Vinod Sreeharsha – McClatchyDC, 04/01/2015
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is expected to meet President Barack Obama next week when the Western Hemisphere’s leaders gather for the Summit of the Americas in Panama, in what will be Rousseff’s highest-profile encounter with Obama since revelations last year that the National Security Agency had spied on her.
Made public in the documents leaked by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the spying revelation led to the cancellation of a planned Rousseff visit to Washington, and she’s expected to respond next week to an invitation from the White House to reschedule the trip.
Yet tense relations with the Obama administration are nothing compared with what Rousseff faces at home: two years of virtually no economic growth, a currency that’s plunged 18 percent against the dollar just since Jan. 2, a major corruption scandal and loud calls for her resignation or impeachment. In just the third month of her second four-year term, her approval rating is 13 percent, according to the Brazilian pollster Datafolha, after she won 52 percent of the vote last fall.
Brian Winter – Reuters, 3/24/2015
The Obama administration has again invited Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff for a state visit to Washington, a diplomatic breakthrough that both sides hope will lead over time to greater trade between the two biggest economies in the Americas.
Rousseff had originally been scheduled to make a state visit, which involves a black-tie dinner at the White House and is considered the strongest expression of friendly ties between allies, in October 2013.
But the leftist leader canceled her trip after she was angered by revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spied on her personal communications. She said it was “incompatible” with a relationship among allies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.