Brazil’s Marina Silva wants better US ties

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.

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Research briefing: Institutions for Macroeconomic Stability in Brazil

September 4, 2014

Briefing based on IRIBA working paper 7, “Institutions for macro stability: Inflation targets and fiscal responsibility,” by José Afonso and Eliane de Araújo – International Research Initiative on Brazil and Africa, 08/2014

In the 1960s, military governments promoted far reaching structural economic reforms, creating innovative and stable institutions based on standard international theories and best practice at the time.

In this context, the 1960s saw the launch of the Government Economic Action Plan (PAEG), which was intended to promote stabilisation and a return to growth. The fight against inflation took priority because it was impossible for the country to progress while suffering from hyperinflation.

With an initial focus on monetary institutions, financial reform was focused on creating long-term financing mechanisms, avoiding inflationary public sector financing, and re-attracting private sector investment to industry, in order to drive growth.

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Brazil pledges support for Venezuelan transition but takes distance from Chavez populism

March 11, 2013

MercoPress, 03/11/2013

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.

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IBSA on the 10th anniversary of the Brasilia Decleration

December 20, 2012

Franis A. Kornegay – SABC, 12/15/2012

Franics Korenegay was a Public Policy Scholar for the Africa Program at the Wilson Center from June-September 2012

Last year, South Africa hosted the 5th summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral Dialogue Forum. In 2013 it is India’s turn. This will mark the 10th anniversary of the Brasilia Declaration that led to the trilateral build up toward the summits of heads-of-state of the three countries that have occurred over the last several years. Meanwhile, all three countries have become members of BRICS, the symbolic vanguard among emerging powers leading the non-Western ‘Rest’ through a transition of relative rise amid Western relative decline.

BRICS has garnered considerably more attention than IBSA and is taken much more seriously as a revisionist actor given the great power status of Russia and China compared to the ‘middle power’ profiles of India, Brazil and South Africa. Russia may be something of a ‘has been’ as the former superpower competitor of the US when it was the Soviet Union. But it remains at least a regionalized great power nonetheless. China on the other hand has effectively emerged.

Given perceptions of Sino-Russia as strategic competitors of ‘lone superpower’ America, BRICS carries a weight that middle power IBSA will never carry. And, it has been gaining momentum to a point where former Indian envoy Rajiv Bhatia, director-general of the Indian Council on World Affairs was moved recently to question what he interprets as IBSA’s relevance.

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Recommended Reading – A Escola da Liderança by Sergio Danese

September 9, 2009

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“Leadership is exerted, but also learned” states Sérgio Danese, in his new book, A Escola de Liderança (The School of Leadership). A career diplomat who served in Washington, Mexico, Paris and Buenos Aires and was Brazil’s Ambassador to Algeria until earlier this year, Danese asserts that in order to understand diplomatic operations and leadership one needs to think analytically and understand Brazil’s history. His book investigates that very question—the history of and analytical thought in Brazilian foreign affairs. Furthermore, Danese released A Escola de liderança at an opportune time for never before has Brazil played such a key role and faced such a multifaceted challenge in global and regional diplomacy.

Currently serving as special advisor in charge of the Ministry of Exterior’s relations with Congress and State Governments, Danese argues that Brazil’s international strategy needs to revolve around the identity of a developing South American country. In Brazil, all political, economic and business projects use this as basis for their international leadership projects.

Diplomatic affairs also need to reflect the country’s history. The author traces the roots of diplomatic pragmatism back to the Portuguese crown, reminding his readers that it was Portugal’s pragmatic external policies that allowed the small country to defend itself against many threats. According to the book, realistic and strong leadership is necessary in the world today. Danese argues that diplomacy must be recognized as “more than anything, a projection of power,” if not, it will be seen as empty rhetoric.

Also the author of the renowned book, Diplomacia Presidencial (Topbooks, 1999), Sérgio Danese’s A Escola de Liderança serves a great addition to his collection. The future has finally come for Brazil. The country’s transition to become a key player in global affairs makes it essential to understand Brazil’s external policies. This book advances that understanding.

Read a review of the book (portuguese)


Unasur urges meeting with US over Colombia

August 29, 2009

Daniel Schweimler-The Financial Times,08/28/2009

A summit of South American leaders gathered in Argentina has called for a meeting with President Barack Obama to help solve a dispute over a planned US military build -up in Colombia. Unasur – the Union of South American Nations – also wants to see the details of the deal between Washington and Bogota, which would grant US troops access to seven military bases in Colombia to fight, according to the agreement, drug-trafficking and terrorism.But Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan president, told the summit in the plush ski resort of Bariloche that the plan was part of a new US military strategy.

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