News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on November 4, 2011 at 11:38 am

POLITICS

Its remarkable offshore oil bonanza could do Brazil a lot of good. But getting the most out of it will not be easy. Ccountries with big oil finds are prone to an ominous list of economic ailments: capital absorption (the diversion of funds from other worthwhile investments); Dutch disease (oil exports pushing the currency to a level that hurts other industries); and reform fatigue (governments’ unwillingness to tackle structural economic problems when they can see vast wealth on the horizon) (The Economist).

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, wants to use the oil money to pay for better education, health and infrastructure. She also wants to use the new fields to create a world-beating oil-services industry. But the bonanza also risks feeding some Brazilian vices: a spendthrift and corrupt political system; an over-mighty state and over-protected domestic market; and neglect of the virtues of saving, investment and training (The Economist).

The Hospital Sírio-Libanês in São Paulo said that various exams showed that Mr. Lula da Silva, 66 (Pictured, as President), had a tumor in his larynx, the organ in the neck that assists in breathing and speaking. “The patient is doing well,” the hospital said in the statement, also explaining that he would be cared for by six respected specialists (New York Times).

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has started his chemotherapy treatment for throat cancer, with doctors saying his chances of being cured are “very good” (BBC).

It seems a bit crass to be talking about the politics of all this, but that’s what happens when the dominant political figure of the past decade, whom many expected to make a comeback at some point, gets sick. The reaction to Lula’s illness says two interesting things about Brazil today (The Economist).

Federal authorities are implementing new rules meant to speed up and reduce the cost of the environmental licensing process for major infrastructure projects. Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira says the rules don’t eliminate environmental requirements, but only clarify and set a timeline for the environmental impact review of a proposed project (Washington Post).

CORRUPTION

President Rousseff ordered a thirty-day inquiry into all contracts signed by Brazilian federal government agencies with NGOs, subsequently suspending all transactions over the period.  The nonprofits’ performances and regularity will be assessed alongside their contractual agreements (The Rio Times).

Ever wondered how to break it to your shareholders that your company is under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for corruption? Well, Embraer decided to opt for the more discreet approach. The airline manufacturer, one of Brazil’s biggest and most transparent companies, waited until the release of their third-quarter results on the night of a national holiday to make the announcement (FT).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

INTERNATIONAL

As the European debt crisis has dragged on, and concerns over the possible impacts on Brazil and other emerging economies have grown, Rousseff and her finance minister, Guido Mantega, have become increasingly vocal in their criticism of the European response. “The Europeans always take too long to find solutions,” Mantega grumbled earlier this month. “And when they come they come late” (The Guardian).

Brazil will get $8 billion in financing from the World Bank to push its campaign to uproot extreme hardship deeper into some of the country’s poorest areas, the bank said (Reuters).

Brazil submitted a proposal to the United Nations regarding the sustainable development conference to be held here next June, Rio+20. The proposal comprises 25 aspects which the country considers as challenges on its way to sustainable development, such as poverty reduction, energy and food security, gender and racial equality, education,healthcare as well as urban development (Xinhua).

Brazil has reiterated its rejection of foreign intervention in Syria, where more than 3,000 people have recently been reported killed in the violent suppression of anti-government protesters calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. World leaders are now desperate to find a solution to end the bloodshed in Syria, one of a slew of Middle East nations caught up in the Arab Spring uprisings (The Rio Times).

The governments of both Sweden and Norway have expressed a growing focus in strengthening ties with Brazil, hoping to evolve collaboration strategies in areas including trade and investment, environmental issues, social development and knowledge exchange. The Norwegian Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) in Rio and Swedish Chamber of Commerce (SWEDCHAM) in São Paulo have been collaborating with a quarterly joint-publication, demonstrating a unified presence of Nordic business interests (The Rio Times).

Florida Governor Rick Scott said that he returned from last week’s trade mission to Brazil with $61 million in deals close to completed, including a natural caffeine producer that will open a plant at the Port of Palm Beach (Postonpolitics).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Bolivia and Brazil inked a memorandum of understanding to strengthen joint efforts in fighting drug trafficking along their borders. The agreement would promote cooperation in fighting drug trafficking and other organized crimes, Brazil’s visiting Defense Minister Celso Amorim said (Xinhua).

Brazil’s Super Tucano aircraft has been certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, allowing a demonstration tour of military bases. “This certification of the Super Tucano by the FAA could have a very positive impact on the market development of this proven aircraft in the United States and is a highly relevant triumph for Embraer Defense and Security,” said Luiz Carlos Aguiar, president of Embraer Defense and Security (UPI).

Collaboration programmes between South Africa and Brazil could be the basis for future contracts of a similar nature pending the completion of the A-Darter air-to-air missile contract, said Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Aloízio Mercadante during a visit to Denel Dynamics (Defpro).

SOCIAL

The number of foreigners residing in Brazil has increased by 52.4 percent over the past six months, reported the Ministério da Justiça (Ministry of Justice).  The new data marks the first time in two decades wherein the amount of immigrants surpassed the number of Brazilians living abroad. The figures, which took into account those that live in Brazil for work, study, or to accompany a spouse, had reached nearly 1.5 million by June 2011.  With major NGO’s estimating another 600,000 living illegally in Brazil, the figures now surge past two million (The Rio Times).

The number of foreigners arriving in Brazil contrasts with the number of those leaving the country: currently there are two million Brazilians living overseas against 4 million in 2005 (MercoPress).

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