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.
December 18, 2012
Michael Darden – Brazil Institute , 12/18/2012
The 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.
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, the “proposition 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?
December 11, 2012
Paulo Sotero – CNN, 12/10/2012
This 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.
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…
November 13, 2012
Paulo Sotero - Wilson Center/The Huffington Post, 11/09/2012
The growing presence of Brazilian global companies in the United Stated, complementing traditionally strong American investments in Brazil, has created a two-way street where common interests are more visible and pressure both governments to recognize the benefits of working together or risk paying a political price for not doing so.
Converging economic interests and similar challenges are emerging as the principal driver of United States-Brazil relations in the years ahead. A reelected President Barack Obama and President Dilma Rousseff, at the half mark of her government, are confronted with daunting tasks. Both need to significantly improve the economic performance of their countries in the face of political major 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.
After four years of anemic recovery and a victory on November 6th without a clear political mandate,, President Obama has now to find a path of economic growth that reduces unemployment while avoiding the pitfalls of a fragile fiscal and financial situation, which, if mishandled, could easily throw the United States and the world economy back into recession.
October 21, 2012
Paulo Sotero – Financial Times, 10/19/2012
Democracy is not for the faint-hearted… It requires hard work, constant attention, takes a lot of time to build and can easily be undermined by political polarization, regressive campaign finance rules and deficient laws on political representation. This month, two major events shed light on both the successes and failings of Brazil’s quarter century old, vibrant democracy.
On October 7, municipal elections brought over 115m voters to the polls to elect mayors and councilors in 5,568 cities and towns. A few days later, the country’s Supreme Court returned guilty verdicts in the largest trial of political corruption in Brazilian history.
The municipal elections were the first since the adoption of a new law barring candidates with criminal records. Cast in electronic ballot boxes, votes were tallied and results were published four hours after voting booths closed. There were no legal challenges. In 50 municipalities, including 17 of the 26 states capitals, where no candidate cleared the absolute majority of 50 per cent plus one, the two top candidates will go into a second round on October 28. The top prize is São Paulo, Brazil’s economic capital and home to the country’s third largest public budget.
September 11, 2012
Brazil Institute, 09/11/2012
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May 15, 2012
Joyce Hackel – PRI The World, 05/14/2012
The Library of Congress announced Monday that Brazil’s former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso will receive the John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime intellectual achievement.
Paulo Sotero, who directs the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, says Cardoso essentially forged today’s vibrant Brazil.
“Based on his enormous capacity for dialogue, his enormous intellectual energy, and his activism, he brings people together (to) forge alliances and that puts Brazil on the path that Brazil is on today,” says Sotero.
May 7, 2012
Paulo Sotero – Revista CIDOB d’afers Internacionals, April 2012
ABSTRACT - Viewed by the Lula administration as a relic of the Cold War, the OAS was mostly viewed as an observation post. Diplomats were instructed to maintain a defensive stance and to prevent actions perceived as contrary to Brazilian interests. Indifference turned to ill-disguised anger, however, in the first months of the Dilma Rousseff administration, after the Inter-American Human rights Commission (IHRC) issued an injunction instructing Brazil to cease construction of the controversial Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant. Brazil’s reaction included the recalling of its ambassador to the OAS. This has compounded the OAS’s existential problems by making the organization’s financial position even more precarious. If it goes unresolved, however, the clash could complicate Brazil’s strategy to assert its regional and global leadership as a champion of human rights and multilateralism.
*Article is in Spanish