Fernando Collor de Mello is the only president Brazil has, the best available and, upon his election two years ago, the first chosen by the people in three decades. He came in on a tidal wave of enthusiasm for youth and free market solutions to the great South American country's daunting problems. Too bad that, one week before the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro casts the world spotlight on his vibrant and ecologically crucial country, the wheels are coming off his cart.
There was the sexual scandal between cabinet ministers, which made his swinging image grist for comedians. It was followed by more conventional financial corruption of other cabinet ministers one recorded on video discussing a $30,000 bribe -- that resulted in his demanding the resignation of all, and a major reshuffle.
But the aura of scandal hit home when his estranged younger brother, Pedro Collor, accused the president of stealing millions from his campaign, taking kickbacks and, as a youth, snorting cocaine. The stock markets of Sao Paulo and Rio plummeted. Confidence in the government sank. The 42-year-old handsome president sued his brother for calumny and took to television to deny all.