Brazil-US Relations: Common Ideas, Little Dialogue

February 20, 2015

Monica de Bolle – The Huffington Post, 2/20/2015

It is unfortunate that Brazilian-American relations have become strained in recent years. This sense of frustration is further enhanced by the fact that the two largest countries in the Americas have very similar agendas when it comes to tackling inequality and income disparity. President Obama’s proposals towards “middle-class economics” and the recently released Economic Report of the President for 2015 highlight just how close the two countries are in their thinking about these issues and on how to make economic policies work more equitably for everyone. And yet, rather than coming together, the distance between the two countries has widened.

President Dilma Rousseff’s newly reelected government has vowed to rebalance Brazil’s economy – plagued by fiscal disarray and mounting inflation – in a way that preserves the legacy of the PT (Brazil’s Workers’ Party) achieved over last twelve years: the impressive social inclusion that has raised millions from the lowest ranks of the income distribution to the middle class. Aided by the macroeconomic stabilization of the 1990s and the unprecedented favorable external conditions that dominated the economic landscape between 2004 and 2010, the PT governments have set in motion their own version of “middle-class economics.” Remarkable social mobility took hold, and many were able to raise their overall quality of life as a result of targeted cash transfer programs such as “Bolsa-Família,” as well as specific programs aimed at allowing working mothers to remain in the marketplace and programs to help small and medium entrepreneurs tap into credit markets, among many other initiatives.

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Brazil has the best nutritional guidelines in the world

February 20, 2015

Julia Belluz – Vox, 2/20/2015

The way we talk about nutrition in this country is absurd. And you only need to look as far as Brazil to understand why.

Yesterday, a US-government appointed scientific panel released a 600-page report that will inform America’s new dietary guidelines. These guidelines only come out every five years, and they matter because they truly set the tone for how Americans eat: they’re used by doctors and nutritionists to guide patient care, by schools to plan kids’ lunches, and to calculate nutrition information on every food package you pick up, to name just a few areas of impact.

But this panel and their guidelines too often over-complicate what we know about healthy eating. They take a rather punitive approach to food, reducing it to its nutrient parts and emphasizing its relationship to obesity. Food is removed from the context of family and society and taken into the lab or clinic.

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Rolls-Royce corruption claims spread to Brazil

February 19, 2015

Simon Goodley – The Guardian, 2/16/2015

Allegations of corruption at the aircraft engine-maker Rolls-Royce spread to Brazil on Monday, adding to the woes of a group that is already involved in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into bribery claims in China and Indonesia.

The engineering group, which also supplies gas turbines for oil platforms, became embroiled in a long-running bribery case at Petrobras when it was named in court testimony by a former executive of the Brazilian state oil company as having paid bribes.

Pedro Barusco, a Petrobras veteran who struck a plea bargain in November and has emerged as one of the investigation’s key informants, told police he personally received at least $200,000 (£130,000) from Rolls-Royce — according to court documents reported by the Financial Times.

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Brazil’s Levy tells investors fiscal adjustment to correct ‘slippage’

February 19, 2015

Herbert Lash – Reuters, 2/18/2015

Brazil is removing the last vestiges of tax cuts and government spending aimed at bolstering the economy as officials work to correct the fiscal slippage of the last few years, Finance Minister Joaquim Levy told investors on Wednesday.

Levy said that the government of President Dilma Rousseff will work to meet its primary budget surplus goal of 1.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2015.

“We are just taking these anti-cyclical measures away, and this will put us on better footing,” Levy said in his first public address to investors in the United States.

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Flights to Brazil increased by 30.7 pct. in 4 years

January 27, 2015

EFE – La Prensa, 1/27/2015

Brazil last year was the destination for 64,904 international flights, a 30.7 percent increase over the 49,557 that went to the South American giant in 2010, the country’s public tourism promotion company, Embratur, announced Tuesday.

The country sending the largest number of flights to Brazil in 2014 was the United States, whose citizens last year had 14,573 air travel options to visit Brazilian cities, according to Embratur figures.

In the No. 2 spot on the list of countries sending flights to Brazil was Argentina, with 13,817.

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Brazil’s claim adds yet another facet to the case of the Bahia Emerald

January 27, 2015

Stephen Cesar – The Los Angeles Times, 1/24/2015

The bizarre, tortuous journey of the Bahia Emerald began in the depths of a Brazilian mine and eventually landed it in a Los Angeles County sheriff’s evidence locker, where it remains today.

Since 2009, the 180,000-carat, 840-pound behemoth of a gem has been the subject of a contentious court battle among a colorful crowd of gem traders, miners and a real estate tycoon all vying for the prized jewel — once valued at $372 million.

And just as the court saga appeared to be nearing a conclusion in recent months, a new party stepped up to stake its own claim to the stone.

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Um novo contexto na relação Brasil-EUA

December 31, 2014

Paulo Sotero – O Estado de S. Paulo, 12/30/2014

Três fatos novos alteraram, potencialmente para melhor, o ambiente para uma reaproximação entre Washington e Brasília, esperada no segundo mandato de Dilma Rousseff. A expectativa americana nesse sentido será reiterada pela presença do vice-presidente Joe Biden na segunda posse de Dilma – o mais alto nível de representação dos Estados Unidos no evento inaugural de governos no Brasil em um quarto de século. Dois dos três novos fatos foram gerados no Brasil.

Brasília deixou de insistir publicamente num pedido de desculpas de Washington pela espionagem da National Security Agency (NSA), que envolveu a Petrobrás, entre outros, depois que a Operação Lava Jato expôs os crimes perpetrados por funcionários e executivos brasileiros contra a estatal. O episódio, que fez a líder brasileira cancelar visita de Estado aos EUA em 2013, parece, assim, superado.

Multinacional que opera nos EUA, a Petrobrás enfrenta hoje inquéritos de duas agências federais americanas sobre possíveis desdobramentos dos crimes revelados pelas investigações no Brasil. Processos iniciados por investidores que se veem lesados pela roubalheira, como a cidade de Providence, em Rhode Island, devem multiplicar-se. A reputação de integridade pessoal de Dilma e o apoio explícito que ela vem dando à atuação da Polícia Federal, do Ministério Público e da Justiça Federal no petrolão são bem-vistos em Washington. Indicam a disposição da presidente de não deixar que a relação bilateral seja contaminada pelas investigações do escândalo nos EUA, que podem ter desfechos muito ruins para a Petrobrás e seus executivos, independentemente da vontade da Casa Branca e do Planalto.

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


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