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.
March 11, 2013
Rousseff expressed sincere mourning while also keeping a certain distance from Chavez’s legacy just hours after his death on Tuesday. In a speech, she expressed admiration for the populist leader but also pointedly added that Brazil “did not entirely agree” with many of his policies.
The president and Lula da Silva have over the past ten years espoused a more pragmatic, business-friendly set of policies than Chávez, who was well-known for lashing out at Washington, expropriating companies and intimidating his political rivals.
Those close to Rousseff say she genuinely admired Chávez and his compassion for the poor, and was emotionally devastated by his death from cancer at age 58.
March 7, 2013
The New York Times – Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 03/06/2013
HISTORY will affirm, justifiably, the role Hugo Chávez played in the integration of Latin America, and the significance of his 14-year presidency to the poor people of Venezuela, where he died on Tuesday after a long struggle with cancer.
However, before history is allowed to dictate our interpretation of the past, we must first have a clear understanding of Mr. Chávez’s significance, in both the domestic and international political contexts. Only then can the leaders and peoples of South America, arguably the world’s most dynamic continent today, clearly define the tasks ahead of us so that we might consolidate the advances toward international unity achieved in the past decade. Those tasks have gained new importance now that we are without the help of Mr. Chávez’s boundless energy; his deep belief in the potential for the integration of the nations of Latin America; and his commitment to the social transformations needed to ameliorate the misery of his people.
Mr. Chávez’s social campaigns, especially in the areas of public health, housing and education, succeeded in improving the standard of living of tens of millions of Venezuelans.
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.”
August 6, 2012
The Economist, 06/03/2012
On July 31st Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s president, made his first foreign trip since his cancer treatment in Cuba last year. He joined Cristina Fernández, Dilma Rousseff and José Mujica, the presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, in Brasília to celebrate his country’s formal accession to Mercosur, a regional trade block. Mugging with model planes for the cameras, Mr Chávez also signed off on the purchase by Conviasa, Venezuela’s state-owned national airline, of six planes from Brazil’s Embraer. With Venezuela inside, Mercosur would be a “new pole of world power,” said Ms Fernández. “Those who do not grow, perish,” said Mr Mujica. “We have to look for smart ways to bring in new members.”
Bringing Venezuela certainly was smart—in the sense of cunning rather than wise. Venezuela was first invited to join in 2006, but its admission was blocked because the Senate of the fourth member, Paraguay, refused to ratify it. When Mercosur’s other three members decided last month to suspend Paraguay for a year in response to the lightning impeachment and removal of its president in June, that provided an opportunity to ignore the block’s rules, which call for unanimity in admitting new members.
Asked by a Brazilian newspaper, Estado de São Paulo, if Venezuela had taken advantage of a loophole to get in, Mr Chavez replied with a footballing metaphor. “Suppose that in a football match, Pelé gets a red card for a foul. And then Brazil can’t score the goals it needs to win. And someone says: ‘But Pelé wasn’t playing.’ Well, Pelé was suspended. Paraguay is suspended, it’s not currently part of Mercosur.”
August 1, 2012
Randall Woods – Bloomberg Businessweek, 07/30/2012
Hugo Chavez’s back-door entry into the Mercosur trade bloc led by Argentina and Brazil casts doubt on the future of a pact that has fueled a tenfold boom in commerce between South America’s two biggest economies.
Chavez will attend today a ceremony in Brasilia welcoming Venezuela as a full member of the world’s third-biggest trade bloc after Paraguay was suspended last month over lawmakers’ ousting of President Fernando Lugo. Paraguay’s refusal to ratify Venezuela’s admission had held up since 2006 the country’s entry into the four-nation group, which also includes Uruguay.
Paraguay has contested Venezuela’s membership, winning support from top Uruguayan officials and Brazil’s opposition, who say Chavez’s human rights record and seizure of foreign- owned companies is anathema to a group founded to promote democracy and trade. With Chavez lobbying for a more politicized Mercosur to advance his anti-U.S. agenda, his entry may isolate the group from a trend toward greater openness in the rest of Latin America, former Brazilian diplomat Marcos Azambuja said.
July 3, 2012
The formal incorporation of Venezuela to Mercosur next July will benefit mainly Brazil and Argentina since they could considerably increase their exports to the oil-rich country at the expense of the local production sector weakened by the economic policies from the administration of President Hugo Chavez, according to analysts.
Main producers such as Brazil and Argentina will become the main beneficiaries of the incorporation because they will have greater access to the Venezuelan market, which is highly dependent on imports” said economist Pedro Palma from consultants Ecolatina.
Palma added that Venezuela “has virtually dismantled the private sector production capacity since many companies have been taken over by the state and once under state management they lose competitiveness and their level of productivity.”
January 23, 2012
Associated Press/Washington Post, 01/22/2012
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that his government plans to buy new Embraer jets from Brazil as well as used Airbus jets to expand his country’s state airline Conviasa.
Chavez said Venezuela will negotiate credit with the Brazilian Development Bank to buy up to 20 Embraer jets from Brazil.
Chavez thanked Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff “for the credit they’re going to give us.” He said the estimated cost of 20 jets would be $814 million.
October 31, 2011
AP/Miami Herald, 10/30/2011
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks to the media after meeting with Colombia's Maria Emma Mejia, secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), not pictured, at the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas,Venezuela, Wednesday Oct. 26, 2011. Fernando Llano / AP Photo
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has sent a message of solidarity to former Brazilan leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Chavez says he understands the difficult situation Silva is facing after a cancerous tumor was detected in his larynx on Saturday.
Chavez says he’s recovering from doctors’ removal of a cancerous tumor from his pelvic region in June and his four rounds of chemotherapy.
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.