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Brazil: Harvard Professor and Central Bank Chief Leave Lula’s Administration

Lula and Mangabeira Unger Brazil's presidential advisor Roberto Mangabeira Unger and the chief of the Brazilian Central Bank (BC), Henrique Meirelles, will be leaving the Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's administration in the coming months. Unger, who was US president Obama's professor, is returning to his post in Harvard University. Meirelles intends to run for governor of Goiás state, in the Brazilian Midwest.

Both have played crucial roles in Lula's government. The Brazilian president confirmed this Monday, June 29, that Mangabeira Unger will resume his teaching career at Harvard University.

Press reports in recent days indicated that Mangabeira Unger was likely to resign his post advising President Lula da Silva on long-term economic planning. Under Harvard University rules, Mangabeira Unger was eligible for a leave-of-absence of no more than two years. The two-year period lapses in August.

Since 2007, Mangabeira Unger has been advising Lula on issues such as long-term energy and food security, foreign trade and investment. A Brazilian citizen, author and sometimes political activist, Mangabeira Unger is a tenured professor at Harvard Law School.

Meantime the Brazilian financial magazine Valor Econômico reported in its latest edition that Brazilian Central Bank President Henrique Meirelles will leave his post in March to run for governor of the farm state of Goiás. Allegedly Lula has already authorized Meirelles's departure for March, the newspaper reported, citing a close adviser presidential source.

Meirelles assumed the central bank presidency in January 2003, after more than a decade serving in key posts at BankBoston and enjoying a high degree of prestige among both domestic and international financial market participants.

Meirelles was appointed to the central bank post by Lula and is the only central bank president to serve under his administration. As a respected international banker, Meirelles played a crucial role in alleviating market fears that the Lula administration would take a populist outlook in economic policy.

Under Meirelles' orthodox tenure, Brazil's central bank has gradually cut the benchmark Selic interest rate to its lowest level ever, 9.25%, while inflation remains under control. When Meirelles assumed the post, the Selic rate was 25%.

In the meantime, inflation, which reached 9.3% in 2003, last year ended at 5.9% and is expected to dip below 5% this year.



  • Show Comments (3)

  • Epsilon Eridani

    Talent Retention issues
    The utter inability of retaining capable, honest, and competent resources must represent an unwieldy and disheartening chore, primarily within societies where ineptitude, fraud, and carelessness runs amok. As a result, any principled, logical individual would hardly be astounded when announcements of such kind are broadcast.

    Nevertheless, one should endeavor to keep in mind that such unfavorable, ill-fated condition is hardly limited any single government of this unreasonable, unjust and callous world.

  • João da Silva

    Mr.Unger was one of the least known Ministers in Brasil, mainly because the public did not know what his exact task was. Besides, he was talking a different “language” from that used by the traditional politicians and the press either made fun of or ignored him. However, I have heard him over the radio and he does make lots of sense and sounds genuine and honest.It is a pity that he is leaving, though many had anticipated when he joined the Government that his stay would be short lived.

    It is an irony that he left Brasil in 1964 or 65 to flee from the Military government as his ideologies clashed with theirs and built his academic career at Harvard. Then he came back to serve the country under the labor government for a short time only to leave the country once again. Disillusioned and disappointed? Only he would be able to say.

    He is to be respected for leaving with dignity without fighting to retain his “cargo” like many of our politicos do. Hopefully, he will still be contributing to Brasil with his constructive suggestions and criticisms from his chair in Harvard.

  • jon

    Was it the Playboy article?? 😀 😀

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