BRAZIL: Tottering on the Brink


After several years of economic boom and being seen as a rising power, Brazil is now in the midst of a severe political and economic meltdown. Elizabeth McKenna examines how this happened.

There’s a longstanding joke about the year 2015 in Brazil. Customarily, if a national holiday falls on a Tuesday, Brazilians will “enforcar” Monday. The word enforcar literally translates as “to hang” or “to strangle,” but figuratively, it means to treat any day between a weekend and a holiday as a day off. In 2016, September 7 – Brazil’s Independence Day – falls on a Wednesday. Thanks to the logic of enforcamento, some students, workers, and bosses will happily justify skipping out on two days of work or more.

Elizabeth McKenna
Publication date: 
August 19, 2015
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article