July 17, 2014
Daniel A. Medina – Quartz, 7/16/2014
Last summer, long before before Brazil was demolished 7-1 by Germany in the World Cup, the country faced a crisis of another sort. Millions of citizens marched in cities across the country to demand wholesale reforms to the country’s crippled public health care system, which faced huge shortages of doctors and a failing infrastructure.
That’s when the tiny island nation of Cuba stepped in to this neglected area of the world’s seventh-largest economy.
Under Brazil’s Mais Médicos (“More Doctors”) program, which pays foreign physicians to work in underserved areas of the country, Cuba sent 4,500 doctors to rural areas in the Amazon and to the underserved slums known as favelas in its booming cities. The move angered Brazil’s doctors’ unions, who protested outside hospitals, and the Brazilian Medical Association filed a lawsuit in the country’s Supreme Court questioning its existence. Protestors denounced the program as only a temporary solution to a systemic problem, saying the changes should come internally, not by importing doctors.
February 21, 2013
Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 02/20/2013
Cold War politics appeared to take over Brazil’s Congress on Wednesday during a visit by Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, with leftists heckling her as a pawn of U.S. imperialism and others praising her for standing up to Cuba’s communist government.
Sanchez, Cuba’s best-known dissident, has been followed by boisterous sympathizers of the Cuban government since she arrived in Brazil on Monday on her first trip abroad since receiving a passport to leave the Caribbean island.
After the screening of a documentary about Cuba that she was due to attend in northeastern Brazil was disrupted by demonstrators, Brazilian opposition politicians invited Sanchez to the capital Brasilia for a showing of the documentary in Congress.
January 23, 2013
Eduardo J. Gomez – America’s Quarterly, 01/18/2013
Brazil is once again seeking to enhance its international profile. But this time, rather than engaging in close partnerships with its fellow BRICS club members—Russia, India, China, and South Africa—Brazil is collaborating with a smaller nation: Cuba.
Since assuming office in 2011, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has worked closely with Cuban President Raúl Castro to strengthen their partnership in the hopes of further bolstering Brazil’s economic advantages and regional influence. She is achieving this by providing financial and technical assistance to help restructure Cuba’s economy while at the same time advancing Brazil’s economic interests through strategic investments in port infrastructure. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’ quickly deteriorating health has created incentives for Dilma to fortify her ties with Castro, gradually replacing Venezuela—Cuba’s biggest benefactor—as Cuba’s most important ally in the region.
But instead of bullying Cuba into following Brazil’s lead, Dilma is also gaining something in return for her citizens: technical assistance from Cuba to address educational illiteracy, a long-time developmental challenge for Brazil. In so doing, Cuba benefits by displaying its impressive success in education reform, while highlighting its potential to be an amicable partner in hemispheric affairs.
December 18, 2012
AP/The Miami Herald, 12/18/2012
Brazil’s foreign minister says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez seems to be improving after cancer surgery.
Brazil’s state-run news agency Agencia Brasil cites Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota as saying that Brazilian officials are monitoring daily the health of Chavez.
Patriota says that the latest news on Chavez indicates “stabilization and even positive developments.”
March 14, 2012
Timerman and Patriota expressed concern about the “possible presence of nuclear weapons in the South Atlantic area”. (Mercopress)
Argentina and Brazil Foreign Affairs ministers said in Sao Paulo both countries are committed that the next Summit of the Americas to be held in April in Colombia is the last without the participation of Cuba.
“This has to be the last summit in which Cuba does not participate”, said Argentine minister Hector Timerman, standing next to Brazil’s Antonio Patriota. The presence of Cuba is necessary so that “finally we have a Summit of the Americas”
Patriota recalled that at the previous summit then President Lula da Silva had openly expressed the support and need for Cuba to attend the meeting.
July 18, 2011
Charlie Devereux – Bloomberg, 07/16/2011
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he’ll return to Cuba today to receive chemotherapy, ending rumors he was considering Brazil as an alternative venue for cancer treatment.
“I’m going to begin the second stage of this slow and complex process of recuperation,” Chavez, 56, said yesterday on state television. “The second stage will start with chemotherapy that has already been planned in scientific detail.”
Chavez, who has led South America’s largest oil producer since 1999, was operated on June 20 in Cuba for an undisclosed form of cancer after an initial operation to remove a pelvic abscess on June 11. The self-declared socialist said July 13 that doctors removed a baseball-sized tumor from his pelvic area. Chavez said modern technology will allow him to continue to lead his government from Cuba.
June 10, 2011
Andres Oppenheimer – The Miami Herald, 06/04/2011
There is a little-noticed but potentially important development in Latin America’s human rights front — Brazil, the biggest country in the region, is becoming a little less supportive of tyrants around the world.
Unlike former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — who did a good job at home, but spent much of his time praising foreign tyrants — President Dilma Rousseff is taking small steps to take distance from some of the world’s worst human rights offenders.
International human rights advocates and diplomatic sources tell me that they are noticing a change for the better in Brazil’s human rights votes in the United Nations since Rousseff took office on Jan. 1.