Lava Jato changes the justice and the law

Joaquim Falcão – Folha de S. Paulo, 7/31/2015

Major investigations on corruption are changing Brazil’s justice system for the better.

A new, pragmatic generation of judges, prosecutors and police investigators put facts above doctrine. Brazil’s criminal Justice will not be the same after the Mensalão scandal – a congressional vote buying scheme tried in the country’s Supreme Court in 2012 – and the ongoing Lava Jato operation on massive fraud committed against state oil giant Petrobras. The unprecedented sentencing to jail terms of previously powerful government officials and members of Congress, in the Mensalão case, has created expectations and voters pressure for outcomes in the more serious Petrolão scandal.

Changes have occurred both in the practice of law by judges, prosecutors, investigators and lawyers, as well as in the doctrines and the courts, reflecting a generational change among Brazilian federal judges, prosecutors, and investigators. They are younger and have joined the judicial system at an earlier stage of their lives. They grew up in era of era of democracy and freedom of the press, decadence of traditional political parties and a society increasingly indignant about private appropriation of public goods. They are prone to protect the public’s interest and have no fear to carry out their constitutional duties.

Read original article in Portuguese here

Brazil Farmers Group Occupies Finance Ministry

Paulo Trevisani, Wall Street Journal, 8/4/2015

Protesters from a far-left organization that calls for the distribution of farmland to the poor occupied Brazil’s Finance Ministry, forcing the suspension of official business in the building.

Brazil’s Finance Minister Joaquim Levy. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Brazil’s Finance Minister Joaquim Levy. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

The Landless Farmers Movement, also known as MST, was protesting cuts in funding for land distribution to 1.8 billion Brazilian reais ($520 million) from 3.5 billion reais, a spokeswoman for the group said at the site.

A spokesman for the Agrarian Development Ministry, the body in charge of Brazil’s land-distribution program, said that figure referred to the full size of cuts across the ministry, although a good part of it was related to land distribution.

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Brazil’s budget hole widens in June

Paulo Trevisani – The Wall Street Journal, 7/31/2015

Brazil announced Friday another setback to government efforts to increase savings and balance its books amid a deep economic contraction.

The government posted a 9.3 billion Brazilian reais ($2.8 billion) primary deficit in June, the country’s central bank said. That compares with a primary deficit of 6.9 billion reais in May and brings the 12-month result to a 45.7 billion reais deficit, equal to 0.8% of gross domestic product. This year’s target is a surplus 0.15% of GDP.

“It is a bad result,” said João Pedro Brugger, an economist at Leme Investimentos, an asset-management firm in São Paulo. “The government will have to make additional efforts to meet its target,” something particularly difficult when the economy is weak, he said.

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An oil scandal is shaking Brazil’s democracy to its core

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 7/23/2015

There are times in Brazil’s young democracy — its constitution dates from 1988 — when the country seems to be making things up as it goes along.

This is one of them.

What began in 2014 as a police investigation called “Operation Car Wash” has spiraled into a horrendously dense drama, in which some of Brazil’s top politicians and largest companies have been forced into leading roles under harsh lights.

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Natural energy, artistic development, harmony, and the future of Brazil

Watch EmeraldPlanet’s video here, 7/12/2015

Guests:

Denise Milan, Creator, “Language of the Stones”; Co-Founder/Brazilian Team and Director, “Engage Earth” Art Education Project; Multimedia Artist, Public and Performance Art; Photographer; & Author; Denise Milan Studio, San Paulo, Brazil. (In-Studio)*

Dr. Jerome I. Friedman, Physics Professor Emeritus, and Nobel Laureate 1990 in Physics, Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Member, Board of Sponsors, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, (By Skype)*,

Dr. Jeffreen M. Hayes, Principal, bridge/arts of Chicago, Curator, Scholar, and Educator, (By Skype)*,

Dr. Naomi H. Moniz, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Brazilian Studies, & Comparative Literature, Georgetown University (Ret.), (By Skype)*.

For reference, also watch Brazil Institute’s Mist of the Earth: Art and Sustainability event here.

Credit-downgrade threat sinks Brazil stocks as Petrobras slumps

Rita Nazareth and Denyse Godoy – Bloomberg Business, 7/20/2015

The Ibovespa fell to an almost four-month low after Finance Minister Joaquim Levy said that a credit-rating downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service is more likely if Brazil doesn’t make economic adjustments.

Traders also pushed down the value of shares after newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported Saturday that lower house President Eduardo Cunha would rebel against the administration by blocking a package of measures designed to shrink the budget deficit. His announcement heightened a political crisis that had already driven President Dilma Rousseff’s popularity to a record low and revived talks of impeachment.

“A credit downgrade is a big possibility as the government faces many hurdles in approving adjustment measures,” Hersz Ferman, an economist at brokerage Elite Corretora, said in a telephone interview from Rio de Janeiro. “Investors are already avoiding Brazilian assets because of that risk.”

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Brazil stock traders recoil at Volpon’s rate call as real climbs

Denyse Godoy, Paula Sambo, and Filipe Pacheco – Bloomberg Business, 7/21/2015

Brazilian shares dropped to an almost four-month low on speculation borrowing costs at Latin America’s largest economy will increase further, curbing prospects for equities. The real advanced for the first time in four days.

The Ibovespa extended this month’s slump after central bank director Tony Volpon said policy makers should keep raising interest rates until the outlook for inflation reaches the government’s target. The benchmark stock gauge has tumbled 11 percent from this year’s peak on concern the decision to boost the Selic to a six-year high to tame consumer prices will deepen an economic contraction.

“The central bank will probably increase rates again next week in a trend that’s damaging the economy and prospects for companies,” Pedro Paulo Silveira, the chief economist at brokerage TOV Corretora, said by phone from Sao Paulo.

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