Political Crisis Opens Up Space for Dialog With the United States – Crise Amplia Espaços de Diálogo com os EUA

Paulo Sotero –  Revista Interesse Nacional, 06/06/2016

The impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and the crisis that it generated was not a surprise to Washington. The interim government of Michel Temer and its foreign policy emphasis were well received and opens space for a renewal of bilateral dialogue and cooperation at a time when Latin America is changing and opening  up, as shown by the election of President Macri in Argentina, the normalization of US-Cuban relations and the breakdown of the Chavez regime in Venezuela. Washington does not underestimate the challenges the political crises for Brazilians, such as the exhaustion of state capitalism and the failure of its corrupt political class and of the system that produced it.  Add to the mix the uncertainties generated  by rise of populist candidates, from both the right and the left, in the presidential campaign in the Unite States. The desire of the Obama administration to invest in  a  deeper relations with Brazil remains, but won’t be acted on before  the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff is concluded, the  Temer administration consolidates its position and the outcome of the  November 8th elections in the United States is known. The good news is that the difficulties open time and political space for government officials and other interested parties to  prepare the way for productive initiatives.

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Health Officials Want More Zika Samples, Data From Brazil

The New York Times/AP, 02/04/2016

Brazil is not sharing enough samples and disease data to let researchers determine whether the Zika virus is, as feared, linked to the increased number of babies born with abnormally small heads in the South American country, U.N. and U.S. health officials say.

Without viruses from Brazil — the epicenter of the ongoing Zika crisis — laboratories in the United States and Europe are being forced to work with samples from previous outbreaks, and is frustrating efforts to develop diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines. Scientists tell The Associated Press that having so little to work with is hampering their ability to track the virus’ evolution.

One major problem appears to be Brazilian law. At the moment, it is technically illegal for Brazilian researchers and institutes to share genetic material, including blood samples containing Zika and other viruses.

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US court to hear arguments that Brazil oil giant should stand trial for corruption

Rupert Neate – The Guardian, 6/25/2015

A US court will hear arguments on Thursday that oil giant Petrobras should stand trial for a culture of bribery and corruption that has rocked Brazilian businesses and political elite and lowered the company’s value by $90bn.

Investors, led by the UK Universities Superannuation Scheme, which manages the pension funds of British academics, claim they lost billions as a result of the huge money laundering and corruption scheme. The investors, which also include the retirement funds of state workers in Ohio, Idaho and Hawaii, claim in court filings that Petrobras was “rotten to the core”.

The scandal, which has been dubbed “operation carwash” because huge amounts of money were allegedly laundered through a money exchange in a nondescript gas station in the Brazilian capital, has already led to the indictment of more than 40 Brazilian executives allegedly involved in the bribery scheme dating back to 2006.

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U.S. probes Nike payments Under Brazil deal

Aruna Viswanatha and Sara Germano – The Wall Street Journal, 6/12/2015

U.S. authorities are examining payments made by Nike Inc. under a groundbreaking 1996 soccer sponsorship with Brazil for possible evidence of any wrongdoing by the company in addition to its counterparts in the deal, people familiar with the matter said.

The examination indicates the company is still of interest as the Justice Department pursues its wide-ranging probe of corruption in the global soccer business.

Allegations of corruption around Nike’s 10-year, $160 million agreement to sponsor Brazil’s national team are discussed in barely veiled terms in the Justice Department’s 161-page indictment of officials in and around soccer’s governing body, FIFA.

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Brazil’s Rousseff navigates troubles at home as she ponders a U.S. visit

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.

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Exclusive: U.S. bets on Brazil, extends new invitation to Rousseff

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.

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Brazil-US Relations: Common Ideas, Little Dialogue

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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