News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on March 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

POLITICS

Serra is back. São Paulo is Brazil’s biggest municipality, with 11m residents, and the country’s beating business heart. Its mayor matters. But the result of this election will now be especially important. It will affect the future of the PSDB, which at federal level is the main opposition to President Dilma Rousseff. It also has implications for the governing Workers’ Party (PT) and the next presidential election, in 2014 (The Economist).

Brazil’s lower house of Congress approved the main guidelines of a bill that caps government pension payments, a move that Moody’s Investor Service Inc. says may contribute to improving the nation’s credit rating (Bloomberg).

The government has charged a senator with keeping 35 workers in slavelike conditions on his ranch in the Amazon jungle state of Para, the Supreme Court said (New York Times).

Not every Brazilian loves Carnival. The phrase “I hate Carnival” is increasingly rebounding on blogs all over the country, as Brazilians post videos explaining why they don’t like the chaos, the drunkenness, the promiscuity and the sight of people urinating in the street. Does Brazil win or lose with the party (Bloomberg)?

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INTERNATIONAL

While America’s halting path toward accepting the world’s new multipolar reality involves a step backward for every step forward, an exceptionalist violation of sovereignty for every bit of teamwork in places like Libya, other countries are actively working to establish new rules for all nations to follow in the new era. Among those at the forefront of this effort are Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her highly regarded foreign minister, Antonio Patriota. He was in New York last week to advance this effort at the United Nations, and David Rothkopf had lunch with him (Foreign Policy).

President Dilma Rousseff slammed rich nations for unleashing a “tsunami” of cheap money that threatened to “cannibalize” poorer countries such as her own, forcing them to act to protect struggling local industries. Rousseff’s words amounted to some of the highest-profile criticism to date of efforts by the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and others to spur their economies through low interest rates and cheap loans (Reuters).

Brazil has said that developing nations would be happy to provide more money to ease the eurozone’s debt crisis, in return for more power within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (BBC).

Mexico hopes to reach a deal with Brazil next week to keep alive an automobile trade pact between Latin America’s top two economies, but Brazil is going to have to give some ground, Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari said (Reuters).

The upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) will focus on green economy and sustainable governance, Brazil’s Environment Minister Isabella Teixeira said (Xinhua).

The Uruguayan Navy and Coast Guard impeded 13 Brazilian flagged trawlers from entering sovereign waters to fish (MercoPress).

Uruguay’s Minister of Industry and Energy Roberto Kreimerman admitted that Brazil suspended the access of textiles from Uruguay alleging that they were essentially Chinese cloth rolls with minimum input but stamped as Uruguayan manufactured and dispatched to Brazil (MercoPress).

Brazil is eager to finalize a free trade agreement between the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and the Mercosur bloc but believes the petrochemicals sector will be exempted until further study after the signing, said Brazilian Trade and Industry Minister Fernando Pimentel (MercoPress).

Read the interview with Oliver Stuenkel (Post Western World) about Brazil’s international relations at Watershed.

Recognizing the importance of tourism to the U.S. economy, the Department of State continues to refine the visa process in major markets to help attract more visitors to premier U.S. travel destinations – without compromising border security. Streamlining visa processing supports the Department’s “Jobs Diplomacy” initiative to promote America’s economic renewal. Brazil, a key market for tourism to the United States, is a major focus of the Department’s efforts. Visa interview wait times now average just two weeks or less in Brasilia, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro, and less than 30 days in Sao Paulo, the Department’s busiest nonimmigrant visa processing post (State.gov).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

A decision by the United States to cancel a $355 million defense aircraft contract with Brazilian planemaker Embraer has surprised the government of Brazil which had hoped for the development of a bilateral defense program, Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said (Reuters).

The United States is still interested in acquiring a military airplane from Brazil’s Embraer despite cancelling a contract earlier this week due to problems with its documents, a senior U.S. diplomat said (Reuters).

U.S. Air Force officials must quickly redo a competition for 20 airplanes for the Afghan air force after substandard documentation forced the service to scrap a $355 million contract award to Embraer, the top Air Force general said (Reuters).

The reasons for the U.S.to cancel and reconsider the purchase of the Brazilian Super Tucanos derive from a series of factors, some simpler and another strategic. First, there are the American elections this year and much pressure from the local defense industry against any foreign agent entering its domains (Folha).

President Dilma Rousseff will decide by mid-year on a fighter plane for her country, a contract for as much as $4 billion that Boeing Co. (BA) is vying to win, according to a U.S. State Department official (Bloomberg).

A fire broke out at Brazil’s research station in Antarctica, killing two navy personnel and forcing the evacuation by helicopter of about 40 other people, the government said (Reuters).

It may seem odd that a Latin American country with no plausible enemies and vast social problems would be interested in increased military spending. But defense is increasingly occupying the Brazilian media as the country looks to enhance its international profile, realize its dream of a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and expand its domestic arms industry (Bloomberg).

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