News from Brazil

Politics & Government

In Brazil on December 10, 2010 at 11:53 am

POLITICS

The Washington Post has published a very interesting interview with President-elect Dilma Rousseff. She outlines her economic policies, underlining continuity and spending on infrastructure and housing among other things. Rousseff also hints at some subtle changes in Brazil’s foreign policy notably vis-a-vis Iran and the US.

Brazilian President-elect Dilma Rousseff nominated five Cabinet members from her most important coalition partner PMDB in an effort to secure congressional support for her government (MercoPress).

Anyone who had expected Dilma Rousseff to lead a weak puppet government for outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva when she becomes Brazil’s first female president next month may have to think again as she tiptoes through the first minefields (Reuters).

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva meanwhile has criticised the arrest of the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as “an attack on freedom of expression” (BBC).

Upon the approval of the amendment of Brazil’s existing oil laws that aims to redistribute oil royalties among all states and municipalities by the lower house of the Brazilian Congress, Câmara dos Deputados (Chamber of Deputies), the tension between the state of Rio de Janeiro, and the nation’s capital Brasília has been escalating (The Rio Times).

But President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he would veto a plan to change the distribution of oil royalties among state governments, paving the way for the implementation of a legal overhaul of Brazil’s oil sector (Reuters).

INTERNATIONAL

Brazil strengthened its links with the Dutch port city of Rotterdam last week during a visit of the city’s Mayor, Mr Ahmed Aboutaleb to Santos, Sao Paulo and Rio.  The “world class” Port of Rotterdam (the largest on the Atlantic), is convincingly Brazil’s gateway to the EU, with more than 35 million tons of Brazilian goods passing annually. The City of Rotterdam is also home to large Brazilian businesses such as Petrobras and Braskem.

In the wake of the Mayor’s visit, three Brazilian university institutions (USP, UNESP and FGV) now linked up with Erasmus University of Rotterdam and its subsidiaries, such as ISS, RSM and IHS, boosting research and exchange in the fields of logistics, urban development and finance. The Architecture Bienals of Sao Paulo and Rotterdam will extend their already close ties, while Santos and Sao Paulo will work with Rotterdam to counter climate change effects in cities and ports. A general interview with Mayor Aboutaleb (in Portuguese) can be found here and one about climate change here.

Brazil is Holland’s main export destination in Latin America and the Netherlands are amongst the largest investors in Brazil, and is the fourth largest export destination for Brazil with US$8.2 billion in 2009 (The Rio Times).

Brazil was the last of the so-called BRIC nations [Brazil, Russia, India, China] to recognize Palestine. More than 100 countries, including almost all the African and Arab ones, had recognized it, “so it was the natural thing to do,” a Brazilian official explained to POLITICO.

DEFENSE

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will not make a decision on a multi-billion-dollar jet fighter purchase before stepping down on January 1, state media reported. Lula told official television station TV Brasil that it would be up to the government of his successor, Dilma Rousseff, to decide the issue (Defense News).

But Brazil may face a shortage of jet fighters to defend the country’s capital because it will need to retire by 2014 a total of 12 Mirage-2000s currently dedicated to the defense of Brasilia and based in Anapolis, Goias state. The nation may have to rely on upgraded versions of 1970’s-vintage Northrop F-5 jet fighters for the task (Bloomberg).

A longer-range radar-guided version of the Umkhonto air defence missile may be the next joint development programme between South Africa and Brazil, South African state arsenal Denel says. The company’s Denel Dynamics is currently in a R1 billion joint programme with IBSA partner Brazil to develop and produce a fifth-generation infra-red-guided short-range air-to-air missile (DefenceWeb).

After issuing a request for proposals in September, the Brazilian air force’s KC-X tanker/transport procurement has taken an unexpected turn. Despite having initially forecast the participation of at least three bidders, sources in Brasilia indicate that Airbus Military’s A330 multi-role tanker/transport might be selected before the end of the year (FlightGlobal).

EDUCATION

Weak and wasteful schools hold Brazil back. But at least they are getting less bad. Read the full story in The Economist.

Brazil’s low place in OECD education rankings highlights one of the few blots on the record of outgoing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. “I’d fail him,” says one education expert. Read why in the Christian Science Monitor.

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