BBC News, 6/19/2015
A group of eight Brazilian senators on a visit to Venezuela to meet a jailed opposition leader say they had to flee after their bus was attacked.
The Brazilian opposition politicians were trying to meet Leopoldo Lopez, who is in jail accused of inciting violence during protests. The group said the bus was stoned as it travelled from Caracas airport.
Brazil’s foreign ministry says it will seek an explanation from the Venezuelan government. One of the senators, Ronaldo Caiado, tweeted: “Our bus was under siege; they were beating and trying to break it. I filmed them throwing stones against the bus.”
Venezuela gave landing permission on Tuesday for a Brazilian Air Force plane set to carry a group of Brazilian senators to visit jailed Venezuelan opposition leaders, the head of Brazil’s opposition party said.
An apparent delay in granting the permission, which had been requested last Friday, had led to speculation Venezuela might be seeking to block the visit scheduled for Thursday.
“After firm action by the Senate, the Venezuelan government authorized the landing in its territory of a Brazilian Air Force plane,” Senator Aecio Neves, head of the PSDB party, said on Twitter.
Earlier on Tuesday, Neves was quoted in the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper as saying Venezuela had “vetoed” the landing.
It just got more expensive to try your luck in Brazil after the lottery fell victim to Finance Minister Joaquim Levy’s austerity measures.
Brazilians wanting to win a 50 million-reais ($16 million) jackpot in Wednesday’s Mega-Sena lottery drawing will have to pay 40 percent more to play than they did three weeks ago. That’s because the government raised ticket prices on May 24 to boost funding for everything from social programs to the Olympic Committee ahead of next year’s summer games in Rio de Janeiro.
For much of the past two decades, Brazil and Mexico seemed at times to be on a collision course. Diplomats from Latin America’s two largest nations were often preoccupied,if not obsessed, with a competition for an elusive role as regional leaders and players in the post-Cold War shifting global scene. The 2013 battle for the post of director general at the World Trade Organization, won by Brazilian diplomat Roberto Azevêdo over Mexican Herminio Blanco, a former trade minister, left plenty of hurt feelings. Ironically, the dispute for influence also led to convergence. The 2011 creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC), proposed by Mexico to affirm its Latin American identity and counter a perceived Brazilian effort to separate it from the region, was warmly embraced in Brasília as a way project leadership by promoting formats that excluded the US.
Eric Martin and Anna Edgerton – Bloomberg, 5/27/2015
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff and Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto signed an investment cooperation accord and pledged to work together to boost growth and expand the middle class in Latin America’s two biggest economies.
On Rousseff’s first state visit to Mexico since taking office in 2011, the countries Tuesday signed agreements to facilitate investment, increase air travel and cooperate on tourism.
Rousseff said that while the two nations have strengthened ties in recent years, Brazil can do more to invest in Mexico. Mexican investment in Brazil is currently about $23 billion a year, while Brazil invests just $2 billion annually in Mexico, according to Rousseff’s administration. Both presidents have seen their popularity fall amid political scandals, weak growth and global oil prices that slumped to a six-year low in March.
Samantha Pearson – Financial Times, 5/12/2015
For Brazil’s economists, 2015 will certainly be a year to forget. Latin America’s biggest economy is expected to contract by more than 1 per cent this year, marking the country’s worst recession in 25 years.
Meanwhile, inflation is set to end the year above 8 per cent, breaking the target range for the first time since 2003.
To add to the country’s woes, the corruption scandal at state-controlled oil company Petrobras — believed to be the biggest of its kind in Brazilian history — has the potential to slow growth further and accelerate job losses.
Andrew Marszal and Harriet Alexander – The Telegraph, 5/7/2015
One-in-five murder victims around the world is Brazilian, Colombian or Venezuelan, a study has shown, despite the three countries containing less than four per cent of the world’s total population.
The Homicide Monitor data project compiled by the Brazil-based Instituto Igarape reveals the high rates of homicide around Latin America and the Caribbean, where a third of all of the world’s homicides occur.
The region contains only eight per cent of the world’s total population. Honduras (85.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants), Venezuela (53.7) and the US Virgin Islands (46.9) have the highest murder rates per population in the world.