Earlier this week President Dilma Rousseff signed into law (Law 12.683/2012) a bill aimed at curbing money laundering offenses in Brazil. It is a significant change from previous money laundering rules, and another in a series of actions taken by the president to (as much as possible) stamp out corruption that still hinders the country’s progress (The Rio Times).
Senator Demostenes Torres has been expelled from the Senate over alleged links with a gambling ring. Mr Torres, who is an independent, is only the second senator to be removed from his post by his fellow colleagues in the Senate’s 188-year history. Police say Mr Torres helped a detained gambling magnate obtain favours for his companies in exchange for money (BBC).
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Mounting protectionism and the rule-breaking admission of Venezuela have fatally undermined a once-promising trade block, the Mercosul (The Economist).
Brazil and the United States signed an agreement to boost customs cooperation and strengthen trade ties. Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano signed the accord in the Brazilian capital Brasilia. The two officials discussed joint efforts to promote customs cooperation to enhance trade relations and increase the observance of practices and standards recommended by the World Customs Organization (WCO) (Xinhua).
After two months of waiting, Brazil authorized the entry of apples from Argentina’s Alto Valle of Rio Negro and Neuquen. The news, which brings relief to local exporters, came after Argentina reopened its market to pork from Brazil (MercoPress).
In the years since the post-9/11 security reforms, the U.S. and Brazil have been strengthening relations in the security sector. As Brazil has developed into a prominent actor on the South American continent, the U.S. has increasingly considered Brazil to be a key figure in building relations with Latin America as a whole. In the realm of security, this developing relationship has been characterized by bi-lateral and multi-lateral initiatives, but at the same time has been tested by recent events that portrayed an all-too-silent security dilemma between the two nations. What could this mean for the future of U.S.-Brazilian relations? Read on At the Brazil Institute.
American interests are clearly aligned with Brazil’s. But the risk is that many in Washington still have a cold war mentality, especially in policies toward Latin America, and they still have an outdated vision of good vs evil. That is, Washington all too often prioritizes confronting Chavismo to supporting regional leader Brazil (Energy Tribune).
DEFENSE & SECURITY
Brazilian Air Force has asked bidders to renew their offers on a contract to provide 36 next-generation fighter jets, extending for six months a race between US, French and Swedish contestants (MercoPress).
Embraer is announcing plans for Boeing Co to supply a new weapons system for its light attack fighter, strengthening its offer in a fiercely contested bid for a U.S. Air Force contract in Afghanistan (Reuters).
The Indonesian Air Force has signed a commercial contract for a second batch of eight light attack and tactical training A-29 Super Tucano. The order also includes a flight simulator that will be used for instructing and training Indonesian pilots. In August 2012, Indonesia will receive the first four airplanes from the initial batch of eight aircraft ordered in November 2010. Deliveries of the second batch are scheduled for 2014 (Embraer).
The first three new OPV’s, the “Amazonas”, was delivered last month by Britain’s BAE Systems and is capable of spending up to thirty-five days at sea. Each ship has two machine guns and a cannon on board with the capacity to house two speedboats and a helicopter in addition to six containers. It is likely that the ships will also be utilized for rescues (The Rio Times).
Interestingly, we have seen a fascinating change throughout the last months in our Brazil Weekly poll on what jet fighter to buy. In the beginning, the option to “develop its own plane” was hardly voted on. Now it has overtaken those with preference for the Rafale, which option was always a steady number 2, after the Super Hornet. With another 6 months delay, will “developing a new plane” become the most voted option?
SPLIT SECOND POLL
Brazil said it will breed huge numbers of genetically modified mosquitoes to help stop the spread of dengue fever, an illness that has already struck nearly 500,000 people this year nationwide, killing 74 (MercoPress).
A host of academic, legal, health, political and social figures are joining together to back a campaign to decriminalise drug use in Brazil, as tens of thousands of consumers uninvolved in the drug trade are currently jailed. The “Drug Law: It’s Time to Change” campaign is an initiative launched by the Brazilian Commission on Drugs and Democracy, which aims to gather one million signatures in support of a bill that will be introduced in congress during the second half of 2013 (IPS).
SPLIT SECOND POLLS