Brazil: Losing Young Voters

August 12, 2014

Anjalee Khemlani – Latin Post, 8/10/2014

Brazil is seeing the lowest population of registered teen voters for the upcoming October election, according to reports.

La Terra cited a local newspaper reported that the number of voters has fallen by one-third since the last election and has reached numbers as low as 2002.

In Brazil, the legal age to vote is 18, but 16- and 17-year-olds are allowed to vote as well. And about 60 percent of young voters don’t align with any political party. Mayoral elections have a higher voter turnout, about 43 percent, but state and national elections are less than that.

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Brazil’s Petrobras: Tarred by corruption

August 11, 2014

Joe Leahy and Samantha Pearson – Financial Times, 8/10/2014

After years of allegedly secret dealings, the men at the centre of what is potentially Brazil’s biggest corruption case made a careless mistake.

In May 2013, convicted black market money dealer Alberto Youssef bought through third parties a luxury car for his friend and alleged accomplice, Paulo Roberto Costa, a former executive at state-oil company Petrobras.

But while negotiating the purchase of the R$250,000 ($110,000) Range Rover Evoque in São Paulo, they put their names together on a seemingly harm­less document: a proof of ad­dress. It was the only occasion in the mountains of police investigation documents seen by the Financial Times they voluntarily appeared together.

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Special Report: Documents suggest multinationals aided Brazil military regime

August 5, 2014


Brian Winter – Reuters, 8/5/2014

When João Paulo de Oliveira was fired in 1980 by Rapistan, a Michigan-based manufacturer of conveyor belts, his troubles were only beginning.


In ensuing years, the military dictatorship that ran Brazil arrested or detained him about 10 times. Police cars passed by his house in São Paulo’s industrial suburbs, he said, and officers would make throat-slashing gestures or wave guns at him.

Oliveira’s apparent offense: Being a union organizer during an era when the military considered strikes to be tantamount to communist subversion.

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Videos of police crimes spur Brazilians to confront a longtime problem

August 5, 2014

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 8/5/2014

The footage of the two officers chilled viewers of the prime-time Brazilian TV show “Fantástico.”

Filmed by a camera in the front seat of their patrol car, the video obtained by the program showed the police officers after they picked up three teenage boys on June 11 in central Rio de Janeiro — an area afflicted by street crime and violent muggings often perpetrated by teenage boys. The officers had driven the boys to a nearby forested, hilly area; the video captured them nonchalantly discussing “discharging the weapon a little.”

The camera switched off when they parked the car in an isolated area. By the time it started recording again, one boy, 15, lay shot and left for dead. A second boy, 14, had been shot and killed. The third boy, 15, had been released before the shooting.

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Brazil probes $10 million embezzled from Red Cross

July 28, 2014

Anastasia Moloney – Thomson Reuters Foundation, 7/28/2014

Brazilian authorities are investigating the embezzlement of 10 million dollars of humanitarian funds from the Brazilian Red Cross.

The ongoing investigation comes after an audit, commissioned by the Brazilian Red Cross last year, which revealed millions of dollars in voluntary contributions and donor funding had been siphoned off.

“The funds collected from two years of campaigning by the Brazilian Red Cross from 2010 to 2012 for four campaigns, including Somalia, the Japan tsunami, floods in Rio de Janeiro and a national dengue campaign did not reach where they were supposed to go. The funds were diverted,” said Paulo Roberto Costa, secretary general of the Brazilian Red Cross.

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Brazil’s leading anti-corruption Justice announces he is stepping down

July 2, 2014

MercoPress, 6/30/2014

“He came to say goodbye, given that he will retire next month,” Renan Calheiros told reporters after a private meeting with the jurist. “It was a surprise and we’re very sorry, since he’s one of the best models the country has,” the senator added.

The chief justice met earlier Thursday with President Dilma Rousseff to inform her of his decision.

Barbosa, 59, was the first black jurist to head Brazil’s Supreme Court, elected by his 10 fellow justices in October 2012.

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Fifa’s corruption divides Brazilian football from its roots

May 28, 2014

Owen Gibson – The Guardian, 5/26/2014

It will surprise precisely no one who has taken even a passing interest in his life and career, but Eric Cantona is no great fan of football’s governing bodies.

Having recently returned from Rio de Janeiro, where he has been making a documentary about Brazilian football and politics that will receive its UK premiere at Amnesty International’s Sidelines film festival next month, he has a jaundiced view of Fifa’s modus operandi.

As a player he spent much of a mercurial, stellar career at odds with the establishment and retirement has not mellowed him. Now, as a film-maker, he is taking aim at the power structures that underpin the game.

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Brazil is tired of being scolded

May 27, 2014

Vanessa Barbara – The New York Times, 5/26/2014

 By now, Brazil should probably have been grounded for life, without video games or dessert.

Last month, a vice president of the International Olympic Committee, John Coates, said that Rio de Janeiro’s preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics were the worst he had ever seen.

Before that, Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA — the Federation of International Football Associations — claimed that Brazil was further behind in its preparations for this summer’s World Cup than any previous host nation, even though it had had seven full years to prepare. Then, in March, FIFA’s secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, declared we could risk being “the worst organizers” of the “worst event.” He had previously said that Brazil needed “a kick up the backside.”

Well, that was harsh. Brazilians, long treated as obedient children on the world stage, have always submitted to the superior wisdom of foreign authorities. Fifty years ago, after President João Goulart was deposed by a right-wing military coup, the American presence in our political scene was so conspicuous that a humorist announced a mock-campaign for the United States ambassador: “Enough of middlemen — Lincoln Gordon for president!”

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Brazil’s love of “pork” explains obesity levels

May 8, 2014

Joe Leahy – The Financial Times, 5/7/2014

Looking for a job where you barely have to turn up for work, get paid about 27 times the minimum wage and can retire early on the handsome pension benefits? If the answer is “Yes”, why not try Brazil’s Congress?

One recent recruit – whose name must be withheld to protect the guilty – tells of how she passed the tough course to qualify as an analyst in Congress in Brasília and arrived at her post, ready and enthusiastic, to start work. Her conditions were hardly onerous: she was required to work eight hours a day for R$19,000 ($8,500) a month. But even this was too much in the eyes of her manager, who told her to stop embarrassing her co-workers and go home after only four hours – like they did.

Tales of public servants abusing their positions at taxpayer expense are hardly confined to Brazil. But as Latin America’s biggest country gears up for presidential elections in October, the topic of big and wasteful government, while the subject of grumbles, barely features in the general debate.

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