News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on August 19, 2011 at 10:20 am

POLITICS

Dilma tries to drain the swamp. As another minister goes, Brazil’s president may find that the price of trying to clean up politics involves forgoing reforms the country needs (The Economist).

This time Brazil’s agriculture minister, Wagner Rossi, resigned amid accusations of influence peddling leveled in the news media. Mr. Rossi is the fourth official to fall — and the third to step down because of corruption accusations — since President Dilma Rousseff took office just eight months ago (The New York Times).

President Dilma Rousseff named lawmaker Mendes Ribeiro as new Minister of Agriculture. The member of Congress from the farming state of Rio Grande do Sul replaces Wagner Rossi (Mercopress).

One of the smallest parties from the Brazilian ruling coalition has stepped down with “no hard feelings” and will now adopt a ‘critical support’ attitude towards the administration of President Dilma Rousseff (Mercopress).

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INTERNATIONAL

The U.S. doesn’t have much to fear from Brazil in an ideological sense, and indeed leftist diplomats within Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs are regarded as outmoded and anachronistic relics of the past. Nevertheless, Brazil is a rising player in the region and U.S. diplomats are keenly aware of this fact. For the time being, Brazil and the United States maintain a cordial, if not exactly stellar diplomatic relationship. As Venezuela fades and Washington struggles to maintain its crumbling hegemony in the wider region, however, Brazil and the U.S. will inevitably develop rivalries. An “undeclared contest” with Brazil for political influence in Peru is long under way however (Huffington Post).

China, the second-largest buyer of soy in the world wants an end to intermediation by US multinational companies working in the sector and plans to invest purchasing directly from farmers in Mato Grosso and another five states in Brazil. Chinese investments are expected in factories for crushing of oil-producing beans, docks for ships, infrastructure, logistics, silos and acquisition of agricultural land (Mercopress).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Representatives of Saab and the government of Sweden defended the choice of Gripen Next Generation (NG) fighters, along with the promise of full technology transfer, as Brazil’s best option to reequip the Brazilian Air Force, during a hearing at the Committee on External Relations and National Defense. Representatives from the United States and France, which also offered planes to Brazil, are going to be heard by the Committee in the following weeks (Federal Senate).

Boeing Co. promised a full transfer of technology to Brazil if the US-based company wins a 9 billion dollars fighter-jet bid. The president of Boeing Military Aircraft told the Brazilian Senate defense committee that Brazil would be able to fully produce the F-18 Super Hornet if it purchases the planes from Boeing (MercoPress).

The Brazilian Air Force dropped eight 500-pound bombs on a clandestine airstrip in the jungle near the Colombian and Venezuelan borders, part of wide military operation that goes beyond targeting drug traffickers (CNN).

HEALTH

A key concept in Dr Pitanguy’s vision of plastic surgery’s healing potential: self-esteem.  A prolific writer, Pitanguy says he takes a “humanistic” approach to medicine. Most of his 800-plus publications  are technical but some cite thinkers, such as Michel Foucault and Claude Lévi-Strauss, rarely found in medical works. With its wide-ranging reflections, this oeuvre has earned Pitanguy a place in Brazil’s prestigious academy of letters. It also outlines a radical therapeutic justification for cosmetic surgery.  He argues that the real object of healing is not the body, but the mind.  A plastic surgeon is a “psychologist with a scalpel in his hand” (The New York Times).

GRINGO

A gold rush mind-set is in full swing, with foreign work permits surging 144 percent in the past five years and Americans leading the pack of educated professionals putting down stakes. Businessmen have long been drawn to Brazil, along with get-rich-quick confidence men, dreamers of Amazonian grandeur. But now schools catering to American and other English-speaking families have long waiting lists, apartments can cost $10,000 a month in coveted parts of Rio and many of the newcomers hold Ivy League degrees or job experience at the pillars of the global economy. Once in Brazil, they find a country facing a very different challenge than do the United States and Europe (The New York Times).

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