October 23, 2014
J.P. – The Economist, 10/23/2014
Business barons and financiers are not known for taking to the streets. Yet on October 22nd thousands turned out in the centre of São Paulo in support of Aécio Neves, the centre-right challenger to President Dilma Rousseff, of the left-wing Workers’ Party (PT), in a tight run-off election on October 26th. Together with spouses and children they sauntered down São Paulo’s Avenida Faria Lima, a thoroughfare conveniently located close to many of their offices.
It was a sight to behold—perhaps unprecedented in election history, and not just in Brazil. Besuited types with crisp, initialed shirts toting “Aécio” flags. Snazzily clad socialites, wrapped in pashminas to keep out the unseasonable chill, chanting anti-PT slogans. Everyone snapping selfies with pricey iPhones (most Brazilian rallies are cheaper Samsung affairs). The only thing missing from this “cashmere revolution” was champagne flutes—and Mr Neves himself, campaigning in his home state of Minas Gerais.
“Most of Brazilian GDP is here,” observed one private-equity boss with four Aécio stickers on his checked shirt, shortly after bumping into a pal from a big American technology firm. In that sense, the event played right into PT propaganda, which relentlessly paints Mr Neves as a pawn of the rich elite. On October 21st Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Ms Rousseff’s popular predecessor and political patron renowned for his earthiness, went so far as to compare Mr Neves’s Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB) to the Nazis for its apparent intolerance of the less advantaged. (Mr Neves had previously compared Ms Rousseff’s formidable marketers to Joseph Goebbels.)
September 23, 2014
Cristiane Lucchesi and Blake Schmidt – Bloomberg, 09/22/2014
Sao Paulo’s most expensive real estate got even pricier this year, surging 10 percent as wealthy buyers in search of safe neighborhoods ignored Brazil’s recession, according to one of the city’s biggest brokerage boutiques.
Apartments in high-end communities such as Vila Nova Conceicao are selling for about 25,000 reais ($10,600) per square meter, said Amir Makansi, partner and chief executive officer at Anglo Americana Consultoria de Imoveis S/C Ltda, which caters to high-net-worth individuals, banks and multinational corporations.
“The market for wealthy individuals is always surprising,” Makansi said in an interview.
September 17, 2014
Vincent Bevins – The Los Angeles Times, 09/16/2014
Clashes between police and squatters resisting eviction paralyzed Sao Paulo on Tuesday morning, as streets were emptied and the center of South America’s largest city was filled with tear gas and smoke from at least one torched city bus.
Large-scale demonstrations and street conflicts have taken place periodically across Brazil since June 2013, but had largely subsided since the beginning of the World Cup soccer tournament this June.
Chaos returned on Tuesday, however, after the forced eviction of members of the FLM, or Front to Fight for Housing, one of the many groups living in abandoned buildings in the city’s center. More than 70 people were arrested in the melee.
September 5, 2014
Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 9/5/2014
From his front door to the banks of the Cantareira reservoir, José Christiano da Silva used to stroll only a hundred metres when he first moved to the area in 2009. Today, amid the worst drought in São Paulo’s history, he must now trek a kilometre across the dried-up bed before he reaches what’s left of the most important water supply for South America’s biggest city.
“It’s frightening to look at,” says the retiree, standing on cracked mud. “In the past, we’d already be under water here.” After the driest six months since records began 84 years ago, the volume of the Cantareira system has fallen to 10.7% of its capacity, raising alarms for the nearby urban population of 20 million people and the most important economic hub on the continent.
The drought, affecting Brazil’s southeast and central regions, has prompted rationing in 19 cities, undermined hydropower generation, pushed up greenhouse gas emissions and led to squabbles between states vying for dwindling water resources.
August 29, 2014
Douglas Main – Newsweek, 8/28/2014
The forests surrounding some of Brazil’s biggest cities, like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, are home to a dizzying variety of life, with iconic species like golden lion tamarins (pictured above), maned three-toed sloths and red-tailed parrots. A total of 2,200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are found in Brazil’s Atlantic forests, and nearly 200 types of birds live there and nowhere else.
But these forests are disappearing as farmers clear them for agriculture and as towns spread outward; less than 15 percent of the original forest cover remains.
The good news is that scientists have calculated that it would cost a relatively small amount to pay the area’s farmers to protect their own land by not developing it. By their estimate, it would cost Brazil $198 million annually—or 6.5 percent of what the country currently spends on agricultural subsidies—to preserve enough land to harbor a sustainable level of flora and fauna, the scientists wrote in a study published today (August 28) in the journal Science.
August 28, 2014
The state of Sao Paulo is facing its worst drought in eight decades, threatening the water supplies for 20 million people — but you wouldn’t know that by asking Brazil’s elected officials.
Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin, who is seeking re-election in October, has been minimizing the crisis for the region, which includesSouth America’s largest city. The reaction is a far cry from the response in drought-stricken California, where Governor Jerry Brownhas declared a state of emergency and residents are being fined for watering their lawns.
Sao Paulo state is already rationing water for more than 2 million people in 18 cities. The capital city’s main reservoir is now at only 12 percent of capacity, according to the water utility Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, known as Sabesp. While the utility received a warning at the end of July that it risks running out of drinking water in 100 days, officials vow the situation is under control.
August 27, 2014
Jonathan Moules – Financial Times, 8/26/2014
The TechnoLatinas, as South America’s digital founders are collectively known, have a strong presence in the financial capital of Brazil.
São Paulo has the largest and most powerful start-up ecosystem in this most populous of South American countries, with a spread of companies from early stage to more established.
As the main financial centre of Latin America, it hosts almost all the offices of multinational corporations present in the region. There is also a big opportunity locally in terms of market size, thanks to São Paulo’s population of 11.8m.