August 22, 2012
Brian Winter – Reuters, 8/22/2012
(Reuters) – When President Dilma Rousseff announced a $65 billion privatization of Brazilian highways and railroads last week, she could hear air horns and furious chanting coming from outside the presidential palace.
“Dilma, why have you abandoned us?” read a hand-made sign held up by one of the several hundred striking public-sector workers who had gathered to demand wage increases.
For anyone who follows Brazilian politics, the juxtaposition was surprising: a left-leaning president from the Workers’ Party, which has its roots in the 1980s trade union movement, auctioning off government property to private investors while jilted public servants protested outside.
August 14, 2012
World News Australia, 8/14/2012
The Brazilian president has received the Olympic flag, as IOC boss Jacques Rogge warned Rio de Janeiro has to “work harder” to prepare for the Games.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has received the Olympic flag, as the competition’s world governing body warned the country has to “work harder” ahead of the Rio Games in 2016.
Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes flew into Rio de Janeiro from London with the flag on Monday, marking the official handover of the Games.
August 3, 2012
Each Friday, through the Brazil Portal feature “The Week in Review”, the Brazil Institute will highlight Brazil’s news topics in one concise summary.
Last Friday, July 27, 2012, Brazil experienced a contentious moment following the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. In attendance was President Dilma Rousseff, who became surprised as she watched Marina Silva, an Amazon rainforest campaigner carrying the Olympic Flag into the stadium. While Silva is an affluent figure for environmentalism, several agents from the Brazilian government were angered that the International Olympic committee chose someone in opposition of the Rousseff government. Being that Brazil is next to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the country must now consider how they will approach the ceremony. Paulo Sotero of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’s says rather than succumbing to a 2016 Olympic ceremony of Brazilian propaganda, Brazil should illuminate its hardships to glorify its dignified prosperity.
Likewise, the London games shed light on the fact that Rio has a big seat to fill as host of both 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics and some have even said this is a daunting prospect for Brazil. Despite this doubt, Brazil has announced various infrastructure projects such as building training facilities for World Cup. After a very contentious discussion of plans to build and Olympic stadium at the expense of relocating some 4,000 and their homes in some of Rio’s favelas in March 2012, Brazil has made apparent progress this week after introducing new initiatives to deliver social programs to the favela-dwellers. For now, it seems all eyes are on Brazil to see how they plan to move forward to prepare.
Following the annexation of Venezuela to the Latin American free trade organization Mersocur, many commentators shed uncertainties for the future of partnership. While Argentina and Brazil have been particularly concerned about Chavez’s inclusion, the two nations have maintained friendly trade relations, evidenced by Embraer’s recent sale of aircraft to Venezuela. Likewise, Brazil’s regional prominence shows the nation’s power to maintain the organization’s cohesiveness.
On Wednesday August 1, 2012 the Brazilian Supreme Court examined the corruption scandal involving former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, amongst dozens of others, accused of laundering government funds in return for votes. The case could drastically hurt Lula’s reputation, the Worker’s Party’s, and also Rousseff’s, considering she was hand-picked by Lula himself. Despite the myriad of criticisms that the Lula government faces, this scandal evidences a major change for the better in Brazil’s judicial system. Where in the past impunity was the norm, the corruption scandal is now following through with democratic practices of trial and the possibility of conviction.
July 27, 2012
Pedro Fonseca – Reuter’s, 7/24/2012
LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Friday her government will unveil more measures to stimulate the economy in the next few months, including investments in ports, airports, railroads and highways.
Speaking to reporters in London, where she is attending the opening of the Olympic games, Rousseff also said Brazil’s economy will grow at a faster rate in coming months, despite the impact of the global economic crisis.
“We will move forward with our counter-cyclical program in August and September,” she said, referring to the slew of stimulus measures Brazil has deployed since the beginning of the year, such as tax breaks to stimulate consumer demand.
June 27, 2012
Compiled by Elizabeth Sweitzer – Brazil Institute, 6/27/2012
Photo credit: Sam Beebe, Ecotrust
The outcome of last week’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development foreshadowed the need for continued international cooperation concerning the environment, while also pointing to the economic implications of sustainable development. While the Conference’s outcome was met with mixed feelings, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered optimistic remarks on various international achievements while signaling to the U.S.’s most pertinent environmental initiatives. In her speech on June 22, Clinton urged nations to develop partnerships with private-sector industries, announced various U.S. initiatives to fund sustainable projects in developing nations as well as Brazil, and addressed promotion of women’s rights as integral aspects of sustainable development. Importantly for U.S.-Brazil relations, the speech also elucidated the nations’ joint commitments to urban sustainability projects and forest conservation.
Despite the U.S.’s assurance that their efforts will curb deforestation, the status of the Forest Code bill remains contentious in Brazil. The original Forest Code which dates back to 1965 is admittedly a very controversial document; it both sets protections on the forest while giving agribusiness sectors access to logging in order to farm. As a result, Brazil faced the blame for erosion of the world’s rainforest in some of its most vulnerable regions, including riverbanks and areas of incredible biodiversity. It was precisely these incidences which prompted the most recent revision of the forest code in 2012. Although President Dilma Rousseff vetoed parts of the proposed bill, many environmental activists still argue that the bill needs to be vetoed in its entirety.
The twelve most controversial sections, including a decree that would give amnesty to illegal deforestation prior to 2008, were amongst those sections vetoed. Ruralistas, farmers who grow on cleared land in the Amazon, argue that they need to Forest Code to maintain an income and support Brazil’s booming agribusiness sector. Various economists also suggest that keeping the bill will be necessary in order to avoid a harsh rise in food prices and economic turmoil. Other environmental activists contend that enough arid land already exists, and that Brazil could gain fiscal benefits from the international carbon market through forest preservation, especially considering the fact the rainforest absorbs some 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
The government now has until September 25, 2012 to revise the forest code. Nevertheless, this debate remains entrenched in whether or not President Rousseff’s congressional support will be erased in the event she does ultimately veto the Forest Code. While she currently enjoys popular support for keeping Brazilian unemployment at a historic low, her efforts to promote social equality could be tested by the fact that ruralistas and the entire Brazilian agribusiness sector will be directly affected by a veto.
Even in the event the Forest Code is ultimately vetoed, Brazil faces another indirect factor. If the U.S.’s economic position changes, increased deforestation may occur due to renewed demand for commodities from the Amazon. Indeed, while the U.S. has recently experienced a weakened demand for corn and ethanol fuel from Brazil, Obama has been increasingly eyeing Brazil’s oil resources whilst Brazil cannot yet confirm its ability to supply the amount of oil the U.S. would need.
June 11, 2012
BBC News, 6/12/11
Brazil enjoys the “privilege” of having the world’s biggest rainforest and can be proud of its conservation efforts, President Dilma Rousseff has said.
Ms Rousseff was speaking just days before the UN sustainable development conference begins in Rio de Janeiro.
Speaking on her regular Monday radio broadcast, Ms Rousseff highlighted data showing deforestation at a record low.
She recently vetoed parts of a forest law but critics say the bill still relaxes environmental rules too much.
Ms Rousseff said she was proud that Brazil had managed to curb deforestation of the Amazon region.
She said it was “the result of the government’s strong action” in policing environmental crimes and promoting less aggressive development policies.
March 19, 2010
Andre Soliani and Francisco Marcelino-Business Week, 03/19/10
A Brazilian court has ordered President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to pay 5,000 reais ($2,803) for campaigning on behalf of his chosen successor last year while inaugurating a government-built sports complex.
The country’s highest electoral tribunal agreed with a complaint by the opposition Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, that Lula used the event in a Rio de Janeiro slum to promote the candidacy of his Cabinet chief, Dilma Rousseff.
At the May 2009 occasion, before Rousseff became the Workers’ Party candidate, Lula told a crowd of supporters shouting her name that “I hope it’s correct the prophecy that says the voice of the people is the voice of God,” Rio de Janeiro’s O Globo newspaper reported.
March 3, 2010
Andre Soliani and Adriana Brasileiro-Business Week, 03/03/10
Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who twice defeated President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the 1990s, said that while Lula is “unbeatable” today, his popularity won’t be enough to elect his chosen heir.
Dilma Rousseff, the candidate of Lula’s Workers’ Party, will have to rely on her own performance to beat opposition contender Jose Serra, 67, Cardoso said. In Brazil, voters choose their president on a candidate’s character and personality, not the party or who supports them, Cardoso said.