News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on September 16, 2011 at 10:13 am


Tourism Minister Pedro Novais has resigned over allegations that he misused public funds. Mr Novais quit after newspaper reports accused him of using public money to employ a maid and a driver for his wife while he was a congressman (BBC). Dilma Rousseff named congressman Gastao Vieira of the government-allied Democratic Movement Party, or PMDB, as tourism minister, to replace Pedro Novais.

Rousseff has lost some significant members of cabinet so far this year, including her once powerful chief of staff, Antonio Palocci, but she can afford to lose a few with an over-sized cabinet totalling 38 ministers (FT).

US ambassador in Brazil Thomas Shannon said the country suffered from “extended corruption” according to a diplomatic cable a year and a half ago referred to former president Lula da Silva administration and which was recently released by Wikileaks (MercoPress).

Following the spate of corruption scandals that has blighted the government in recent months, Brazilians from all sectors of society are standing up in support of President Rousseff’s governmental “clean-up” operation and making their voices heard in the fight against corruption. Brazilian Independence Day celebrations were augmented by Brazilians around the country marching in protest (The Rio Times).

Brazil’s government presented a plan for dividing up oil royalties among states, a crucial step in advancing its effort to tap deepwater reserves it hopes will turn the country into a major crude exporter (MercoPress).


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Brazil’s proposal for BRICS countries to come to Europe’s rescue by buying bonds is a well-intentioned but largely self-serving initiative that will enhance its own global profile without risking enough money to make a major difference in the euro zone crisis (Reuters).

Brazil’s proposal to support the crisis-hit euro zone garnered only lukewarm support from fellow BRICS countries on Wednesday, as doubts mounted whether the five emerging market powers have the political will or financial clout to throw a lifeline to Europe (Reuters).

The idea that Brazil, Russia, India and China will use some of their massive foreign reserves to buy up the bonds of weak euro zone countries has a certain symmetry, but it is unlikely to happen and even more unlikely to work if it does (James Saft at Reuters).

President Dilma Rousseff said the financial crisis in the Untied States which is contaminating the rest of the world is more ‘political’ than economic and it’s not only a matter of money, but also and mainly of ‘strong decisions’ (MercoPress).

President Jose Mujica of Uruguay admitted to Uruguayan manufacturers and farmers that with recurrent Argentine and Brazilian obstacles to trade “it’s very hard to make Mercosur function” and good relations between presidents “are not enough” (MercoPress).

The U.S. has not been encouraged by the performance of India, Brazil and South Africa during their temporary tenure on the UN Security Council, Ambassador Susan Rice said. Splits between the so-called IBSA group of countries and the U.S. arose as protest movements swept the Middle East. India and Brazil, along with Russia, China and Germany, abstained from a UN resolution that formed the legal basis for military intervention in Libya (Bloomberg-Businessweek).

Brazilian diplomats and academics alike have long regarded regional leadership as a springboard to global recognition and influence. But while the strategic goal of becoming a legitimate regional leader has failed, the ultimate goal of becoming an intermediate world power has fared better. This article analyzes the growing mismatch between the regional and global performance of Brazil’s foreign policy in order to answer two questions. First, what are the causes of this divergence? The explanation may be structural conditions—e.g., a larger and growing economy in regard to smaller or laggard neighbors; or policy behavior— a change in the diagnoses or the perceptions of the Brazilian foreign policy elite, whose interests or confidence in the region may diminish as global opportunities arise. Second, what are the potential consequences of this mismatch? Either Brazil stays the course, reaching out to the region to bring it together and face the world with a single voice, or goes it alone (Latin American Politics & Society).

Amid domestic political turmoil and growing economic uncertainties, foreign policy represented a much safer haven for Dilma Rousseff during her first eight months in office. Changes concerning human rights violations, a positive gesture toward the United States, and keeping Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at arm’s length were interpreted as positive diplomatic shifts. The general perception both in and outside Brazil was that pragmatism had replaced ideology as the benchmark of Brazilian foreign policy (BrazilPolitics).


The Brazilian government will send a presidential decree to Congress in the coming days reducing taxes for local defense companies, a measure that will benefit Embraer SA and Odebrecht SA, Valor Economico reported (Bloomberg).

Embraer has increased its hold in the Brazilian defense sector by taking a 25 percent stake in AEL, the Elbit Systems local operation as part of a deal for the two companies to collaborate on development of unmanned systems. The defense and security arm of Embraer announced earlier this year it would acquire a share in AEL along with partnering in the development and production of unmanned air systems (Defense News).

Of all European companies hoping to work with Brazil to exploit Latin America’s burgeoning defense market, Dassault Falcon is most upbeat about future growth in collaboration with the regional leader in arms industries. Part of France’s Dassault Aviation, a major contender in Brazil’s multibillion-dollar F-X2 fighter competition, Dassault Falcon is aiming to expand its market share in the Central and South America region and sees Brazil as the ideal partner (UPI).

The Brazilian Justice Ministry said it had successfully concluded the first phase of an ambitious nationwide disarmament campaign with the collection and destruction of over 22,200 firearms. The ministry said in a statement that the number of weapons collected between May 6 and Sept. 9 was 20 times higher than that in the first four months of the year, prior to the start of the government’s disarmament campaign (Xinhua).


Professional shortage in Brazil has called attention to a problem that has always been a constant in the country, but ignored by the government throughout the years: education. In a moment in which Internet has changed the face of education as it facilitates the access to information, almost 10% of Brazilian are completely illiterate, which means that they are incapable of recognizing words or making meaning out of simple sentences and 68% of the population is functionally illiterate. If we add these percentages, we will get to stunning 78%, which corresponds to 150.053.666 Brazilians who are unable of reading a text like this one (in Portuguese, of course) and making any meaning out of it (The Brazil Business).

Two years ago, Facebook had little more than four million visitors in Brazil, according to Ibope Nielsen Online, the reference for ranking of Brazilian web audience. Orkut had been the market leader for the past 7 years in Brazil. In July 2009, Orkut reigned online with more than 27 million users while Facebook had only 4,2 million members. Then, “Facebook revolution” started. Last month Zuckerberg’s social network surpassed Orkut, owned by Google, in number of users in Brazil for the first time (Forbes).

Census figures from 2010 show that nearly 43,000 children under 14 years of age are living with a partner in Brazil in defiance of laws forbidding these unions. Brazil’s penal code prohibits marriage with children under 14 and defines sex with them as statutory rape (Washington Post).


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