Haitian Migrants Turn Toward Brazil

August 20, 2014

Emily Gogolak – The New Yorker, 8/20/2014

At 7:30 on a recent morning, dozens of people were already outside the Brazilian embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a white stucco building in the suburb of Pétionville. Often there are hundreds, some with visa appointments, and many more waiting in hopes of one. Workers hurried up the slope to the upscale enclave from the dusty downtown below; Jalousie, a shantytown of pastel-painted cinderblock homes, hovered above. “Today makes one year and six months that I’ve been coming here every day,” said Saintadele Ladouceur, a thirty-nine-year-old mother of two. She is from Delmas, one of the Port-au-Prince districts hit hardest by the earthquake in 2010.

The 7.0-magnitude quake, which leveled much of Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, killed an estimated two hundred and thirty thousand people, and left more than a million and a half homeless. It was, as Paul Farmer has put it, an “acute-on-chronic” event: there were countless chronic problems in Haiti, but they became acute after the earthquake. The World Bank estimates that about eighty per cent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

At just past eight o’clock, a call of “Silence. Silence. Silence!” rose from the crowd outside the embassy. The phone lines had opened, and anyone with a cell phone was trying to get a visa appointment. The embassy does not have an online system for the visa process because applicants have limited access to computers. Embassy officials also decided that it would be better to give everyone a chance each day than to set appointment times weeks or months in advance. There was a collective sigh of frustration: a busy tone. The officials told me that, on an average day, they miss more than twelve hundred calls. With a staff of six, they can take no more than forty appointments daily.

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Lula urges Brazilians to give Rousseff a second term

August 19, 2014

Fox News Latino, 8/19/2014

Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, one of Brazil’s most popular politicians, came all-out Tuesday in favor of the campaign to reelect his successor, Dilma Rousseff, assuring voters they can support her without qualms.

With the campaigns for the Oct. 5 elections starting Tuesday on television, the ideal medium for getting political messages across in Brazil, Lula burst onto the small screen with a powerful message in favor of a second four-year term for his political protege.

“Everyone knows that my second term was better than the first” and “that’s how it will be with Dilma,” Lula said, appealing to what Brazilians remember about his 2003-2011 tenure.

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Brazilian Economic Policy Secretary Optimistic About Growth

August 19, 2014

Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 8/19/2014

True to its habit of offering a steady flow of rosy economic forecasts, the Brazilian government is expecting the second half of 2014 will be better than the first, a top official said Monday.

Brazil’s economy expanded by a meager 0.2% in the first quarter of this year compared with the previous quarter. Second-quarter results aren’t out yet, but analysts expect them to be about as bleak.

That’s disappointing for officials hoping the economy would grow faster this year than the modest 2.5% pace clocked in 2013. In the central bank’s latest weekly survey of about 100 private-sector economists released Monday, the group projected gross domestic product would rise 0.79% this year, down from its prior forecast of 0.81%.

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Brazil’s “Dalai Lama of the Rainforest” Faces Death Threats

August 19, 2014

Fabiola Ortiz – Truth Out, 8/18/2014

Davi Kopenawa, the leader of the Yanomami people in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, who is internationally renowned for his struggle against encroachment on indigenous land by landowners and illegal miners, is now fighting a new battle – this time against death threats received by him and his family.

“In May, they [miners] told me that he wouldn’t make it to the end of the year alive,” Armindo Góes, 39, one of Kopenawa’s fellow indigenous activists in the fight for the rights of the Yanomami people, told IPS.

Kopenawa, 60, is Brazil’s most highly respected indigenous leader. The Yanomami shaman and spokesman is known around the world as the “Dalai Lama of the Rainforest” and has frequently participated in United Nations meetings and other international events.

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Silva surges in Brazil election poll, runoff looks certain

August 19, 2014

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 8/19/2014

Marina Silva’s entry into Brazil’s presidential race will almost certainly force the October election into a second-round runoff and the environmentalist could even unseat President Dilma Rousseff, according to a poll released on Monday.

It showed Silva with the support of 21 percent of voters, almost three times more than center-left candidate Eduardo Campos, who she is poised to replace on the Brazilian Socialist Party’s ticket after his death last week in a plane crash.

Support for Rousseff in the survey by polling firm Datafolha was unchanged from last month at 36 percent and remained at 20 percent for centrist and market favorite Aecio Neves, showing that Silva’s surge came among voters who were previously undecided.

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The 2014 Brazilian Elections: The current situation

August 19, 2014

Juliana Moraes-Pinheiro – Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 8/18/2014

The 2014 Brazilian elections have demonstrated a series of extraordinary events. Since the end of the authoritarian military dictatorship almost 30 years ago, ordinary Brazilians have increasingly participated in the country’s democratic political process. The practice of politicians “buying votes” with the help of blackmail, along with false promises has become increasingly rare as Brazilians are better informed about their candidates and less skeptical about the country’s electoral system. It is not as easy to manufacture political support as it was in the past.

While Brazil has many political parties, two parties in particular have come to dominate the Brazilian political stage – one leaning left while the other leans to the right. Americans will find this scenario all too familiar, as in the United States; only the two main parties have been able to vie for higher political positions. This bipolar arrangement makes consensus difficult within Brazil’s governing institutions. In this election, a center-left party, the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), was ahead by 9% in recent polls. However, with the death of its presidential candidate, Eduardo Campos, in a tragic plane crash, the hopes for change has become far out of reach.

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China Touts Its Importance In Brazil

August 19, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 8/18/2014

Chinese diplomats in São Paulo reminded the locals just how important that country is to Brazil.  And doesn’t Brazil know it.

Four years ago, China became Brazil’s leading trading partner, surpassing the U.S..  So far this year, Brazilian companies, led by commodities exporters, shipped $28 billion worth of goods to China compared to $20 billion to the U.S.

The two BRIC economies “should further advance current ties to make the partnership a model for interaction between developing countries,” Chinese Consul General Chen Xi reportedly said in São Paulo on Aug. 11 during an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary diplomatic ties between China and Brazil. The ceremony was co-hosted by the City Council of Sao Paulo and the Brazil-China Friendship Association. It was attended by about 200 that included entrepreneurs and Chinese and Brazilian officials, the China Daily reported from Brazil’s biggest city.

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