“You have the right to your own opinions, not your own facts.”

June 30, 2014

Patrícia Campos Mello – Folha de S. Paulo, 6/27/2014

“You have the right to your own opinions, but you don’t have the right to your own facts.”  This phrase, from the great American Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003), sums up well the state of things in the Brazilian press, mainly in the blogosphere.

On Thursday, during a debate with the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in which I participated via Skype, one of those present asked the following question: As the Brazilian media is each time more polarized and partisan, does this demonstrate a maturation of the Brazilian press?

In my opinion, no.  This instead shows that we are nearing the United States’ practice of polarization in the media – and this is bad news. Read the rest of this entry »

Brazil in 2014: Will Rousseff change course?

January 7, 2014

Paulo Soter0 – CNN, 12/30/2013

Editor’s note: Paulo Sotero is director of the Wilson Center Brazil Institute. The views expressed are his own. This is the latest in the ‘14 in 2014‘ series, looking at what the year ahead holds for key countries.

Three consecutive years of disappointing economic performance, with an average GDP growth of barely 2 percent and deteriorating fiscal and external accounts, should be enough to convince President Dilma Rousseff to move Brazil away from the inward policies and micromanaging style she introduced after succeeding her popular mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in January 2011. The same mindset has affected Brazil’s international affairs, with similar results.

A leader with little appetite or patience for diplomacy and focused by necessity on domestic challenges, Rousseff implemented a modest foreign policy agenda when compared to her predecessor and became the first Brazilian president to fire a foreign minister, over a preventable incident. There are both negative and positive incentives for Rousseff to change course as she faces reelection in October 2014.

Read more…

“Protests, bombs, and enthusiasm: the Pope visits Brazil,” featuring Paulo Sotero

July 24, 2013

Forum with Michael Krasny – NPR, 07/24/2013

Director of the Brazil Institute, Paulo Sotero, shared his take on the Pope’s visit to Brazil amidst civil unrest on Forum (NPR), with Michael Krasny.  Guest speakers, including Juanita Darling, assistant professor of international relations at San Francisco State University, Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press reporter, and Philip Pullella, Vatican correspondent for Reuters, discussed the current economic, political, and social landscape of Brazil.

Paulo Sotero is the Director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Click here for audio.

The Brazil Institute mourns the passing of journalist Ruy Mesquita

May 22, 2013

The Brazil Institute, 05/22/2013

Ruy Mesquita, publisher of the influential  daily O Estado de S.Paulo, died Tuesday at 88.  A grandson and son of journalists who helped shape the institutions of the Brazilian republic, from the 1950s Mesquita lived intensely by his country’s struggles to develop as a stable democracy and emerge in the global scene. “He was key in the resistance against the military regime,” said former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, a friend, alluding  to the dictatorship installed in 1964 in Brazil with his newspaper initial support, in the height of the Cold War.

The break with the military came in 1967, after the rulers in Brasilia betrayed their promise to hold elections and pushed the country to a state of emergency to cover up violations of human rights and press freedom. A lawyer with deep liberal convictions, Ruy Mesquita and his older brother, Julio Mesquita Neto, led the fight against censorship, making sure readers would know when editorials and articles were cut by replacing them with verses of Lusíadas, the epic of Portuguese language. An anticommunist, like his father Julio Mesquita Filho, he did not hesitate to hire and protect journalists affiliated with the Communist Party and other leftist organizations. In 1978, Ruy Mesquita conducted a historic interview with union leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva which was instrumental in opening the dialogue between the future president and the conservative elites of São Paulo.

Read more…

Invite: A Conversation with Congressman Henrique Eduardo Alves, Speaker of Brazil’s House of Representatives

May 21, 2013

The Woodrow Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and the Brazil – U.S. Business Council are pleased to invite to the following seminar on

 “A Conversation with Congressman Henrique Eduardo Alves, Speaker of Brazil’s House of Representatives”

Wednesday, May 22nd

9:00 – 11:00 am

WoodrowWilsonInternationalCenter for Scholars

6th Floor Flom Auditorium

Click here to RSVP


Remarks:         Ambassador Anthony Harrington, Chairman, Brazil Institute Advisory Board; President & CEO, Albright Stonebridge Group


Featuring:       Congressman Henrique Eduardo Alves, President, Brazil Chamber of Deputies


Moderator:      Monique Fridell, Executive Director, Brazil – U.S. Business Council Read the rest of this entry »

Brazil’s leftwing leaders mourn Chavez with not-so-veiled criticism

March 11, 2013

Paulo Sotero – Financial Times, 03/11/2013

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff declared three days of official mourning in honour of her late Venezuelan colleague Hugo Chávez Frias, who died on Tuesday in Caracas after a two-year public battle with cancer. “We recognize a great leader, an irreparable loss and above all a friend of Brazil, a friend of the Brazilian people,” she said before leading a minute of silence at a meeting with rural leaders in Brasília carried live on national television.

There was, however, an uncharacteristic twist in Rousseff’s expression of condolences. “On many occasions,” she noted, “the Brazilian government did not agree” with the policies of the Bolivarian leader. Insiders say this was not an extemporaneous remark, but a pre-planned statement calibrated for domestic and international consumption.

Rousseff also put some distance between her government and Venezuelan Bolivarians and their allies by returning to Brasília before the official funeral ceremony on Friday, attended by three dozen leaders, including Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Cuba’s Raul Castro.

 Read more…

Brazil’s Challenging 2013 Outlook

December 18, 2012

Michael Darden – Brazil Institute , 12/18/2012

Dilma, elections, originalThe following is a the event summary for the Brazil Institute event held on 11/20/2012

As the administration of President Dilma Rousseff struggles to reverse the trend of declining rates of economic growth in an adverse global scenario, Brazil’s domestic outlook in 2013 will be impacted by the consequences of two major political events – municipal elections that took place in October and the Federal Supreme Tribunal’s unprecedented hearings of the largest political corruption trial in the country’s history, which concluded with guilty verdicts for 25 of the 37 people indicted. On November 20th, the Brazil Institute convened a panel of experts to analyze and give insight into the landmark events and assess political and social outcomes for the upcoming year.

David Fleischer, professor emeritus at the University of Brasilia, offered an overview of the elections of mayors and city council members in Brazil’s 5,568 municipalities and analyzed trends that emerged from the polls. In the first round of vote held on October 7 the turnout of over 140 million was 7.2 percent higher that of the previous elections held in 2008. The number of female candidates running for office also increased in the mayoral campaigns by 2.5 percent over a four year period, resulting in more women mayors in Brazil.  Compared to 503 females that were elected in 2008, 674 will take office on January 1, 2013, or 12.2 percent of all mayoral positions. However, there was a significant decline in the number of female city council members elected, falling from 8.9 percent of the total in 2008 to 5.2 percent in 2012.

Another trend noticed by Fleischer, as well by other speakers, is the continued electability of incumbents. A majority, 67.5 percent, of mayors running for reelection in the largest cities were given another term. Within parties, 75 percent of those elected belong to seven parties, six of which have dominated mayoral races since 1996. The rise of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), led by the outgoing mayor of São Paulo Gilberto Kassab, was seen as not significant politically, since most of its members came out of the Democrats, formerly the Party of the Liberal Front, which has declined.

Read more…

On multilateralism, sovereignty and the western hemisphere: concepts in jeopardy

December 13, 2012

Luigi Einaudi, 11/08/2012

The Organization of American States Charter declares that “the historic mission of America is to offer to man a land of liberty.”  In reality, of course, the Americas have never been united except in the western mythology of the New World.  Its countries have shifting relationships, sometimes drifting apart, other times coalescing sub regionally. It is nearly sixty years since the historian Arthur Whitaker declared that the Western Hemisphere Ideal, theproposition that the peoples of this Hemisphere stand in a special relationship to one another which sets them apart from the rest of the world” was in irreversible decline.So a question arises:  Do hemispheric relations still have a unique place in this globalizing world?

Read more…


Brazil in 2013: Can Rousseff rise to the occasion?

December 11, 2012

Paulo Sotero – CNN, 12/10/2012

120604025757-dilma-rousseff-story-topThis is the first in a series of entries looking at what we can expect in 2013. Each weekday, a guest analyst will look at the key challenges facing a selected country – and what next year might hold in store.

Editor’s note: Paulo Sotero is director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington D.C. The views expressed are his own.

In her first two years as Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff did the improbable. A neophyte in elective politics seen by many as a mere extension of her revered predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Rousseff is today more popular at home than her creator. Remarkably, she gained the trust of the Brazilian people while her economic team and policies lost investors’ confidence – GDP growth moved in the opposite direction of her approval rating, shrinking from 7.5 percent in 2010 to 2.7 percent in 2011, and somewhere around 1 percent this year.

Read more…

Policy Brief: Pursuing a Productive Relationship Between the U.S. and Brazil

December 3, 2012

Paulo Sotero – Brazil Institute, November, 2012


blog do planalto

Converging economic interests are emerging as the principal driver of U.S.-Brazil relations. A reelected President Barack Obama and President Dilma Rousseff, at the half mark of her government, are confronted with daunting tasks. Both leaders need to scientifically improve the economics performance of their countries in the case of major political obstacles at home and an adverse economic outlook abroad. In both countries, sustainable growth will require investment in infrastructure, education, and innovation more than consumption. How they respond will determine the success or failure of their administrations. It will also affect the two countries’ bilateral relationship and their regional and global standing.

Continue reading the policy brief here…


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