News from Brazil

Brazil Politics & Government News

In Brazil on June 8, 2012 at 10:09 am

BRAZIL WEEKLY IS TAKING A BREAK AT THE MOMENT

WE WILL BE BACK SOON!

POLITICS

The present is fast catching up with the country of the future. Brazilians woke last week to news of unexpectedly anemic economic growth, slumping industrial production and a plunging stock market. The administration of President Dilma Rousseff has been trying to ride out the global economic slowdown by devaluing its currency and raising import barriers. For all of Rousseff’s complaints about an external “monetary tsunami” and predatory trade, the real threats to Brazil’s remarkable economic achievements over the past two decades can be found at home (Bloomberg View).

Brazil announced plans to protect an additional 10 000km² of land and pledged not to let economic woes stop it from implementing other measures to protect the environment (MercoPress).

Former President Lula da Silva admitted during a television interview that he will be presidential candidate in the 2014 elections if current Head of State Dilma Rousseff does not run for re-election (MercoPress).

The Brazilian Supreme Court decided seven years after the mensalão scheme was revealed, that the case will be tried on August 1st. The verdict, however, is expected to be given in September. The mensalão scheme was the biggest scandal of the Lula administration and was described by the Attorney General’s Office as an illegal political financing scheme organized by the PT to guarantee support for the government in Congress in 2003 and 2004 (Folha).

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INTERNATIONAL

Robert Zoellick, who steps down as World Bank president on June 30 when his five-year term ends, said Brazil could play a greater role in global security by preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. He referred to a proposal in April by former U.S. assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs, Bernard Aronson, that Brazil should voluntarily end its uranium enrichment program and call on other nations, including Iran, to follow its example (Reuters).

The U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht has filed a lawsuit challenging a recently signed Florida law barring local governments from hiring companies that do business in Cuba or Syria. The lawsuit claims the measure is “unconstitutional and unenforceable” and argues that the federal government, not states, has the authority to enact laws involving foreign affairs (Reuters).

Pedro Juan Caballero is a strange city. A smugglers’ paradise, it straddles the border with its Brazilian twin, Ponta Porã. Chinese, Arab and Paraguayan merchants sell an array of products of dubious origin, including contraband cigarettes, Uzi submachine guns, even a whiskyesque spirit called Etiqueta Negra (Black Label) (The New York Times).

King Juan Carlos I of Spain arrived in Brazil this week for high-level meetings aimed at strengthening bilateral economic ties with Brazil. Although mutual business interests, new deals and the Eurozone crisis comprised the official agenda, the ongoing immigration issues were also addressed, with both countries reaffirming their respect for each other (The Rio Times).

Brazilian and Spanish entrepreneurs established a joint commission to explore markets in Asia and the Middle East (Xinhua).

Trade differences between Mercosur leading partners Brazil and Argentina will be overcome with negotiations and promoting productive integration, coincided business people, diplomats and academics from both countries at a seminar in Rio do Janeiro (MercoPress).

Leaders from Latin America’s most open economies will sign a trade accord today to increase commerce along the Pacific rim of the region, distancing themselves from countries such as Argentina and Brazil that are raising import restrictions amid the global slowdown (Business Week).

DEFENSE & SECURITY

A Brazilian air force cadet died when he was ejected from a training plane for unknown reasons when the aircraft was still on the ground (Fox News)

SPLIT SECOND POLLS

SOCIAL

The purchasing power of the lower social classes, known as “classes C and D,” also known as the new Brazilian middle class, has not jumped in spite of lower interest rates. According to economist heard by Agência Brasil, the slowdown shows that the expansion of consumption that was to be spearheaded by the new middle class, although not exhausted, has run into a wall: family indebtedness (Agencia Brasil).

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