Brazil graft cases: beginning of impunity’s end?

December 22, 2014

Brad Brooks – AP/The Washington Post, 12/19/2014

A federal investigation into a kickback scheme at Brazil’s state oil company has, so far, ensnared 30 executives. In Sao Paulo, prosecutors accuse 33 businessmen of running a “cartel” to profit from the city’s subway system.

And in perhaps the most stunning turn of all, the oil and mining tycoon who once was Brazil’s richest billionaire is on trial for something that, until recently, was not even seen as a crime: profiting from inside information.The aggressive crackdown on corruption by Brazil’s rich and powerful suddenly raises a once unfathomable question: Is this the beginning of the end for the nation’s entrenched culture of impunity?

Levy na Fazenda ajudara relacao com EUA

December 4, 2014

Paulo Sotero – O Estado de S.Paulo, 12/04/2014

The director of the Brazil Institute discusses his views on the incoming Minister of Finance Joaquim Levy.

Click here to view the article…


Brazil Institute Director leads a National Geographic conversation of experts on Brazil’s Energy Challenge

November 21, 2014

Director Paulo Sotero opened and moderated an event entitled, “Big Energy Question: What Does the Future Hold for Brazil’s Energy Picture?” in São Paulo last week. Topics discussed included hydroelectric power, urban planning, biofuels, energy security, and more. See the article below:

In Sao Paulo, Experts Eye the Future for Brazil’s Energy Mix

David Braun – National Geographic, 11/18/2014

Brazil is a vast country of abundant natural resources, and Brazilians are anxious both to preserve irreplaceable habitats and fulfill their potential to contribute significantly to global energy and food supply. Finding the right balance is crucial, not just to Brazil but to the world, and much rests on determining the right energy mix.

In Sao Paulo last week, some of Brazil’s foremost thought leaders on energy engaged in a candid and passionate debate revolving around Brazil’s unique situation, discussing the opportunities and challenges of powering the country’s future.

Participants acknowledged the need to learn from past mistakes and push through current complications. Suggested solutions focused on Brazil’s ability to establish an especially diverse energy mix that could place a range of renewable energy sources at the heart of a global energy economy. This would require radical changes in policy, process and popular opinion, as well as the need to urgently address widespread inefficiencies across the energy sector. But there was unanimous hope and determination in the group for in getting it right.

Read more…


Brazilians to elect a new president in an atypically sour mood

October 24, 2014

Paulo Sotero – The Brazil Institute, 10/24/2014

With their country’s economy at a standstill, Brazilians go back to the polls this Sunday in an atypically sour mood to decide whether to extend the mandate of President Dilma Rousseff for four more years or replace her with Senator Aécio Neves, a popular former governor of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s second richest state after São Paulo. Opinion polls released this week showed Rousseff gaining on Neves for the first time, who pulled a stunning turnaround to end in second place in the October 5th first round of vote, way ahead of once favorite candidate, environmentalist Marina Silva. Failures in first round opinion polls were made. However, the unusual volatility of the race even made analysts that seemed convinced of Rousseff’s reelection hedge their bets by avoiding making definitive predictions. One pollster who worked for campaigns of gubernatorial candidates of the president’s coalition told former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at a rally held in the Southern capital of Porto Alegre on Wednesday that his analyses indicated Aécio Neves could win the race.

Three weeks of second round campaigning that ended Friday, October 24th, with a nationally televised debate between the two contenders did little to lighten the poisonous political atmosphere created in the race’s initial 40-days of highly negative electoral tactics used by all major candidates, but especially by Rousseff’s camp. Read the rest of this entry »


The Outlook of Brazil’s October Elections by the Country’s Leading Pollster

August 4, 2014

main-image-datafolha

During the Brazil Institute’s event on July 29, 2014, Mauro Paulino and Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva provided their insight on the upcoming Presidential elections in Brazil. Paulino, through his work with the prominent Brazil-based research institute, Datafolha, revealed past as well as present statistics and predictions to shed light on the development of voter intention in the upcoming October elections.

The general electorate in Brazil is younger and more educated than it was in the past, leading to a higher distrust in political parties. The speakers note that because of this, the current candidates would do well in distancing themselves from the government and its reputation for corruption by offering a new and separate alternative, but it is unknown as to whether or not this will come to fruition.

Paulino points out a Brazilian anomaly in that although television time is generally thought to enhance candidates’ chances of getting elected, this notion is statistically not true in Brazil. This-coming election also holds the largest percentage of people who are currently unsure for whom they would vote or who would not select any of the candidates by submitting a blank vote. Read the rest of this entry »


Brazil has a capacity to do the unexpected

August 1, 2014

Brazil Institute Director Paulo Sotero will be taking part in the prestigious Chautauqua Institution’s lecture series this week, entitled, “Brazil: Rising Superpower.”

Following is the piece he authored on Brazil in a global context which will be the basis of his lecture on Friday, August 1.

Paulo Sotero – The Chautauquan Daily, 7/31/2014

Not a country for beginners, as composer Antônio Carlos Jobim famously said, Brazil often does what is least expected. It did the unexpected in the World Cup — twice. First, by losing the soccer tournament it was overwhelmingly favored to win at home, and secondly hosting an excellent event, free of the logistical nightmares that were predicted by some and feared by most. It could do it again in the October presidential contest and frustrate the re-election plans of President Dilma Rousseff, who until recently was seen as heavily favored to renew her mandate for four more years.

Here is another surprise: The embarrassing World Cup performance of Brazil’s beloved Seleção and Rousseff’s electoral troubles are unrelated. A Datafolha opinion poll released last week showed that the sour national mood detected by a Pew Research Center survey before the event returned as soon as the games ended. With the economy stagnating and Brazilians increasingly worried about rising inflation and other adverse economic news, 54 percent now say the World Cup brought more costs than benefits to the country, down 8 points since July 1 despite the overall perception that the tournament was a success. Read the rest of this entry »


Brazilians likely to give government a ‘pass’ over World Cup

July 14, 2014

Larisa Epatko – PBS Newshour, 7/11/2014

The FIFA World Cup, which ends Sunday, has been a rollercoaster ride for Brazilians and no less so for the government.

When Brazil was playing well and advancing, President Dilma Rousseff rode the wave, visibly supporting the team and the tournament.

After Brazilian soccer star — known to fans simply by his first name Neymar — hurt his back during a match, taking him out of the rest of the tournament, Rousseff called him a “warrior” in a public letter of encouragement.

Read more…


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