DECOM: Presentation of the State of Rondônia in North Brazil

Júlio Olivar Benedito, Director of the Department of Social Communication (DECOM)
Júlio Olivar Benedito from Rondônia’s Department of Social Communication talks about the role of DECOM and discusses the national and international image of the Northern state. He also shares his vision for the future of Rondônia in the coming years.

Interview with Júlio Olivar Benedito, Director of the Department of Social Communication (DECOM)

Julio Olivar

Let’s start with an introduction on the Department of Social Communication (DECOM) and talk about the role of this department.

People from all over the world, although mostly from Brazil, are coming to Rondônia to look for this promised land and are helping to consolidate the state, which is 31 years old and is now one of the top 12 federal units with the best economic growth in the country.

The department’s role is to advise the Governor and his cabinet in all procedures that have to do with social communication. We work on reinforcing the state’s image. We deal with how all of the sectors that make up the governance of this state are presented. We do not just present the good results, but also topics that evoke specific dates, civil issues and probabilities for growth to attract investors and foreign eyes to Rondônia. Therefore I would say the role of the DECOM is to elevate the figure of the state of Rondônia as a brazilian entity.

What are the most important actions of the Department at the time?

We are now in the middle of the 4 year term of Confúcio Moura’s government. We are doing an audit of the activities and a biannual publication as a way to account for the activities in all sectors of the state government. We are programming a seminar with the secretaries and the press to present the great advances the government has made over the last 2 years. This is a time of prosperity, with improvements in social areas, roads, education, health, and always with great peace in the institutional relationships. The leader of the government, Confúcio Moura, is a doctor, a writer, a thinker, and that’s very important, because his humanist experience adds to its competence as an administrator. He is leading a vanguard government that thinks of the future but also deals with what is going on today in terms of the economical and sociological phenomena that characterize this historic moment for Rondônia, whose growth is above the national average.

We are seeing agricultural production, hydroelectric plants and industries changing the face of the state in economic, social and cultural terms. Over the last few years, 100,000 people came to Rondônia, in Porto Velho, on account of the hidroelectric plants on the Madeira River that will generate 18% of the electricity consumed by Brazil, which is a country of continental dimensions, solidifying the city as a capital that is a real cultural hotspot. It is a cosmopolitan place that houses descendants from all over the world. What also confirms Porto Velho as a cosmopolitan city is that it was born almost 100 years ago, built by foreign hands, when more than 50 nations came here to build the legendary Railroad Madeira-Mamoré, which was one of the greatest epics of mankind.

energy Rondonia

Today with the power plants that are opening here we are seeing this again; people from all over the world, although mostly from Brazil, are coming to Rondônia to look for this promised land and are helping to consolidate the state, which is 31 years old and is now one of the top 12 federal units with the best economic growth in the country.

What is the national and international image of Rondônia?

Unfortunately there is a policy on effective communication in order to spread the brand Rondônia. Even within this country the name of Rondônia is not well publicized. It is a very young state. We are in the Amazon region, which is amazing, but each of the nine states that makes up this region has its own identity. Rondônia has livestock, grain production, the ports, the early stages of industrialization. Other states, such as Acre, focus on self-sufficiency and family agriculture, because they have a different profile. I would say that even the Brazilian people do not know all the nuances and individualities of Rondônia, a state with a land area equal to that of São Paulo, but with only 1,5 million inhabitants and 52 municipalities. Many see us as the backyard of Amazonia, without knowing our particularities.

We have great potential for business tourism and we conducted the largest agricultural fairs in Northern Brazil. In the area of ecotourism, our Guaporé and Madeira rivers have the largest number of fish species on the planet. There are 800 species of fish and 300 are not even listed yet. We also have here Inca heritage and archeology is rich. The State Government is firmly working on the issue of ports, airports and roads, looking at the possibility of building a tourist circuit that will be called Pantan-Pacific Andes-Amazon, to integrate Rondônia with the Andean region, promoting our state as a promising site in terms of tourism.

What are the biggest challenges faced by DECOM in disclosing Rondônia internationally?

port Rondonia

I think we need to professionalize relations with the international media. For example, the relationship we are having with MarcoPolis interests us very much. I believe we need to intensify this, we should not just wait to be discovered, we also need to look for ways to get ourselves seen and make the residents here realize the greatness of Rondônia, a large and varied state, with people from all corners of world, without forgetting the indigenous natives.

Rondônia piques the interest of many. In 2011, the state took part in the Congress of Tourism (Tourism Hall), which took place in the Anhembi Park in Sao Paulo and included all states of Brazil. The event was covered by more than 40 representative countries, including France. We saw people from all around the world expressing interest in knowing more of Rondônia. I think we have to show Rondônia more, in a more articulate and professional way. We have to work in the promotion of our image.

I believe Rondônia is one of the most promising of all the 27 states of Brazil. I have no doubt that will be the richest state in northern Brazil. Today we are importing workforce, but soon we will export it, because half of our population is under 25 years of age. We have a young population that is becoming qualified. I think Rondônia is an example of orderly economic growth for Brazil.

Finally, can you tell us what is your dream for Rondônia?

My dream for Rondônia is for it to no longer be a transitional land, where people come here to enjoy the riches of the state and then leave. I want Rondônia to be a consolidated and respected state; a state with identity, with people feeling more educated and integrated. We have to better qualify our workforce so that we do not have to import workforce in the future. We want to have our own skilled workforce to work in the highest positions in sectors involving science knowledge and advanced technologies. Education is the priority along with investments in health, culture and social welfare. It is also important that those who live here respect this state as a promising land; a land that has welcomed people from all over the world with open arms. I think we are in a good cycle of development in all areas. I believe in this state and I would like for the rest of Brazil to see Rondônia as a state in its own right and with its own identity.

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