recession for Brazil — a giant economy and huge market — will not leave its neighbors unaffected. For starters, other Latin American countries export goods to the nation of 200 million.

Brazil's GDP is already 2.6% lower than in the second half of 2014, even if observers are a little baffled by the speed and depth of its downturn. Only three years ago, the mood in Latin America's BRICS nation was one of euphoria.

Now, observers see several likely reasons for recession in Brazil, including slowing demand in its own export markets — notably, China — and ongoing corruption scandals that are unsettling institutional life and investment prospects. The country may even face a credit downgrade that would raise the cost of loans.

As a strategic member of regional trading association Mercosur, any weakness in Brazil can only highlight the dependence of partners like Argentina; for months now, exporters of products like fruit and wine have been feeling the chill of reduced demand in Brazil. The impact on car manufacturing is also becoming evident. Days ago, union sources revealed that General Motors would pause production at its plant in Rosario, northwest of Buenos Aires, every Monday in September.

Fiat took similar steps earlier in Córdoba in northern Argentina. Not for the first time, the continent's big economies face problems simultaneously, but they may not be resolved via private contacts of corporate VIPs anymore, or at summits of ministers and presidents that had showed increasing political and economic closeness over the past decade.

So now, Brazil's incipient recession is coinciding with a power transition in Argentina. As Dilma Rousseff struggles into a choppy second presidential term, candidates in Buenos Aires are jostling to succeed Cristina Kirchner at the presidential palace. A new working relationship will have to be forged to help lift the economic fortunes of both countries.

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Society

Papá, Papá, On Repeat: Are We Men Ready For Fatherhood To Change Our Lives?

There is a moment on Saturday or Sunday, after having spent ten hours with my kids, that I get a little exasperated, I lose my patience. I find it hard to identify the emotion, I definitely feel some guilt too. I know that time alone with them improves our relationship... but I get bored! Yes, I feel bored. I want some time in the car for them to talk to each other while I can talk about the stupid things we adults talk about.

A baby builds stack of blocks

Ignacio Pereyra*

This is what a friend tells me. He tends to spend several weekends alone with his two children and prefers to make plans with other people instead of being alone with them. As I listened to him, I immediately remembered my long days with Lorenzo, my son, now three-and-a-half years old. I thought especially of the first two-and-a-half years of his life, when he hardly went to daycare (thanks, COVID!) and we’d spend the whole day together.

It also reminded me of a question I often ask myself in moments of boredom — which I had virtually ignored in my life before becoming a father: how willing are we men to let fatherhood change our lives?

It is clear that the routines and habits of a couple change completely when they have children, although we also know that this rarely happens equally.

With the arrival of a child, men continue to work as much or more than before, while women face a different reality: either they double their working day — maintaining a paid job but adding household and care tasks — or they are forced to abandon all or part of their paid work to devote themselves to caregiving.

In other words, "the arrival of a child tends to strengthen the role of economic provider in men (...), while women reinforce their role as caregivers," says an extensive Equimundo report on Latin America and the Caribbean, highlighting a trend that repeats itself in most Western countries.

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