Brazil, less than a year after Lula left office, may be facing its most important development challenge yet: proving that it can prevent bust from following boom. And in that regard Brazil’s current center-left President, Dilma Rousseff, could turn out to be an even more consequential leader than both of her predecessors. The stakes are big for Latin America, where Brazil is the largest economy, and for the Americas. Many of the Brazilian analysts agree that it’s fortunate that Rousseff is sitting in Brasilia’s Planalto presidential palace now instead of Lula (Time).
President Dilma Rousseff’s biggest challenge in the coming months is to engineer a “soft landing” for Brazil’s economy and insulate it as much as possible from the burgeoning euro zone debt crisis. A likely cabinet reshuffle in the New Year will allow her to put her own stamp on the government after scandals brought down six ministers mostly inherited from her predecessor. Reuters sums up the key political risks to watch for.
The Brazilian government will invest more than $2 billion to curb the spread of crack cocaine, including creating a public health network to treat drug users, the country’s Health Ministry said (New York Times).
Brazil’s recent decision to examine the abuses of the military dictatorship from several decades ago could change the face of democracy at home, making it more genuine and transparent. At the same time it could have a wider impact, allowing Brazil to take a decisive stand on human rights regionally and internationally (New York Times).
A serious scandal involving Trade and Industry Minister Fernando Pimentel, a member of the president’s own Workers’ Party, could be damaging for President Rousseff. A close confidant and long-time personal friend of Rousseff, Pimentel is the most influential minister to face an ethics storm since her chief of staff Antonio Palocci was forced out of his post in June (Reuters).
Brazil’s Labor Minister, Carlos Lupi, became the seventh minister to resign since President Rousseff took office in January. The ministry’s chief secretary, Paulo Roberto dos Santos Pinto, will take his place until a permanent replacement is chosen (The Rio Times).
Transparency International released their annual global Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011, ranking Brazil 73rd out of the 183 countries they surveyed. The index ranks countries according to their perceived level of corruption in the public sector, using data gathered from assessments and opinion surveys carried out by independent institutions (The Rio Times).
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Financial aid for Europe by Brazil and other BRICs group member countries through the International Monetary Fund will depend on the outcome of talks among European leaders at upcoming meetings, Brazil’s representative to the IMF, Paulo Nogueira Batista, said (Smart Money).
Brazil hasn’t paid membership fees to the Organization of American States since April amid a disagreement over a hydroelectric dam in the Amazon, the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported (Bloomberg).
Brazil has joined a new political-economic regional bloc that unites 33 countries from across Latin America and the Caribbean, but significantly does not include the United States or Canada. Known by its Spanish or Portuguese initials “CELAC”, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States was inaugurated at its first meeting in Caracas, Venezuela, last weekend (The Rio Times).
DEFENSE & SECURITY
Embraer performed the maiden flight of the first of three EMB 145 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft ordered by the Indian government. The flight was well performed and all planned tests were successfully achieved. It tooked place at Embraer’s headquarters, in São José do Campos (Embraer).
The Ministry of science, technology and Innovation (MCTI) and the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) has already defined the model of the new space policy that aims to stimulate domestic production of satellites and the domain of technologies considered critical by the Government for the development of communications satellites, space observation and meteorology. The new policy will be in the National Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation that President Dilma Rousseff will launch later this month (Portal Brasil).
GOOD TO KNOW
This week the New York Times published the results of a poll in which it asked hundreds of chief executives and chairmen to select the top universities from which they recruited. Ranked 98th in the world, the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) appears as the leading university in Latin America. It ranks 3rd in the BRICs (behind Fudan University and Tsinghua University, both in China), and 6th in the Southern Hemisphere (behind five Australian universities) (Post Western World).
Brazil comes second place on the world’s top ten countries visited by aliens. But Brazil’s alien encounters are some of the most disturbing of all. Perhaps most chilling (although somewhat reassuring) is the seriousness with which the Brazilian government and armed forced treat UFO sightings (Top Ten).
Some fifty Brazilian cities are exposed to serious outbreaks of dengue during the austral summer and another 236 are on ‘alert’ for the same reason, according to a paper presented by Brazil’s Health minister Alexandre Padhilla (MercoPress).