Brazil and its backyard

The Economist (print edition),  10/25/2014

Like voters in most democracies, Brazilians pay little heed to foreign policy when choosing leaders. Yet the presidential election on October 26th matters not just to Brazil but to the region. Over the past two decades Latin America’s giant has overcome its introversion and wielded growing influence in its backyard. And on foreign policy, as on economics, there is a clear gap between President Dilma Rousseff of the centre-left Workers’ Party (PT), who wants a second term, and her rival, Aécio Neves, of the centre-right Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB).

Brazil’s greater assertiveness began under Fernando Henrique Cardoso of the PSDB in the 1990s and continued under the PT’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president in 2003-10. Both gave importance to the Mercosur trade block (founded by Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), to South America and to ties with Africa and Asia. Both had reservations about a 34-country Free-Trade Area of the Americas, a plan that Lula helped to kill.

But there were differences, too, partly because of Brazil’s changing circumstances. Lula put far more stress on “south-south” ties and on the BRICs grouping (linking Brazil to Russia, India, China and later South Africa). In Latin America he emphasised “political co-operation”. Relations with the United States were cordial but distant, especially after Lula tried brokering a nuclear deal with Iran which the White House opposed.

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Iran commiserates with Brazil on plane crash

Press TV, 8/14/2014

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham voiced regret over the death of Eduardo Campos in the Wednesday incident, expressing sympathy with the bereaved.

A private aircraft carrying Campos and six other people crashed in a residential area as it prepared to land in Brazil’s coastal city of Santos. Officials blame bad weather for the tragedy that killed all the seven people on board.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has declared three days of national mourning over the deadly incident, which has thrown the October presidential election in the Latin American country into disarray. Rousseff also announced that she would suspend all election campaigning for three days.

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Peres tells Brazil to boycott Iran’s Ahmadinejad

Agence France-Presse/Business Recorder, 10/15/2012

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday told Brazil’s foreign minister his country should boycott Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the future, Peres’s office said. “We expect Brazil to boycott future meetings with Ahmadinejad,” Peres was quoted as saying to visiting Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota in a statement.

In 2010 Brazil’s then president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met Ahmadinejad and helped broker a nuclear trade-off under which Iran would deposit a significant part of its low-enriched uranium stocks in Turkey in return for nuclear fuel enriched to a level sufficient for medical use, but not enough for military ends.

Israel at the time criticised the deal as liable to “radically complicate” sanctions efforts against Iran “When we met in 2010 I told former president Lula that it was a mistake to sit and talk with Ahmadinejad, a leader that threatens the destruction of a people, a leader that denies the Holocaust and a leader that funds international terrorism,” Peres told Patriota.

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Brazil’s cry for Argentina makes ‘social equality’ an issue for Obama and Romney

Eric Ehrmann – Huffington Post,  04/26/2012

After the confrontational expropriation of oil dinosaur Repsol YPF president Cristina Kirchner of Argentina has published a glowing profile of Dilma Rousseff in Time magazine, praising the Brazilian leader for sharing her commitment to “social equality.”

But as politicians and business leaders struggle with the role capitalism is to play in driving Globalism 2.0 and its monetary system, Brazil’s efforts to bring more “social equality” to Argentina, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba have made president Dilma and Brazil’s world view an issue in the media circus that is the U.S. presidential campaign.

With president Barack Obama in a dead heat with the GOP hopeful, the influential Israeli daily Ha’aretz has buzzed up Romney’s claim that Iran will get nuclear weapons if Obama is re-elected. Dilma continues to support Iran’s development of what Brasilia characterizes as a peaceful nuclear program.

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New Brazil creates some distance from Iran

Joe Leahy – Financial Times, 01/24/2012

Iran has attacked Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for overseeing a chilling of ties between the two countries, jeopardising a relationship that had once been a major irritant to the US.

Iran believed Ms Rousseff was undermining the efforts of her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, under whom Brazil had been virtually the only major western country with friendly ties to the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, a spokesperson said in the Brazilian press.

“The president has struck down everything Lula had achieved. She’s destroyed years of good relations,” Brazilian daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo quoted the spokesperson, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, as saying in an interview.

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Iranian adviser accuses Brazil of ruining relations

Simon Romero – New York Times, 01/23/2012

Ali Akbar Javanfekr has been a media adviser to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iran’s efforts to cultivate political support in Latin America at a time of rising international tension over itsnuclear program appear to have encountered a significant obstacle:Brazil, the region’s economic powerhouse.

After President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran took a four-country tour of Latin America this month, during which he met with several outspoken critics of the United States but was notably not invited to stop in Brazil, one of his top advisers took a public swipe at Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, saying she had “destroyed years of good relations” between the two nations.

“The Brazilian president has been striking against everything that Lula accomplished,” Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who has worked as Mr. Ahmadinejad’s top media adviser, said in an interview published Monday by Folha de São Paulo, a leading Brazilian newspaper, in which he compared Ms. Rousseff to her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

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Why Brazil snubbed Iran’s Ahmadinejad

Tom Phillips – GlobalPost, 01/09/2012

Ahmadinejad wasn't invited to dinner in Brasilia. (JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, begins a whistle-stop tour of Latin America today, meeting with Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez in Caracas.

Ahmadinejad, who is facing growing troubles at home and abroad, will then move on to Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.

But in Brazil, the newspapers have focused on another aspect of Ahmadinejad’s tour — the fact that it doesn’t involve South America’s largest economy.

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Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff faces tough presidential task

BBC News, 01/01/2011

With the inauguration on 1 January of Dilma Rousseff, a 63-year-old economist with unproven political skills, Brazil has its first woman president.  PAULO SOTERO , director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, looks at the challenges she faces in governing Latin America’s biggest nation.

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President-elect: Brazil will keep Iran ties, remain global player

Patricia Janiot and Juan Munoz – CNN International, 11/05/2010

Brazil will maintain its ties with Iran, but always for peaceful ends only, the country’s president-elect, Dilma Rousseff, said in an interview with CNN en Español. She added that war is not the way to resolve international conflicts.

“We don’t believe that war is the method to solve conflicts. You will never see Brazil occupying itself with war,” Rousseff said. She spoke to CNN en Español’s Patricia Janiot in her first international interview since winning the presidency on Sunday.

As Brazil plays a increasingly larger role in international affairs, Rousseff said her country is committed to “systematically defending peace in the Middle East and the rights of those countries, including Israel and Palestine, to have their states.”

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Brazil president-elect speaks against Iran stoning

The Associated Press, 11/03/2010

Brazil’s president-elect says it would be “barbaric” if a woman in Iran were executed for adultery.

Dilma Rousseff did not say what she would do about the planned stoning after she takes office on Jan. 1, but Brazilian officials have tried to use their friendly ties with Iran to influence the case.

In August, Brazil offered to take in the woman if her life were spared. Iran rejected the offer.

There has been a world outcry over the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, convicted in 2006 of adultery.

Rousseff said Wednesday that Brazil will continue its policy of dialogue with all nations, regardless of what stance the U.S. or Europe might take.

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