News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on November 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

POLITICS

President Dilma Rousseff announced the creation of a nation-wide home care program (“Melhor em Casa”), aiming to expand the services of the Brazilian National Health System (SUS). The goal is to achieve by 2014 one thousand home care teams and 400 support teams throughout the country. Investments are expected to reach 600 million dollars. Each home care team shall be composed primarily of doctors, nurses, nursing technicians and physiotherapists that should care for an average of 60 patients per month (Portal Brasil).

A total of 40,610 people were killed in traffic accidents in Brazil last year, 8 percent up from 2009, Health Ministry said. According to the ministry, 25 percent of the deaths occurred in accidents involving motorcycles (Xinhua).

CORRUPTION

Carlos Lupi is the latest minister to come under the media spotlight over alleged wrongdoing. Weekly magazine Veja, citing unidentified lawmakers and officials, reported that advisers to Lupi had demanded kickbacks on government contracts with nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs (Reuters).

While a sixth cabinet minister faces allegations of fraud, Brazil’s Solicitors Association has stated that corruption in the country has become “unbearable” and called on the Supreme Tribunal to rapidly implement the Clean Record bill (MercoPress).

Analysts said the media tussles with ministers in Rousseff’s Cabinet had more to do with shifting patterns in Brazilian power politics than just a media crusade against wrongdoing. Brazilian media have frequently drawn controversy for remaining silent on key issues of national importance. For Rousseff, the media-led ferreting for corruption scandals is proving a huge distraction as it takes her government away from the campaign’s prime goal: to consolidate her power and make her presidency look good compared with the controversial rule of popular and populist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (UPI).

Embraer SA said it has hired an outside law firm to investigate allegations that the firm may have violated U.S. anti-corruption law. The U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are trying to determine whether Embraer violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the world’s fourth-biggest plane manufacturer said (Latin American Herald Tribune).

SPLIT SECOND POLL

INTERNATIONAL

As American dominance in the region recedes and Brazil increasingly flexes its newfound political and economic might, it has begun to experience the pitfalls of the role as well: a pushback against the hemisphere’s rising power. “Power has shifted from one side of Avenida Arce to the other,” said Fernando Molina, a local newspaper columnist, referring to the street in La Paz where the Brazilian ambassador’s residence sits opposite the towering embassy of the United States (New York Times).

The U.S. is struggling to keep up with surging demand for visas in China and Brazil, as the growing middle class in the world’s two biggest emerging markets flock to American shopping malls and tourist meccas. The U.S. plans to boost by 100 people this year its staff dedicated to processing visas in the two countries after it issued 35 percent more travel permits in China this year and 44 percent more in Brazil (Bloomberg).

President Dilma Rousseff has called the recent G20 Summit in France a “relative success.” At a press conference in Cannes, she said, “It hasn’t been a complete success, but a relative success, because the eurozone countries have taken a step forward in deciding how to face the crisis. [However] I don’t believe that a meeting can resolve the world’s problems” (The Rio Times).

The Brazilian government is likely to move the dates of a key UN environment summit, as a clash with the UK Royal Jubilee threatens to keep leaders away. The Rio+20 summit, seen as a chance to put the global economy on a sustainable track, is scheduled for 4-6 June 2012, co-inciding with the Diamond Jubilee (BBC).

Environmentalists criticised the lack of concrete proposals in the Brazilian government’s submission to the preparatory process for the Rio+20 conference, to be held in this city in June 2012. The document submitted to the United Nations for the Conference on Sustainable Development, taking place 20 years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, demonstrates – according to the Brazilian government – its commitment to sustainable development (IPS).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

Expanding links between Brazilian criminal groups and their counterparts in West Africa, easy access to European ports and rampant corruption have created an ideal jumping-off place for Latin American contraband destined for Europe and Asia and fuel Brazil’s role as a bridge for drug trafficking. The emerging narco nexus between West Africa and Brazil (Americas Quarterly).

Brazil is negotiating to use satellites from India to improve the monitoring of deforestation in the Amazon rain forest. A member of Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research says a satellite recently launched by the Indian government could vastly increase Brazil’s ability to combat deforestation in the region (Businessweek).

Latin America’s Union of South American Nations, aspiring to become a regional security umbrella organization, has served notice on members to get their facts together on who is spending what on defense in the region (UPI).

Embraer has revealed the first image of a new medium-altitude unmanned air vehicle (UAV) now under development and aimed for the Brazilian defence and security market – at least initially. The twin-boomed aircraft is being developed by the Harpia joint venture formed in September between Embraer and Elbit Systems subsidiary AEL (Flightglobal).

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), Europe’s market leader for armoured wheeled and tracked vehicles, and the Brazilian Army signed a comprehensive Industrial Logistic Support (ILS) contract. For a substantial two-digit million figure [Euro] KMW will provide comprehensive technical support for the main battle tanks LEOPARD 1A5 of the Brazilian Army in the next five years. The work will be conducted by the newly founded KMW subsidiary KMW do Brasil in Santa Maria (DefenseWorld).

 

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