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Catastrophic Drought in Southeastern Brazil Results from Failure To Develop Brazil

April 6, 2015 (EIRNS)—In an October 2001 memo identifying what he called "the Cerrado syndrome" ("LaRouche On ‘The Future of Brazil’s Agriculture’"), and in a week-long visit to São Paulo in June 2002 in the course of which he was named an Honorary Citizen of that city, U.S. statesman Lyndon LaRouche put before Brazilian leaders the conceptual framework for developing Brazil’s vast resources, including its extensive water resources, pivoted on the recognition of Mankind’s role in "transforming the biosphere, raising it to higher levels of fruitfulness and good health than it could ever achieve without man’s willful intervention."

The drought today threatening southeastern Brazil, the country’s most populous region—including the 20 million people who live in Greater São Paulo—is a testament to the catastrophic effects of refusing to break from the failed policies of recent decades. The policies of the BRICS, of which Brazil is a member, are a hope for the future.

The drought is the worst recorded in the last 80-85 years. The rainy season, which is now coming to an end, has not significantly remedied a scarcity so bad that São Paulo water officials warn that they might soon decide to impose water rationing on that city of more than 20 million, perhaps as much as for five of the seven days in a week!

São Paulo’s Cantareira reservoir/dam system, which is still the source of water for 6.5 million of its residents, in mid-March was at 11.9% of total capacity (including the reservoir’s "dead" or inactive storage). Large hospitals and water-intensive businesses are already installing in-house water treatment and recycling centers, and water trucks are proliferating around the city, but the city’s poor do not have access to such resources.

The state and city of São Paulo face the gravest conditions at this time, but several other states are following close behind. Officials in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais requested residents and industries cut back water use by 30% in January, because of the drought.

This result of the failure to transform Brazil’s economy through an aggressive infrastructure, educational, and scientific development programs, threatens the global economy, as well as all of Brazil. Brazil’s soy and coffee crops, at minimum, have already been affected this year. Because Brazil did not proceed to expand its once-ambitious nuclear power program, the drought threatens the nation’s electricity supply, still overwhelmingly (90%) dependent on hydropower.

Reports that a reverse migration has begun out of São Paulo of some of those who migrated to São Paulo from the country’s poor, chronically drought-stricken Northeast to find jobs and a better life in São Paulo, portend the mass migrations to come across the country, if current policies are not reversed.