We will end up with an overestimation of the party leaders, says Marina’s right hand man [PORTUGUESE]

September 22, 2014

Natuza Nery and Marina Dias – Folha de S. Paulo, 9/22/2014

Folha de S. Paulo interviews biologist João Paulo Capobianco, who has worked closely with Marina Silva, about her intentions for the upcoming presidential race.

Folha – The economist Eduardo Giannetti, ally of Marina, said that she prefers to grow at 3% with economic sustainability at 7%. Is this true?
Capobianco – Marina would not make a trade-off like that. Brazil has an enormous challenge of having social inclusion that cannot forego growth. The issue is to separate growth from the mentality of pushing for growth at any price, as is the vision of the current government. In this mindset, it does not matter if I create a million conflicts because I have the idea that creating the Belo Monte dam is the best thing for the country.

Is she against Belo Monte?
No. That is another myth, the idea that Marina is against hydroelectric power. The issue is how to make a project sustainable from an economic, social, and environmental standpoint.

But growth with sustainability is costly.
How is it costly? I think that the contrary is true. What is costly is not doing it.

Read more [in Portuguese]…

Brazil vote may affect diplomatic ties

September 22, 2014

Adriana Gómez Licón – Buenos Aires Herald, 9/21/2014

More than a decade of Workers Party rule has seen Brazil prioritize ties with its leftist regional neighbours, from helping muscle socialist Venezuela into the Mercosur trade bloc to financing a billion-dollar transformation of an industrial port in Cuba. But if President Dilma Rousseff fails to fight off the surging candidacy of reform-minded Marina Silva before presidential voting in October, South America’s largest economy could reset its focus.

Silva was thrust into the Socialist Party’s presidential nomination when its candidate of choice, Eduardo Campos, died in a plane crash last month. Since then, her anti-establishment profile has propelled her to a neck-and-neck race with Rousseff.

Silva says she would re-emphasize ties to the United States and Europe, mostly by working to land trade deals with each. Such moves could cause tension with Mercosur, which prohibits members from making bilateral deals without the group’s approval.

Read more…

Brazil’s quilombos, founded by escaped slaves, offer a window to the past

September 22, 2014

Donna Bowater – Al Jazeera America, 9/20/2014

To listen to Conceição Maria Viana, a descendant of escaped slaves, is to hear the voice of Brazil’s once silenced past, buried deep in the forest amid the babassu palm trees.

Viana’s grandfather, Benedito Zacarias Serra, was a runaway slave who founded one of thousands of clandestine settlements known as quilombos before slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888.

Today, 126 years after slavery ended, Serra’s quilombo lives on as a testament to the resilience of Afro-Brazilian culture, with about 100 families celebrating many of the same traditions — and facing many of the same challenges — from when Santo Antônio dos Pretos was founded.

Read more…

Brazil Suffers Slow Growth With Lula China Policy Sowing Doubts

September 22, 2014

Jessica Brice, Ney Hayashi and David Biller – Bloomberg, 9/21/2014

In 2004, Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and 400 executives went on a six-day trip to China. The mission was simple: Encourage companies to strengthen ties with the Asian nation to bolster growth at home.

A decade later, ties between Brazil and China have never been stronger. Growth at home is stagnant.

Lula’s decision to court China and at the same time spurn some U.S. efforts to bolster trade has led to a dependence on the commodity-hungry nation and deepened a drop in manufacturing. In May 2004, the month Lula visited China in what he called his government’s “greatest trip,” manufactured goods made up more than half Brazil’s exports and commodities less than a third. Last month, industrialized goods had plunged to 37 percent and raw materials made up almost half.

Read more…

Brazil: Schoolboys wear skirts in protest after trans girl fined for wearing female uniform

September 22, 2014

Nick Duffy – Pink News, 9/21/2014

A group of boys at a Brazil school have donned skirts, after a transgender girl was fined by teachers for wearing the “incorrect” uniform.

17-year-old Maria Muniz, who recently came out as trans at São Cristóvão do Colégio Pedro II, was disciplined by teachers and handed a fine after she wore a skirt to school, instead of the regulation boys’ trousers.

The school claimed that their Code of Ethics did not permit “male” students to wear female uniforms – but was forced to backtrack on the decision when the girl’s classmates decided to protest by all wearing skirts to school too.

Read more…

Like Lula, Marina Silva can refresh Brazil’s tired politics

September 22, 2014

Misha Glenny – Financial Times, 9/22/2014

Brazilian elections often produce the unexpected on the day but this presidential campaign looks like it might top them all. In the space of a month, President Dilma Rousseff has gone from shoe-in to fighting for her political life in the October poll.

What makes the election even more extraordinary in this conservative country is that the other frontrunner, like the president, is a woman. Both candidates have overcome adversity. Ms Rousseff was tortured as a political prisoner under the military dictatorship in the 1970s. Her rival is Marina Silva. Illiterate until the age 16, she then rose from poverty through civic activism to the post of environment minister under Ms Rousseff’s predecessor.

The two served together in the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, the great symbol of the Workers’ party. But, although both are nominally leftwing, there are big differences in policy and style, accentuated by a mutual personal disdain.

Read more…

Brazil’s household survey: Slower going

September 22, 2014

J. P. – The Economist, 9/21/2014

Brazil is, famously, one of the world’s most unequal countries. Income of the richest 10% of the population is 38 times that of the poorest tenth. The ratio in Poland, which has similar income per person, is just eight to one. But at least the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT), in power since 2003, has been able to claim that, unlike in most other places, Brazilian inequality has fallen consistently on its watch. On September 18th it seemed this trend had come to an end. Data from the annual household survey, a mini-census of 150,000 families, showed an uptick in Brazil’s Gini coefficient, from 0.499 in 2012 to 0.500 in 2013 (0 signifies everyone has an identical income and 1 means that a single household takes everything).

If this was unwelcome news for President Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking a second term in an election two weeks from now, the next day offered hope of a respite. The national statistics office (IBGE), which compiles the survey, announced that it contained “extremely serious errors”, caused by applying the wrong weights to some of Brazil’s regions. Revised figures show that the Gini in fact edged down to 0.497.

Other tweaks—not to mention the very public cock-up—offered less for Ms Rousseff to cheer about. Brazil’s median inflation-adjusted household income rose by just 2.3% between 2012 and 2013, not 4% as originally thought. Illiteracy dipped from 8.7% to 8.5%, not to 8.3%.


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