October 21, 2014
Mauricio Saverese – RT, 10/21/2014
About a year ago everyone expected an easy ride for President Dilma Rousseff in her reelection campaign. Now, in the final week of Brazil’s election season, she is technically tied with opposition’s Aécio Neves.
About 20 percent of voters, who reject both candidates or seem too tired of politics to show up on October 26, are hearing desperate claims from the incumbent and her antagonist. It is likely Brazilians only know what will happen after the last vote is counted. That uncertainty makes the country’s future a big mystery. And that includes a big chunk of South America’s powerhouse foreign policy.
Neither Rousseff nor Neves want to give away much of what they intend to do if victorious. But the president’s closest allies have given hints. Rousseff’s foreign advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia says “South America is a big asset” and insists Mercosur – the region’s free trade zone – must be strong to keep Brazil’s position as a Latin American spokesman. Neves’ aide Rubens Barbosa, a former ambassador to Washington, says Brazil does better by imploding Mercosur (which includes Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), so there is a deal with the European Union and diplomacy that is friendlier to the US.
October 17, 2014
Andrew O’Reilly – Fox News Latino, 10/17/2014
In a sign that the icy relations between Brazil and the United States in the wake of the National Security Agency spying scandal are beginning to thaw, the South American nation has expressed an interest in buying a handful of military helicopters from Boeing, the Chicago-based company said.
The Brazilian Army is looking to purchase several CH-47 Chinook helicopters from Boeing in a deal that would add to an already growing list of potential weapons deals between the U.S. and Brazil. Boeing executives said that they were “pretty positive” about the deal and that the company views Brazil as an important partner for both commercial and defense projects.
“We have had some early discussions about the Chinook with the Brazilian Army,” Boeing spokesman Scott Day told Reuters, adding that the proposed deal was not a very big one. “We still view Brazil as a very important country for Boeing.”
October 17, 2014
Natalie Alhonte Braga – The World Post, 10/17/2014
It’s no wonder that Brazil is known for its novelas. The road to the presidential elections have been anything but dull, and current numbers show that this election is the closest in recent history. Early in the race, the tragic death of presidential hopeful Eduardo Campos catapulted his running mate Marina Silva to the top of the ticket.
The week leading into the first round election on October 5, Marina was polling neck and neck with incumbent President Dilma Rousseff. Political pundits in both Brazil and abroad expected a tight second round race between these two former Lula ministers, but instead, center-right former Senator and Governor Aécio Neves’s second place finish knocked Marina out of the race entirely.
On October 26, Brazilians will take to the polls again to decide who will lead their country for the next four years. We are now in the road to the run-off and it is anyone’s race. What is certain, however, is this election’s increasing importance to the international community.
October 8, 2014
Julia E. Sweig – The World Post, 10/8/2014
Wall Street made its preferences known well before the first round: the markets wanted change. Anything but Dilma, and if that meant Marina Silva, then by god she would be molded into the right market-friendly container! Washington had a slightly more sanguine view of the Marina surge, but most close Brazil-watchers likewise seized on Marina as the Obama-esque “change agent” who, embodying the demands of the 2013 protests, might propel Brazil to the next phase of political reform.
Moreover, Marina’s sudden openness to agribusiness and trade deals, her gripping personal narrative, and her environmentalism suggested an opening for the Obama administration to re-kindle the near dormant embers of the bilateral relationship.
Surprise! Time to re-calibrate expectations and ask some questions. With Aécio Neves pulling in a respectable 34 percent of the vote, in an outlier scenario that he can draw enough for Marina’s votes to prevail over Dilma, what would a PSDB government signal to Wall Street and Washington?
October 1, 2014
Alan Bjerga – Bloomberg News, 09/30/2014
The U.S. and Brazil reached a $300 million agreement to resolve a dispute over cotton subsidies that has bedeviled the two nations for more than a decade.
The accord signed today in Washington involves a one-time U.S. payment to the Brazil Cotton Institute in return for that nation dropping all claims against the U.S., the U.S. Trade Representative said in a statement. Brazil will also not pursue any new World Trade Organization cotton claims while a five-year farm bill Congress passed in February is in effect.
“Today’s agreement brings to a close a matter which put hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. exports at risk,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The United States and Brazil look forward to building on this significant progress in our bilateral economic relationship.”
September 24, 2014
Joe Palazzolo and Rogerio Jelmayer – The Wall Street Journal, 9/23/2014
Brazilian authorities have filed a criminal action against eight Embraer SA employees accusing them of bribing officials in the Dominican Republic in return for a $92 million contract to provide the country’s armed forces with attack planes.
The criminal complaint, filed under seal and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, marks one of the first known efforts by Brazil to prosecute its citizens for allegedly paying bribes abroad, a milestone achieved with help from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The U.S. agencies are also investigating the company’s dealings in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere and have provided their Brazilian counterparts with evidence, according to a request last year for legal assistance from Brazilian prosecutors.
September 18, 2014
Associated Press – The Independent, 09/17/2014
Marina Silva, a front-running presidential candidate who grew up in the Amazon jungle and could become the first black to lead Brazil’s government, said Wednesday that if elected she’ll improve ties with the U.S. and strongly push for human rights in nations like Cuba.
She spoke exclusively to The Associated Press in her first interview with a foreign media outlet since being thrust into Brazil’s presidential campaign after her Socialist Party’s original candidate died in an Aug. 13 plane crash.
Silva, a former Amazon activist, senator and environment minister who pushed policies that helped Brazil slash the rate at which it was destroying the jungle, has found herself at the center of a suddenly hot presidential race pitting her against President Dilma Rousseff, with whom she’s running in a dead heat in the latest polls. The incumbent represents the Workers Party, which Silva helped found three decades ago.