An article about Brazil says that the country is thriving. They were one of the last nations to enter the recession and one of the first to emerge from it. It sounds as though people (both Brazilians and international commentators) give Luiz Inacia Lula da Silva high marks for his leadership.
Lula was elected in 2002 and his second term ends in 2010. The race to succeed him will be contested by the opposition party (in fact, it promises to be a close election according to The Economist), notwithstanding his popularity.
One of the reasons for the general positivity in Brazil is that they discovered significant amounts of oil in their offshore waters. I had not heard about this. It's interesting: no matter how much Thomas Friedman writes about the importance of the emerging green economy, many of economics articles still focus on which countries have fossil fuels.