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 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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Exclusive: Peru sending prosecutors to Brazil as corruption probe goes regional

Marco Aquino and Brad Haynes – Reuters, 7/20/2015

Peruvian prosecutors plan to visit Brazil this month to gather evidence of bribery on a transcontinental highway project, Peru’s attorney general said in an interview, adding to regional fallout from the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history.

The mission laid out by Peruvian Attorney General Pablo Sánchez is the most public sign yet of international cooperation on a case that has jailed heads of major Brazilian engineering groups as police comb bank records for evidence of a cartel.

Regional interest in the probe exploded last month, when Brazilian police arrested the chief executive of Odebrecht SA [ODBES.UL], Latin America’s biggest construction company. His arrest has put billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects in the region under fresh scrutiny.

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Brazil senators flee Venezuela attack

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.”

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Venezuela Gives Landing Permission to Brazil Senators

REUTERS, 6/17/2015

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.

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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.

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A Little Bit of Luck Is Pricier as Levy Targets Brazil Lotto

David Biller – Bloomberg, 6/10/2015

It just got more expensive to try your luck in Brazil after the lottery fell victim to Finance Minister Joaquim Levy’s austerity measures.

Brazilia1200x-1ns 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.

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A false war fades: the end of Brazil-Mexico rivalry?

Paulo Sotero and Duncan Wood – Financial Times, 6/10/2015

Paulo-Sotero-and-Duncan-Wood

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.

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