News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on October 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

POLITICS

Dilma Rousseff appointed a Communist Party congressman as the country’s new Sports minister, replacing Orlando Silva, an official from the same party who resigned as he fights corruption allegations (MercoPress).

Brazil’s Senate has voted to set up a truth commission to investigate rights abuses, including those committed during military rule from 1964 to 1985. The bill, already passed by the Chamber of Deputies, now goes to President Dilma Rousseff to be signed into law (BBC).

Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao announced that his country would invest 214 billion reals (122 billion U.S. dollars) to build hydroelectric, solar and wind power projects in the next decade (Xinhua).

CORRUPTION

Orlando Silva, Brazil’s sports minister, became the sixth minister Dilma Rousseff’s government has lost in its short ten-month life. One—Nelson Jobim, the defence minister—went after making sexist remarks about some female cabinet ministers in a press interview. The other five had all been accused in the press of corruption, and had to step down before the president gave them their marching orders (The Economist).

Veja accused him of helping embezzle $23m (£14m) from a government scheme that promotes sport for children from poor backgrounds. The money was allegedly used for personal enrichment and to fund the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), which is part of Ms Rousseff’s governing coalition (BBC).

Brazilian officials skimmed at least a staggering equivalent of 37.7bn dollars from government coffers in just eight years of corruption cases from 2003-2010, the Rio do Janeiro daily O Globo reported, based on numbers from the country’s Public Accounts ombudsman (MercoPress).

2011 will go down in Brazilian history as the year that Dilma Rousseff, its first female president, came to power. But it may also be remembered as the year in which public frustration over rampant political corruption finally boiled over. With the word corruption on everyone’s lips, the Brazilian media has played a lead role in unearthing the wrongdoings of some of the country’s most powerful politicians (The Guardian).

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INTERNATIONAL

Brazil’s government is encouraged by Europe’s announcement of a plan to resolve the nagging debt crisis, though more details are needed on the proposal to determine its viability, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said (Mercopress).

Prime Minister David Cameron will not be going to the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil next year despite his pledge to lead the “greenest ever government”. The meeting will mark 20 years since the seminal Earth Summit of 1992, and is regarded as a chance for leaders to put humanity on a sustainable track. But the June date clashes with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The clash raises the question of whether other Commonwealth heads of government will also stay away. Protocol would be likely to demand the presence of the 54 countries’ leaders in London (BBC).

Brazil will not take part in the annual meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington due to a dispute over a giant hydroelectric plant, said opponents of the scheme (MercoPress).

Activists opposed to the construction of the Belo Monte hydropower dam in the Amazon jungle say the Brazilian government’s decision to boycott an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing represents a “radical” shift in the country’s foreign policy (IPS News).

When IBSA, a trilateral alliance of India, Brazil and South Africa, was created in 2003, few analysts believed the outfit had much potential. Bringing up the  issue with policy makers in the United States or Europe would draw blank stares. For two years, no academic bothered to publish an article on the matter. Yet eight years and five summits on, the IBSA bloc has turned into an accepted platform for the three emerging powers to engage, allowing them to debate, coordinate and articulate a range of domestic and geopolitical issues (Post Western World).

It is a good time to be a Brazilian on the international stage. Brazil has the eighth largest economy in the world, and the “traditional donors” want to know what the country is thinking. In fact, with an aid programme of under $1bn (according to official estimates), it commands far more interest than it probably should. Why? Because Brazil is the future. When leaders in poor countries sit down to plan their way out of poverty, they don’t look to emulate Britain. They say: “We want to be an emerging economy, like Brazil” (The Guardian).

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DEFENSE & SECURITY

The plantation of coke in Peru has already reached low and humid areas in the Amazon and may soon reach Brazil. The warning was given by the military commander of the Amazon, general Eduardo Dias da Costa Villas Bôas, during a public hearing promoted by the Committee on External Relations and National Defense (CRE), on the theme “Border Surveillance – organization, space distribution in the Amazon and in the south of the country” (Federal Senate).

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Europe’s market leader for protected tracked and wheeled vehicles, founded of a new subsidiary in Brazil in april this year. KMW is now demonstrating the Gepard anti-aircraft vehicle in southern Brazil.

Eurofighter thinks something beautifull will happen between Brazil and Turkey. These two countries may join forces to introduce a new fighter jet in 2025, joining a growing list of indigenous projects already started in China, India, Japan and South Korea, Eurofighter forecasts (Flightblobal).

Ukraine’s objective is to complete all the primary work to launch the Ukrainian rocket Cyclone-4 from the facility in the North Western Brazil by 2013, stated President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych in his interview with Brazilian newspaper O Globo during his official visit to Brazil on October 23-26. Brazil is responsible for the construction of the launch base while Ukrainian constructors are currently working on the carrier rockets (PR Newswire).

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INNOVATION

Scientists at FAPESP Week emphasize the importance of producing knowledge to help establish conservation policies. US researchers highlight the increased Brazilian publication of taxonomy and systems biology (FAPESP).

President Dilma Rousseff signed a bill which will provide as much as 13.7 billion U.S. dollars to increase students’ access to technical schools in the next three years. Under the so-called “National Program for Access to Technical Education and Employment” (Pronatec), the government expects to create eight million places in technical courses (Xinhua).

SOCIAL

Brazil’s economic boom is attracting European professionals who are finding it increasingly difficult to find jobs at home. Officials say the number of visas granted to Europeans grew 20% in the first quarter of 2011, compared to the same period of 2010 (BBC).

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