As President Dilma Rousseff summoned her government to the annual ministerial meeting to take stock of the past year, and set out plans and goals for 2012, she must have been only too conscious of the balancing act her government will have to perform this year with keep the economy booming, the populace spending and public services improving (The Rio Times).
Black Brazilians are much worse off than they should be. But what is the best way to remedy that? Read on at The Economist.
The Economist also interviewed Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil’s president from 1995-2002, on the future of Brazil. Read the interview here.
Petrobras ousted chief executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli, the man who oversaw the discovery of the largest oil find in the Americas in decades. Gabrielli will be replaced by Maria das Graças Foster, a Petrobras executive close to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (Reuters).
Foster, 58, plans to replace Gabrielli, 62. Petrobras Chairman and Finance Minister Guido Mantega will present Foster’s name to the board of directors of the state-run company on Feb. 9 (Bloomberg).
Dilma Rousseff wanted to have her as cabinet chief, but at the moment Lula da Silva convinced the incoming president to name Antonio Palocci, a former Finance minister who was later forced to resign because of corruption allegations (MercoPress).
Gabrielli, who studied economics at Boston University, is being prepared to replace Bahia Governor Wagner in 2014 (Forbes).
The semi-public Brazilian energy corporation headquartered in Rio, Petrobras, looks set to welcome their first female CEO in the coming weeks. Maria das Graças Silva Foster has been selected to replace the outgoing José Sérgio Gabrielli at the largest company in Latin America by revenue, which is 54 percent owned by the Brazilian government (The Rio Times).
The fight against Brazil’s Pinheirinho squatter camp eviction can be an inspiration. The left has been too slow to criticise the government’s growth-fixated policies. The squatters provide a lesson in resistance (The Guardian).
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Brazil granted a tourist visa to Yoani Sánchez, a dissident Cuban author and blogger, ahead of a trip to Cuba this month by Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff. The request by Ms. Sánchez to travel to Brazil for the screening of a documentary had emerged as a test of Cuba’s restrictive travel policies for its own citizens and Brazil’s willingness to prod a friendly government on a prominent human rights issue (New York Times).
After President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran took a four-country tour of Latin America this month, during which he met with several outspoken critics of the United States but was notably not invited to stop in Brazil, one of his top advisers took a public swipe at Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, saying she had “destroyed years of good relations” between the two nations (New York Times).
Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota denied that his country’s relations with Iran are shaken. The statement was in response to an interview with Iranian presidential media advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr published in the daily Folha de Sao Paulo. Javanfekr for his part said Brazil-Iran relations have deteriorated under President Dilma Rousseff (Xinhua).
The initial round of negotiations on the proposed outcome document for Rio+20 began in order to pave the way for a successful conference of world leaders in June on sustainable development. This informal round is the first of four more negotiating sessions in March, April, May and June in the lead-up to the Rio+ 20 conference in Brazil on June 20-22 (Xinhua).
Reacting to Brazil’s trade minister Fernando Pimentel comments describing Argentina as “a permanent problem” Industry Minister Debora Giorgi said that “the trade balance reality between Argentina and Brazil does not warrant Pimentel’s complaints” (MercoPress).
Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), based in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, ranks 27th in the list of the World’s Top Think Thanks, followed by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Both institutions lead their respective regions, South America and Asia. In the theme-specific evaluations, FGV ranks in the 30 most influential think tanks in the areas of international development (13th), domestic economic policy (18th) and social policy (18th). A mere ten years ago, such a prominent role for an institute in Brazil would have been unthinkable (Post Western World).
DEFENSE & SECURITY
A Jane’s expert said that there may be long-term interest from Brazil (among other countries) for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Stealth Fighter (Washington Post, page 2 of the article)).
Bolivia has signed an agreement with the US and Brazil to help reduce the production of illegal cocaine. The US and Brazil will provide technical assistance, including satellite monitoring of coca crops. The agreement comes more than three years after Bolivia expelled the US Drug Enforcement Administration, accusing it of political interference (BBC).
The Brazilian Army and Navy have not handed over documents dating back to the years of the military dictatorship (1964/1985), in spite of an official request from former president Lula da Silva five years ago (MercoPress).
Brazil is speeding its research and development programs to perfect a tactical transport aircraft to rival the C-130 Hercules amid predictions the global market needs no less than 700 substitutes. The C-130J isn’t the only potential rival for Embraer’s KC-390. As the demand outlook becomes clearer and more enticing, at least four contenders want the same market share that the Brazilian aircraft maker seeks (UPI).
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The middle class in Brazil during the last decade expanded to reach 90 million out of a population of almost 200 million, according to paper from consultants Datafolha (MercoPress).