Obligatory voting, socialism and corruption: Brazilians tell us what they think about Rouseff’s re-election

October 30, 2014

The Guardian, 10/29/2014

A woman, being re-elected in a traditionally sexist Latin country as ours, first of all means that we can learn to be a little less prejudiced. Secondly, but no less important, it means that Brazil has decided to be more inclusive. The last 12 years have seen huge advancements for the country: we have left UN’s hunger map and have brought nearly 50 million people into the middle classes. This is the real impact of a leftist government – underprivileged people can now plan to go to university (public universities in Brazil are 100% free and the Labour government has built almost 200 of them). There are more schools and hospitals spread around the country than ever before.

Today, around 56 million people claim benefits and some 12 millions have given them up in the past years because they felt they no longer needed this government support. This means that many people in low paid jobs were able to go back to school, better themselves, make plans for the future – which of course makes all the difference! People who used to live from hand to mouth can now plan to buy a house through government programmes, can get a decent education and move up in life.

We cannot deny that there’s been corruption, there’s been embezzlement and white collar crimes. But to believe that the right-wing candidate was going to be the one to end it is childish and naive! He himself is involved in many corruption scandals and it’s hard to see why he’d do anything about it! Corruption is part of the political game and only a reform in the system would make it possible to end it – and this has never been in the right-wing agenda, but Dilma has already said she plans to have a referendum to know what people want on that matter.

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Brazilians to elect a new president in an atypically sour mood

October 24, 2014

Paulo Sotero – The Brazil Institute, 10/24/2014

With their country’s economy at a standstill, Brazilians go back to the polls this Sunday in an atypically sour mood to decide whether to extend the mandate of President Dilma Rousseff for four more years or replace her with Senator Aécio Neves, a popular former governor of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s second richest state after São Paulo. Opinion polls released this week showed Rousseff gaining on Neves for the first time, who pulled a stunning turnaround to end in second place in the October 5th first round of vote, way ahead of once favorite candidate, environmentalist Marina Silva. Failures in first round opinion polls were made. However, the unusual volatility of the race even made analysts that seemed convinced of Rousseff’s reelection hedge their bets by avoiding making definitive predictions. One pollster who worked for campaigns of gubernatorial candidates of the president’s coalition told former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at a rally held in the Southern capital of Porto Alegre on Wednesday that his analyses indicated Aécio Neves could win the race.

Three weeks of second round campaigning that ended Friday, October 24th, with a nationally televised debate between the two contenders did little to lighten the poisonous political atmosphere created in the race’s initial 40-days of highly negative electoral tactics used by all major candidates, but especially by Rousseff’s camp. Read the rest of this entry »


Brazil Stocks Sink As Jim Chanos Slams Petrobras

October 22, 2014

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 10/21/2014

Sometimes all it takes is a celebrity investor to say something bad about a market and the investor riff-raff go running for the door. On Monday, famed investor and regular CNBC guest Jim Chanos said Brazilian state owned oil company was not an investment, but an investment scheme. He was referring to what most Petrobras watchers already know — that the company is used by the government as a revenue stream, and as a means to control inflation as it keeps a lock on gasoline prices.

Chanos said this on a day when Petrobras shares had down their usual mega-drop, falling 6% in a day. Less than 12 hours later, the stock opened 6% lower on Tuesday following Chanos’ guidance. He’s laughing all the way to the bank this week.

And while every broker and trader on the Bovespa floor in São Paulo needs something to tell newswire reporters about the wild drop in Brazilian equities today, it is very unlikely that the recent poll by Datafolha showing incumbent Dilma Rousseff neck and neck with challenger Aécio Neves is any reason for investors to sell Brazil. Business Insider gets it. Linette Lopez wrote in a headline today that Chanos Tanked Brazil.

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Brazilians Are Shocked, Shocked at Corruption!

October 21, 2014

Antonio Prata – The New York Times, 10/21/2014

We Brazilians suffer from a curious cognitive dysfunction, which occurs with the same frequency in our population as lactose intolerance does among the Japanese, or the inclination for punning among the English. We have the ability to be outraged by corruption, while engaging in our own petty versions of it.

As the second round of presidential voting approaches on Sunday, this evil is spreading like an epidemic. In bars, on the streets and on social networks, advocates of Dilma Rousseff, the Workers Party candidate for re-election, and Senator Aécio Neves, of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, never tire of reminding us of the “robberies” that their rivals commit.

Workers Party supporters cite the re-election scandal in which Social Democrats were accused of bribing congressmen to approve a constitutional amendment allowing Fernando Henrique Cardoso to compete again for the presidency in 1998. Social Democrats’ supporters mention the “Mensalão,” a case in which congressmen allied with the Workers Party regularly received money diverted from Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s illegal campaign contributions. Those not involved in the party squabbles tend to blame all the politicians, as if the politicians were a separate species, able to corrupt our reputable citizens.

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Brazil Fixated as ‘Human Bomb’ Revelations Rock Elections

October 21, 2014

Sabrina Valle and Juan Pablo Spinetto – Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/20/2014

When in April 2012 Paulo Roberto Costa was eased out of his job as the refinery chief for Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4), the state-run oil giant, it was treated as a routine shakeup, with Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Foster praising him as a “dear colleague” who would be “hard to replace.”

Costa, who was also a company director, seemed unruffled. Within months, he had set up a consulting company in Rio de Janeiro’s up-and-coming Barra de Tijuca beach district, with ambitions to raise about $120 million to build a shipyard and marine repair terminal.

This would be a family affair. During a champagne party to celebrate, he showed reporters the tidy office –- holding mementos from his 35 years at the company known as Petrobras –- that he said his wife had decorated and that he planned to share with one of his two daughters who would work alongside him.

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Brazil’s Rousseff Admits There Was Wrongdoing at Petrobras

October 20, 2014

Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 10/19/2014

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said Saturday that there was embezzlement at government-controlled oil producer Petróleo Brasileiro SA .

The company, known as Petrobras, has been at the center of a corruption scandal allegedly involving people connected to Mr. Rousseff’s Workers Party, or PT.

“I will do all I can to reimburse the country,” Ms. Rousseff said during a news conference at the presidential residence late in the afternoon. “There was” deviation of public money, she said according to a transcript of the interview published on her official campaign website.

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Scandal Over Brazilian Oil Company Adds Turmoil to the Presidential Race

October 20, 2014

Simon Romero – The New York Times, 10/19/2014

Paulo Roberto Costa was living an oilman’s dream.

He had a house in a luxurious gated community here. He bought a yacht and drove an armored Range Rover. He had more than $25 million stashed in bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

But that dream evaporated recently when the police arrested Mr. Costa and charged him with orchestrating a bribery scheme on an epic scale at Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company, and funneling the proceeds to the governing Workers Party and its allies while enriching himself.

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