Lessons for Brazil from US prison mistakes

Maria Laura Canineu and Cesar Munoz – Human Rights Watch, 10/31/2015

The United States is providing early release this weekend for 6,000 inmates who have been serving federal sentences for non-violent drug crimes — the biggest one-time release of inmates in US history. It’s a sign of a tectonic shift occurring in the United States, which keeps more people locked up than any other county. US politicians from both parties and even police chiefs have come to agree that mass incarceration does not enhance public safety.

It’s a move Brazil should examine closely.

Brazil holds the dubious distinction of incarcerating the world’s fourth-biggest prison population. While the number of people behind bars has gone down in the top three countries since 2008, Brazil is heading in the opposite direction. Its prison population has multiplied almost sevenfold in a quarter of a century, to more than 600,000 inmates, who are held in facilities with a total capacity of 377,000.

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Amid Crisis, Rousseff Seeks Closer Ties with the U.S.


Paulo Sotero – The Huffington Post, 4/17/2015

Confronted by calls for her impeachment in street protests fueled by a deteriorating economy and a deepening investigation on massive corruption at state oil giant Petrobras, a weakened President Dilma Rousseff sees improving relations with the United States as part of the solution to Brazil’s and her own mounting challenges.

Following a Saturday April 11 meeting with president Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas, in Panama, Rousseff said concerns caused by the 2013 revelations of the National Security Agency surveillance activities in Brazil were resolved and confirmed she will visit Washington this year. The announcement of the June 30th gathering at the White House put the Brazil-U.S. dialogue back on track following a period of estrangement that cost the U.S. the loss of a major defense contract and frustrated plans to elevate Brazil-U.S. relations to a new level of engagement.

Praised by Rousseff for his decision to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba, the American leader has scored points by enhancing U.S. ties with its largest regional neighbor at a time when Brazil is experiencing its most severe political and economic crisis in two decades. Rousseff’s official visit to the U.S. will not have the frills of the state visit planned for October 2013, which was derailed by the NSA revelations, but was welcomed by the business communities and economic officials in both countries, who hope it will send a positive reassuring message to markets and help to restore investors’ confidence in Brazil.

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Paulo Sotero is the Director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Ohio attorney general files motion to join suit against Brazil’s Petrobras

Will Connors -WSJ, 2/9/2014

The attorney general from Ohio said Monday that his office has filed a motion on behalf of Ohio pensioners to join a lawsuit against Brazilian state-run oil firm Petrobras , alleging that the oil company at the center of a vast corruption scandal violated U.S. federal securities laws.

Petrobras is already facing more than a dozen class-action lawsuits in the U.S., including from the city of Providence, R.I., but the suit from Ohio’s pension fund appears to be the most serious legal threat yet to the company.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement that the motion has been filed on behalf of the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System, and that his office “has a responsibility to evaluate if companies and their executives are defrauding Ohio pensioners.”

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United States Subpoenas Brazil’s Petrobras

Adriana Gomez Licon – Associated Press, 11/25/2014

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed documents in its investigation into corruption allegations at Petrobras, Brazil’s state-run oil giant said.

In a statement late Monday, Petrobras pledged to “cooperate with the United States public authorities with the same dedication it has been cooperating with Brazilian public authorities.” Petrobras acknowledged the documents requested were “related to an investigation into the company initiated by the SEC” and said the materials would be forwarded to the U.S. market regulator following consultations with the company’s U.S. and Brazilian attorneys. Brazil’s largest company had already hired two law firms, one local and the other based in the U.S., in order “to conduct an independent internal investigation,” the statement said.

Shares of the energy giant are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, which allows the SEC to conduct its own investigation into Brazil’s largest company, long considered a crucial motor for the country’s development.

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Biden to meet Rousseff as Brazil-U.S. ties begin to thaw

Brian Winter – Reuters, 3/28/2014

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden plans to meet withBrazil‘s leader when he attends the World Cup in June, an official with knowledge of the visit told Reuters, a sign that relations between the two countries are thawing after a fight over National Security Agency spying last year.

The meeting with President Dilma Rousseff is slated to take place in Brasilia, the capital, likely after Biden attends a still-undetermined game in the global football tournament, the official said on condition of anonymity.

A White House official declined to comment. A spokesman for Rousseff did not respond to a request for comment.

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Policy Brief: Pursuing a Productive Relationship Between the U.S. and Brazil

Paulo Sotero – Brazil Institute, November, 2012


blog do planalto

Converging economic interests are emerging as the principal driver of U.S.-Brazil relations. A reelected President Barack Obama and President Dilma Rousseff, at the half mark of her government, are confronted with daunting tasks. Both leaders need to scientifically improve the economics performance of their countries in the case of major political obstacles at home and an adverse economic outlook abroad. In both countries, sustainable growth will require investment in infrastructure, education, and innovation more than consumption. How they respond will determine the success or failure of their administrations. It will also affect the two countries’ bilateral relationship and their regional and global standing.

Continue reading the policy brief here…

Brazil sees steady ties with US after Obama re-election

Julia Carneiro – BBC, 11/08/2012

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was quick to react to the US election result.

Almost before Barack Obama’s victory was confirmed, she used a public event in Brasilia to send her warmest wishes to him and the US people.

And she would, she said, be calling him later to offer her congratulations.

But President Rousseff’s reaction seems to stem less from the hope of great things to come in the US-Brazil relationship than relief at the continuity in the White House.

In fact, even if Republican Mitt Romney had triumphed, analysts suggest relations between the two biggest countries in the Americas would have been little altered.

Ties grew stronger during George W Bush’s time in office and have matured under President Obama, although some tensions persist.

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