Brazil’s Silva hits back at rumors, recalls hungry youth

Brian Winter – Reuters, 09/17/2014

In an emotional new television ad, Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva hit back at rumors that she would do away with popular social welfare programs if elected, citing her own youth growing up poor and hungry in the Amazon rainforest.

The ad, which ran late Tuesday, went viral on social media and could swing some momentum back in Silva’s favor after recent polls showed her support sagging as she battles to unseat leftist President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil’s Oct. 5 election.

Silva, an environmentalist running on a pro-market platform, lashed out at what she described as Rousseff’s recent negative campaigning and denied that she would halt the popular decade-old “Bolsa Familia” program, which pays a monthly stipend to poor families.

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Brazil’s Maternal Milk Banks Model for Globe

Jenny Barchfield – Associated Press, 09/04/2014

Thirty years ago, poor Brazilian women were paid for their breast milk, leaving their children at risk of malnourishment. Equipment at the few milk collection centers was so costly it limited the country’s ability to expand the program’s reach.

That has changed dramatically, thanks in part to Joao Arigio Guerrade Almeida, a chemist who has turned the Brazilian Milk Bank Network into a model studied by other countries and credited with helping slash infant mortality by two thirds.

“Brazil is really the world leader in milk bank development,” said Dr. Lisa Hammer, a University of Michigan pediatrician who was part of a team visiting the Rio de Janeiro-based network last week.

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Growth makes Brazil a hub for human trafficking

Astrid Prange – Deutche Welle, 06/04/2013

Over a century after the abolition of slavery, Brazil has become a hub of international human trafficking. Illegal migrants are coming not only from neighboring Latin American countries but from as far away as Asia.

Brazil’s booming economy is not only attracting migrants from impoverished neighboring Latin American countries, but more recently emigrants from Asia. In the past week, a human trafficking ring was uncovered near the capital, Brasilia, for the first time.

The liberation of 80 Bengali laborers in Samambaia, a suburb of Brasilia, shines a light on the dark side of Brazil’s rise to economic and political dominance within the region. “We are concerned,” says Arnaldo Jordy Figueiredo, chairman of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) on human trafficking. “It’s the first time forced laborers from Bangladesh have been discovered here.”

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Brazil unveils social programme for low-income families

BBC, 05/14/2012.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has launched a raft of social programmes for low-income families with young children.

Ms Rousseff said she would expand the popular social programme Bolsa Familia created by her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Families with children under six living in extreme poverty will get $35 (£22) a month for each family member.

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Brazil’s 2014 World Cup: rights abuses revealed in report

Andrea Dip – Publica/Huffington Post, 12/14/2011

The clip promoting Brazil’s 2014 World Cup shows a conference table in a New York office. The cry of “goal!!” echoes from a far away place, and an American in a tie asks, “Did you hear that?”

The video continues showing Brazil’s natural wonders, including Rio de Janeiro’s beautiful beaches and Iguazu’s cataracts. The voiceover concludes: “Brazil is calling you. Celebrate life here.”

In Brazil, however, the voices coming from the streets appear to be more in protest than in celebration. Obsessed with soccer, the fans say that they are threatened by cabinet agreements and that their rights are being robbed by FIFA’s demands and the pharaonic public work projects that are tearing up their cities.

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Brazil state struggles with poverty despite rich natural resources

Los Angeles Times, 12/12/2011

Brazil’s huge northern state of Pará is about three times the size of California, home to much of the Amazon rain forest and is the second-largest producer of the nation’s most important export, iron ore.

But poverty levels are well above the national average.

“It’s like a poor family, living in an impoverished home, suffering from hunger, but with a Ferrari parked outside,” Josenir Nascimento, head of a local municipal association, was quoted as saying in the O Globo newspaper. “And all the money is spent on maintaining the car.”

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Rio should focus on branding for Olympic gold: Blair

Stuart Grudgings – Reuters, 04/29/2011

Rio de Janeiro’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics is an unprecedented chance to promote Brand Brazil and ensure a legacy of economic and social benefits, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Friday.

Despite budget overruns by recent Olympic host cities and criticism of the huge cost of major sporting events, Blair said hosting such massive events was still worth it for the cascade of social and economic benefits they can bring.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity which is why people compete so fiercely to host the World Cup and the Olympics Games,” Blair, who played a leading role in the successful London 2012 Olympic campaign, told the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Rio de Janeiro.

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Free diabetes and blood pressure drugs for Brazilians

BBC, 02/03/2011

President Rousseff says public health is one of her top priorities. Photo: AP

Brazil is to provide free medicines for everyone suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes.

The drugs will be distributed through a nationwide network of budget pharmacies, where many medicines are already heavily subsidised.

President Dilma Rousseff said the measure was part of her campaign to end extreme poverty in Brazil.

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To beat back poverty, pay the poor

Tina Rosenberg – The New York Times, 01/03/2011

Photo: Reuters

The city of Rio de Janeiro is infamous for the fact that one can look out from a precarious shack on a hill in a miserable favela and see practically into the window of a luxury high-rise condominium.  Parts of Brazil look like southern California.  Parts of it look like Haiti.  Many countries display great wealth side by side with great poverty.  But until recently, Brazil was the most unequal country in the world.

Today, however, Brazil’s level of economic inequality is dropping at a faster rate than that of almost any other country.  Between 2003 and 2009, the income of poor Brazilians has grown seven times as much as the income of rich Brazilians.  Poverty has fallen during that time from 22 percent of the population to 7 percent.

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