News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on September 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff’s main challenge in coming months will be to maintain a course of austerity and clean government amid growing dissatisfaction as Latin America’s largest economy slows. She will have to face rebellious allies, who could stall her legislative agenda and approve costly bills that may undermine fiscal discipline. Other risks include resistance to long-term structural reforms, persistent inflationary pressures, and renewed intervention in currency markets (Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff, just eight months in the job as her country’s first female leader, is regarded as one of the world’s most powerful women. But international acclaim may be the last thing on Ms Rousseff’s mind as she struggles with political infighting in her multi-party coalition government. Four ministers have resigned or been sacked since June and several others have been accused by the Brazilian media of misusing public funds. All deny any wrongdoing (BBC).

Two further headaches for embattled Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. This time the case involves two women, both blondes, one named by her as cabinet chief, Gleisi Hoffman and the other the sister in law of Vice President Michel Temer (Mercopress).

The government hopes to increase by 4,500 the number of medical doctors who graduate each year. The announcement was made by President Dilma Rousseff during the inaugural class of the Medical School of the University of Pernambuco-Garanhuns, in Northeastern Brazil (Portal Brasil).

President Dilma Rousseff will receive the Wilson Center’s Award for Public Service in New York on September 20, 2011.

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INTERNATIONAL

Former President Lula da Silva visited Bolivia recently and met with Bolivian President Evo Morales. The goal of Lula’s visit was to meet with Morales and discuss the indigenous protests over a Brazilian funded road connecting Trinidad, Beni, to Cochabamba up in the Bolivian Mountains. The dispute highlights the fragmentation of Morales’ political base and is an opportunity for Brazil to expand its political influence in Bolivia (Stratfor).

The American government forecasts that, for the next three years at least, there will be 12% increase in the annual number of tourists from Brazil. This figure could be even higher if Brazil was included in the visa waiver program. Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to quantify how many Brazilians decide not to go to the US because of the struggle it is to get a visa (Forbes).

Thousands of young unemployed professionals are escaping Portugal’s crippling economic crisis by finding jobs in former colonies, such as Brazil and Angola. The reversal of traditional migration patterns is fuelling talk of a “lost generation” (BBC).

Brazil is used to sending thousands of immigrants to the United States. Now the country sees many of them return, because the economic opportunities are now better at home. Even some Americans are coming: During the first half of this year, more than 4,300 US citizens received working visas from Brazil’s Labour Ministry, up 20% on the first six months of 2010 (BBC).

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DEFENSE & SECURITY

AV-TM 300 mile cruise missile

The Brazilian government gave a clear signal that is intends to advance in the consolidation of a defense industry in the country. A decree signed by President Dilma Rousseff releases 45 million Real in funds for the launching of the Astros Project 2020 to equip the Brazilian army (Mercopress).

This year Rio de Janeiro hosted the International Chiefs of Police (IACP) South American Executive Policing Conference, from August 21st-23rd. The event was held concurrently with INTERSEG, the International Law Enforcement Technology, Services and Products Exhibition. The conference’s theme was “Security Planning for Major Sporting Events”, making Rio an ideal venue for discussion (The Rio Times).

Brazilian authorities announced this week the capture of one of the brains of what is considered the country’s biggest ever bank robbery (Mercopress).

“Officially, Brazil does not have terrorism inside its borders,” wrote Lisa Kubiske, then the U.S. deputy chief of mission in Brasilia, in an August 2009 cable released by WikiLeaks. “In reality, several Islamic groups with known or suspected ties to extremist organizations have branches in Brazil and are suspected of carrying out financing activities (Washington Post)”

Argentina proposed this week in Brazil the creation of a South American Space Agency, an initiative which was supported by host Brazil during a Defence seminar in Sao Paulo (Mercopress).

SOCIAL

The Brazilian Catholic Church continues to loose ground to the evangelists and those who declare to have no religion, according to the latest survey released by the Social policies centre from the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio (Mercopress).

The new Brazilian fertility rate of 1.9 is below the level at which a population replaces itself. It is lower than the two-children-per-woman fertility rate in the United States. In the largest nation in Latin America—a 191-million-person country where the Roman Catholic Church dominates, abortion is illegal (except in rare cases), and no official government policy has ever promoted birth control—family size has dropped so sharply and so insistently over the past five decades that the fertility rate graph looks like a playground slide (National Geographic).

The Brazilian population grew by 1.62 million between 2010 and 2011 according to the latest data from the country’s Geography and Statistics Institute, IBGE, which means that on July first the total number of inhabitants was 192.37 million (Mercopress).

Brazilian officials say wildfires have burned about 930 square miles (2,400 square kilometers) of land inside 17 national reserves since the start of the dry season. The government’s Chico Mendes conservation institute says about 1,600 firefighters and volunteers are struggling to control the flames (Washington Post).

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