Last month, a slew of riots broke out in Brazil as citizens protested against longstanding issues such as a corrupt government and financial irresponsibility. But it looks like the world sees Brazil in a better light than its own citizens do.

Brazil has the best reputation of all Latin American countries, according to the study "2013 Country RepTrak™ Topline Report" conducted by the Reputation Institute. Coming in at #21, it even surpassed the United States, which grabbed the #22 spot.

The Reputation Institute, a consultant firm with offices and associates in 30 countries, uses a standardized model to estimate the degree to which people trust, admire, respect and have a good feeling for a place or their emotional bond.

With a reputation rating of 57.8 percent, Brazil is still considered to have a “weak” reputation by the Institute on a 5-point scale from “poor” to “excellent.” Nobody received the “excellent” classification, however, as the top 19 countries either ranked in at “strong” or “moderate.”

“There were good times and there were bad times, and the good times tended to last longer than the bad times,” Council on Hemispheric Affairs director Larry Birns said about Brazil’s spot.

Peru came in second among Latin American countries, with Puerto Rico (despite its technically “territory” status) finishing in third. In 2012 those same three countries topped the Reputation list.

Of the nine Central and South American countries included in the study, each of them had better reputation ratings than the year before except for Argentina. 

According to the study, the reputations of Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico, Chile and Colombia have consistently improved every year for the past five years, whereas Mexico, Venezuela and Bolivia have been on shaky ground and Argentina has consistently gone down.

“The Argentine economy has been very weak, there’s been a great deal of corruption,” Birns said. “Although Cristina Fernandez, the president of Argentina, has played an important role in stabilizing Argentina, it hasn’t been enough to generate a balanced society.”

Mexico got a 47 percent reputation rating, yet interestingly Mexican respondents came out as the least self-critical of their own country – to them Mexico is at least 67.6 percent reputable.

“The Mexican economy is actually rather praiseworthy because Mexico has independence in oil and natural gas and a relatively strong education system,” Birns said. “We have been doing Mexico a grave disservice by underrating it rather than fairly allocating to the country praise for what it has managed to accomplish.”

The Reputation Institute gathered the data via online interviews with over 27,000 participants between January and March of this year.

The 50 countries included in the study were selected either because of their large economies or because of “recent economic, political or natural events.”


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