News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on October 21, 2011 at 10:37 am

POLITICS

So far, however, Brazil’s first female president has exceeded many expectations. A recent poll gave Rousseff an approval rating of 71%. Voters liked the way she came down hard on a series of corruption scandals, the likes of which dogged Lula’s presidency. The Brazilian economic miracle, fueled by a commodities trade with Asia and a domestic consumption boom, is still improving the lives of families. Abroad, her administration has been critical of key allies, including the U.S., without causing any diplomatic rows (LA Times).

Brazil’s Senate approved a plan to distribute oil royalties more widely among feuding states, a small step toward relaunching the development of the country’s vast offshore reserves. The agreement sees the federal government’s slice of royalties at 20 percent, down from a current 30 percent. Oil-producing states would see their share down to 20 percent from 26.25 percent.Non-producing states would see their share leap to 20 percent from a current 1.75 percent, eventually reaching 27 percent in 2020 (Reuters).

Senator Aecio Neves has proposed to the country’s Senate new legislation for Brazil’s mining sector that would boost royalties for all minerals to 5% of companies’ gross sales, rivaling the government’s own plans for a new mine royalties law (Fox).

Brazilian Senate Constitution and Justice Committee approved this week the bill for the creation of a National Truth Commission to research unsolved serious crimes committed between 1946 and 1988, which includes the controversial military dictatorship period from 1964 to 1985 (MercoPress).

CORRUPTION

Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva has denied accusations that he was involved in the embezzlement of millions of dollars in public funds. The influential Brazilian magazine Veja published detailed allegations that he took cash from a scheme to promote sport among poor children (BBC).

Where people in other parts of the world have been busy “Occupying Wall Street” and ousting Arab World dictators, one topic dominates in Brazil: corruption. Last week’s October 12th public holiday saw 20,000 protesters take to the streets of Brasília, with 2,000 more in Rio and notable gatherings in cities up and down the country, from Goiânia to Florianópolis (The Rio Times).

Brazilians have long accepted malfeasance as the necessary cost of doing business, be it in commerce or public service. Every year, the country loses up to $47.4 billion to undeclared tax revenue, vanished public money and other casualties of widespread corruption, according to an August survey by the Federation of Industries of Sao Paulo (AJC).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

INTERNATIONAL

Brazil reaffirmed its influence in Africa with the visit by President Dilma Rousseff of the oil rich ‘brother’ nation Angola. Rousseff had previously visited South Africa and Mozambique (MercoPress).

President Dilma Rousseff was in Angola on 19 and 20 October 2011. In a meeting with the Angolan President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President Rousseff emphasized the strategic nature of the relationship between Brazil and Angola, marked by strong historical, cultural and economic ties. In order to strengthen and to fully explore the potential of the economic partnership between the two countries, Brazil will send a business mission to Angola in late November 2011 (Portal Brasil).

Angola is the third largest destination for Brazilian exports in Africa, while Angola is the fourth biggest exporter from the continent to Brazil. In the past six years, Brazil has extended more than $3 billion (2.2 billion euros) in credit lines to Angola, most of which has been spent on post-war construction projects such as new roads, dams and bridges (AFP).

Presidents Dilma Rousseff (Brazil) and Jacob Zuma (South Africa) and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (India) met on 18 October for the 5th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum. The three leaders highlighted that the basic pillar of IBSA is the shared vision that democracy and development are mutually reinforcing and key to sustainable peace and stability (Portal Brasil).

However, Human Rights Watch, the US pressure group, has slammed statements on Syria issued by the India-Brazil-South Africa (Ibsa) Dialogue Forum after a meeting in Pretoria, saying the forum shied away from pressuring President Bashar al-Assad’s government to step down (BusinessDay).

Britain’s House of Commons strongly supports a closer bilateral relationship with Brazil, which it describes as a democratic, well governed, responsible state but regrets the hardening position of Brazil towards the Falklands and the HMS Clyde incident (MercoPress).

Brazilian policymakers view the G-20 as a positive instrument for both their country’s emergence on the world stage and advancement of substantive reforms in global economic governance and crisis prevention long advocated by Brazil. Yet questions certainly remain about Brazil’s continued ability to use effectively the G-20 to fulfill its foreign policy goals (Courier).

Brazil called upon the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to reform its two mechanisms in order to further strengthen its crucial role on issues of economic and social development. Regina Maria Cordeiro Dunlop, the deputy permanent representative of Brazil to the United Nations, made the call while addressing the 66th session of the UN General Assembly during the joint debate on the report of ECOSOC (Xinhua).

Japan and South Korea fired a warning shot at Brazil’s treatment of foreign carmakers by raising the tax issue at a committee of the World Trade Organization (Reuters).

Florida Governor Rick Scott is leaving on a seven-day trade mission to Brazil. Scott is heading to Rio de Janeiro late Thursday and then he will travel to Sao Paulo. Scott’s foray to Brazil will take him to a major trade show of Brazilian travel agents. He will also inaugurate a trade exposition and visit with Brazilian businesses. Last year more than 1 million Brazilians traveled to the state, second only to the United Kingdom. Visits from Brazil are up 43 percent this year (AP).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Brazil urgently needs to buy new fighter jets and has not ruled out replacing its fleet of Mirage 2000 jet fighters next year, but will monitor the global financial situation before making a decision, Defence Minister Celso Amorim said (Reuters).

The international economic crisis has pushed Brazil’s plans to update its fighter jet fleet to the sidelines, Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim said in Paris, while France said it would go ahead with buying around 12 Embraer KC390 tactical transport aircraft as part of a sale of the Rafale. France stil hopes to sell its FREMM multimission frigate and an auxiliary ship, competing against Britain and other nations for the naval deal. Amorim said Brazil would have to start thinking about building a new aircraft carrier to replace the French-built Foch, renamed the Sao Paulo. This would require imported technology and take decades, he said (DefenseNews).

Around 80 Brazilian companies from the Brazilian aerospace cluster participated in the KC-390 Workshop, held by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). Embraer Defense and Security presented short and medium-range opportunities to potential suppliers of the military transport and refueling jet being developed for the Brazilian Air Force (Embraer).

Brazil’s fleet of C295 aircraft, made by Spain’s Airbus Military, has reached 25.000 flight hours after six years of successful operation. The 12 aircraft fly mainly in Amazonia and Mato Grosso, areas where the airplanes are vital for the local population (UPI).

GENERAL

Brazil’s Minister of Tourism Gastão Vieira said that the federal government is considering ways of speeding up the visa processing for foreign tourists. The measure, which would initially benefit Canadians, Mexicans and U.S. citizens, was announced during a meeting with São Paulo Mayor Gilberto Kassab as part of a series of meetings with city authorities in preparation for the 2014 World Cup (Floripa Times).

The Brazilian economy and the increased presence of multinationals in the country increased the interest of foreigners to learn Portuguese language. While Europeans and Americans face high unemployment and risk of recession, Brazil became the country’s fashion abroad – and the Portuguese language is increasingly pop. In the last decade, the number of students enrolled in Celpe-Bras, the Portuguese proficiency exam recognized by the Ministry of Education, jumped from 1155 to 6139 (India-Brazil Chamber).
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