This story excerpt was translated from German. To read the original story in full, visit RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND).
In the town of Campo Novo dos Parecis in southern Mato Grosso, large letters are rammed into the ground at the first traffic circle. They proclaim to visitors that the town is a 'Terra de Oportunidades,' a land of opportunity.
"When my parents came here in 1974, there was nothing. We slept under a tarp for the first three years, then my father built a simple house," says Toninho Brolio.
The 49-year-old grows soy on thousands of hectares and was once deputy mayor. He is proud of his town, which now has 50,000 inhabitants and is still growing.
On its edges, freshly paved roads lead past plots of land marketed by a real estate agency. The square meter cost 150 two years ago, 280 reais today. In the city center, there is even already a 15-story high-rise, and a second one is under construction.
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