While congressional allies have bristled at moves to establish her authority like ousting Juca, cutting earmarks and sacking ministers accused of corruption, they have paid off with the public. Rousseff’s approval rating in a March poll released yesterday was 77 percent, the highest of any leader in the Group of 20. They have also helped create a political identity separate from her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Bloomberg).
Thousands of industrial workers gathered in Sao Paulo this week to protest the loss of manufacturing jobs in Latin America’s largest country, reflecting mounting pressure to protect an economic boom seen as threatened by policies in the United States and China. After a decade of speedy economic growth powered by selling basic commodities to Asia, Brazil has become an expensive country to live in, and the complex goods produced by well-paid workers cannot compete with cheap imports from China (LA Times).
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SPLIT SECOND POLLS
U.S. companies hope a White House meeting between President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will energize an economic relationship seen performing below its potential and lay the groundwork for future trade talks. Two-way trade last year totaled about $74 billion, compared to $503 billion between the United States and China (Reuters).
Rousseff’s visit is more than symbolic. It should represent the beginning of a new American policy toward Brazil previously marked by benign indifference. Yes, the U.S. has recognized Brazil’s role as the new energy axis of the Western Hemisphere, and earlier this decade it acknowledged our partnership around the development of renewable biofuels, but something different arises today. The outmoded vision of Brazil is being replaced by a more realistic and cooperative approach (Miami Herald).
After just over a century of amicable relations, Brazil has decided to cool its relationship with Iran. Gone are the days when Brazil’s leader, President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva (2002-2010), worked hard to strengthen Brazil’s partnership with Iran, defending Iranian interests, sharing and learning from similar policy experiences over cafezinho (CNN).
United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos praised Brazil’s response to natural disasters such as floods and mudslides (Xinhua).
Uruguayan president Jose Mujica arrived in neighbouring Brazil to discuss with his peer Dilma Rousseff trade expansion, productive and energy complementation and above all opening Mercosur to third countries in search of new markets (MercoPress).
India and Brazil decided to step up efforts to push the UN reforms, particularly the Security Council and signed half a dozen agreements in areas ranging from science and biotechnology to cultural exchanges (MercoPress).
In search of expansion for economic and trade relations, the Governments of Brazil and India have adopted a strategic partnership encompassing health, education, science and technology, defense, agriculture, social and environmental programs. President Dilma Rousseff said during a visit to New Delhi, India, that the goal is to increase the negotiated amount of US$ 9.12 billion in 2011, to US$ 15 billion by 2015 (Portal Brasil).
Chicago is opening international sales offices in Brazil, Germany and Japan — and bringing in the brightest minds in international tourism to find out which attractions need to be enhanced to attract visitors — in a move to achieve Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of attracting 10 million more visitors by 2020 (Sun Times).
Brazil wants emerging economic powers to rally around a single candidate to lead the World Bank as developing nations strive to bolster their influence at the global lender, Finance Minister Guido Mantega said (Chicago Times).
DEFENSE & SECURITY
The U.S. Air Force said it would amend, rather than re-do, the terms of a potential $1 billion competition to supply light attack planes to Afghanistan. The Air Force last month abruptly terminated the contract with Sierra Nevada for 20 Super Tucano light attack planes, after it discovered inadequate documentation for the award while preparing for the Hawker lawsuit. The incident has been big news in Brazil, where government officials were caught off guard by Washington’s cancellation of the plane order. The issue may come up when Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff visits Washington next week (Reuters).
With Brazil’s pride hurt by Washington’s heavy handed public diplomacy there are new signs that Dilma could resist renewed White House pressure to buy Boeing during her other than state visit and opt for the Rafale or possibly save face and put the whole matter on hold (Huffington Post).
To have sex with young girls, said Brazil’s highest criminal court on March 27th, is “immoral and reprehensible”. But a man who had sex with three 12-year-olds in 2002, it decided, had committed no crime. The judgment has provoked uproar. A congressional committee said it violates children’s constitutional rights, perhaps opening the way for referral to the supreme court. The government will seek to reverse the ruling’s effect (The Economist).
The gritty transactions of the drug trade take over in city neighbourhoods that hum with legitimate commerce by day. Throngs of stupefied buyers crowd around dealers before skulking away behind the telltale glow of cigarette lighters. These are not the images that Brazil wants to project (Reuters).
STUDY IN BRAZIL
Overseas students have the opportunity to study in Brazil by means of an agreement of the Ministry of External Relations (MRE) and the Ministry of Education (MEC) with public (federal and state) and private universities. The objective of the government action is to provide qualification opportunities for citizens of developing countries that maintain educational and cultural agreements with Brazil (Brasil.gov.br).