Brazil Congressional Committee Votes in Favor of Impeachment

AP/The New York Times, 04/11/2016

A congressional committee voted Monday to recommend that the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff move forward, bringing the possible ouster of the embattled leader a step closer.

Rousseff is facing impeachment proceedings over allegations her administration violated fiscal rules to mask budget problems. Her opponents say the process is in line with the wishes of the majority of Brazilians, while Rousseff’s supporters call it a blatant power grab by her foes.

The special congressional commission voted 38-27 to recommend the continuation of the impeachment process — comfortably more than the 33 votes needed to hand the pro-impeachment camp a victory.

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Pictures capture daily battle against Zika mosquitoes

Becky Little,  Tomás Munita- National Geographic, 02/25/2016

How do you stop disease-carrying mosquitoes from multiplying? That’s the question plaguing the Brazilian government, which has been sending army soldiers door to door on a mission to fight Zika—the virus suspected of causing microcephaly in infants born to infected mothers.

 

“They are giving leaflets saying you have to keep your backyard clean from rubbish,” says photographer Tomás Munita, who has been documenting Recife, a northeastern state capital with a population of 3.7 million. Any stray items left outside, even a bottle cap, can collect rainwater and become a breeding ground for the Aedes aegyptimosquitoes that are thought to be the main carriers of Zika.

But in Brazil’s favelas, or poor neighborhoods, Munita says it’s hard to imagine that the government’s information campaign will have much effect.

Rousseff Bets on Mosquito Hunt to Regain Popularity

Andrea Jube – Valor, 02/11/2016

President Dilma Rousseff bets on the fight against the Zika virus and the microcephaly epidemic as a vaccine to contain the progress of Operation Car Wash investigations on former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. In the opinion of Rousseff aides, the affected image of her predecessor hits the president directly and makes her more vulnerable to the impeachment that although asleep, it has not been buried. She will command the mega-operation scheduled for next Saturday, when 220,000 military officials will take the streets to battle the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Presidential aides heard by Valor recognize that the deconstruction of Mr. Lula’s image spills in Ms. Rousseff, although she has chosen not to make a public defense of her predecessor. “Lula is her political guarantor and of our government,” says an advisor close to President Rousseff. For him, with Mr. Lula weakened politically, the government is further weakened.

The Car Wash siege of Mr. Lula has narrowed down in recent days. On the eve of Carnival, Judge Sérgio Moro authorized the Federal Police to open a specific inquiry to investigate the connection of a ranch in Atibaia, São Paulo, visited by the former president, with construction company OAS, one of the targets of the operation. The property is registered in the name of two partners of Fábio Luís Lula da Silva, son of Mr. Lula: Fernando Bittar and Jonas Suassuna, partners at Gamecorp, which renders services to telco Oi. None of them have commented the allegations yet.

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Exclusive: Brazil Says Zika Virus Outbreak Worse Than Believed

Anthony Boadle, Lisandra Paraguassu, 02/02/2016

Brazil’s top health official said on Monday that the Zika virus outbreak is proving to be worse than believed because most cases show no symptoms, but improved testing should allow the country to get a better grip on the burgeoning public health crisis.

Health Minister Marcelo Castro told Reuters that Brazil will start mandatory reporting of cases by local governments next week when most states will have labs equipped to test for Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that has quickly spread through Latin America. The virus has no vaccine or cure at present.

On Monday, the World Health Organization declared the Zika outbreak to be a global emergency, a decision that should help fast-track international action and research priorities.

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Brazilian presidency maps out the number supporters of Dilma in the government as a counteraction to those who have already publicly announced their adherence to the impeachment

In order to prevent president Dilma’s impeachment, the presidency is conducting a thorough research regarding the origin of the political nomination in government jobs in Brasilia and in other states.  Its objective is to trace back the original political nominators of public workers in order to have an accurate number of supporters and to prevent nominations from congressmen who publicly announced their support for the impeachment, such as the president of Congress, Eduardo Cunha. Once they have a precise number of political supporters, it becomes easier to negotiate the nominations for the new committee in favor of the worker’s party government.

The presidency also understands the difficulty in tracking down every government nominations throughout the years. Given the extensive amount of political parties and affiliations, it is challenging to have an exact number of people. Currently, the number of supporters in Congress is estimated to be 250 votes against the process of impeachment. Although 250 votes are enough to offset the process of impeachment, it is still considerably low considering previous party coalitions.

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Summary by Julia Fonteles, Staff Intern at the Brazil Institute and a Junior at the George Washington University.

Brazil Attorney General Seeks Key Lawmaker’s Ouster

Mauricio Savarese, Brad Brooks – AP, 12/16/2015

Brazil’s attorney general went to the Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking to strip the leader of the House of Deputies of his seat.
House Speaker Eduardo Cunha is the nemesis of embattled and unpopular President Dilma Rousseff — and earlier this month began impeachment proceedings against her.

But Cunha faces federal charges of accepting at least $5 million in bribes in connection to a widespread kickback scandal at state-run oil company Petrobras.

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Brazil’s Top Court Suspends Impeachment of Rousseff

Anthony Boadle – Reuters, 12/09/2015

Brazil’s Supreme Court suspended impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff until it rules on the validity of a secret ballot that stacked a congressional committee with opponents seeking to oust the leftist leader.

The ruling provided respite for Rousseff as she struggles to survive splits in her ruling coalition and fend off the effort to unseat her. She is also dealing with a severe recession and a widening corruption investigation at state-run oil company Petrobras that has implicated many of her allies.

Rousseff is not under investigation in the kickback scandal. But her former point man in the Senate, Delcidio Amaral, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of obstructing the Petrobras probe, has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. That could lead to new disclosures involving her ruling Workers’ Party (PT).

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Brazil government preparing measures to boost vehicle exports

Luciana Otoni – Reuters, 7/09/2015

Brazil’s government is preparing measures to increase vehicle exports, part of a plan to bolster its faltering automobile industry, the country’s most important manufacturer, the head of the country’s automakers association said on Thursday.

The measures are expected to include financing for autoparts makers from state-owned banks and the reduction of import tariffs in some bi-lateral trade accords, said Luis Moan, head of the association known as Anfavea.

The government and Anfavea plan to discuss the measures further in 15 days.

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Brazil’s latest growth agenda banks on slicing Amazon with railroad tracks

Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 6/9/2015

Brazil’s latest infrastructure led growth agenda includes a R$40 billion ($13.1 billion) railroad that slices right through the Amazon rain forest. And it largely depends on China.

Now that China is interested in the now-called Trans-Pacific Railroad, Brazil decided to put it on its list of infrastructure concessions announced on Wednesday. The railroad is an old idea that’s been around since 2011. Back then, only Peru was in on the project. Now China has interest and, most likely, money to spend. But considering that this cuts through some of the rainforest, even guys at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will face serious opposition from non-governmental organizations in the area. In fact, this train is probably a train to nowhere even if the AIIB or the China Development Bank invested in the project.

The thing is, the railroad accounts for a sizable 20% of the new wish list of Brazilian infrastructure. Brazil’s government said today that it expects investments in railroads to sum to R$86.4 billion, almost half of it coming from the revamped railroad project announced earlier this month with China and Peru.

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Brazil Real advances after Rousseff backs spending cut measures

Filipe Pacheco – Bloomberg Business, 06/08/2015

Brazil’s real appreciated the most among Latin American currencies after President Dilma Rousseff said measures to shore up the budget need to be strong enough to boost growth.

Criticism of Finance Minister Joaquim Levy for pursuing tax increases and spending cuts is unfair, Rousseff said in an interview published by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper Monday. Levy has vowed to improve Brazil’s fiscal accounts after the worst budget deficit on record. He has increased taxes and frozen 69.9 billion reais ($22.2 billion) of this year’s budget.

“It is important for the market to see Rousseff defending him,” Jefferson Rugik, a currency trader at Correparti Corretora de Cambio in Curitiba, Brazil, said in telephone interview. “She’s being vocal in her attempts to seek confidence in her administration.”

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