Brazil’s best friends under the Workers’ Party of Ms. Rousseff and her predecessor, Lula da Silva, are Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. If U.S. spooks are not paying attention to Brazil, they’re not paying attention.
The Economist’s op-ed looks at the factors why Brazil’s economy grew by only 0.9% in 2012:
The world’s most burdensome tax code
Absurdly generous pensions
Spending only 1.5% of GDP on infrastructure, compared with a global average of 3.8%
Gross public debt has climbed to 60-70% of GDP
The Economist recommends that Brazil do three things:
It needs to rediscover an appetite for reform by reshaping public spending, especially pensions.
. . .
Second, it must make Brazilian business more competitive and encourage it to invest
. . .
Third, Brazil urgently needs political reform
“All you have to do is read the records of the São Paulo Forum and observe the conduct of the Brazilian government,” he said. “The friends of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, of Dilma Rousseff and the Workers Party are the enemies of the United States: Chavist Venezuela, first with (Hugo) Chávez and now with (Nicolás) Maduro; Raúl Castro’s Cuba; Iran; Evo Morales’ Bolivia; Libya at the time of Gadhafi; Bashar Assad’s Syria.
“Cuban influence in Brazil is covert but very intense. José Dirceu, Lula da Silva’s former chief of staff and his most influential minister, had been an agent of the Cuban intelligence services. In exile in Cuba, he had his face surgically changed. He returned to Brazil with a new identity (Carlos Henrique Gouveia de Mello, a Jewish merchant) and functioned in that capacity until democracy was restored. Hand in hand with Lula, he placed Brazil among the major collaborators with the Cuban dictatorship. He fell into disgrace because he was corrupt but never retreated one inch from his ideological preferences and his complicity with Havana.”
please write more about the Forum of Sao Paulo, the organization created by Brazil’s Lula and Castro to change Latin America into an united Marxist region. Brazil has totally fallen to Marxism and is now engaged in the help of all marxist partners.
Brazil has already received the first of 4000 Cuban physicians who will come to indoctrinate Brazilian poor people on the wonders of communism. These guys are not even certified as doctors and are slaves who never see their salaries (money goes directly to Fidel).
Add to that the immense, structural corruption, and the drug trade from fellow Foro member Bolivia.
Back in 2009 The Economist had a picture of the Corcovado Christ as a rocket. Now the rocket is on a crash course:
Is The Economist’s image a good summation of the country’s situation?
The U.S. sees Brazil a potential moderating force in a region where countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Cuba are openly hostile to the Washington. The White House invitation for Ms. Rousseff to attend a high-profile state dinner was the only such invitation Mr. Obama has extended this year to any head of state.
You may call it a slap in the face, yes. The NSA is only a pretext.
Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, was fired on Monday amid rising diplomatic tension with neighboring Bolivia after a Brazilian diplomat helped a Bolivian opposition senator who faced criminal charges flee the country over the weekend.
The senator, Roger Pinto, took refuge in Brazil’s embassy in La Paz last year, saying he received death threats after making public leaked Bolivian documents allegedly showing collusion between government officials and drug traffickers. Spokespeople for Mr. Morales have denied the allegations. Brazil granted Mr. Pinto asylum in June 2012, but Bolivia didn’t provide permission for Mr. Pinto to leave Bolivia.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff removed Mr. Patriota in part because she only learned of Mr. Pinto’s extraction after he was already in Brazil, a person familiar with the decision said. Mr. Patriota has been offered a post at Brazil’s U.N. mission, according to a statement from Ms. Rousseff.
An additional point of analysis, as several people including Rio Gringa and Paulo Sotero have noted, is that Patriota was never particularly close to Dilma. He was one of the few remaining holdovers from Lula, gradually phased out during Dilma’s term. So this issue could also just be an excuse for a long desired cabinet shuffle by the president.
Brazil Protests Back Despite Proposed ReformsProtesters on Tuesday returned to the streets in low-income suburbs of Brazil’s biggest city to demand better education, transport and health services, one day after President Dilma Rousseff proposed a wide range of actions to reform Brazil’s political system and services.
it is worth asking who neatly arranged for the roadblocks and vandalism that broke out across the country after an annual increase in bus fares. There is solid evidence to suggest that it came from disillusioned and radical groups on Ms. Rousseff’s left. Protests in Porto Alegre, for example, began under the leadership of the likes of the Socialist and Freedom Party, which was formed by former PT members expelled for resisting Lula’s pension reform.
Using an anti-status-quo message and social media, organizers have not found it difficult to attract young people of many political persuasions. It is likely that most of them don’t know they are being used.
Back in the day, Dilma herself may have been one of the users.
The targets of the protests, now in their second week, have broadened to include high taxes, inflation, corruption and poor public services ranging from hospitals and schools to roads and police forces.
The protests are grounded in the country’s large middle class—polls show in that in São Paulo some 75% of marchers have college education, several times the national average.
For some observers, the marchers’ deep frustrations and diverse demands—from improvement of public services to reduction in political corruption—reflect how the standards of a growing middle class are rising faster than the country’s broader climb toward modernity.
Brazil embraced democracy in 1985. But the parties still run on inefficient systems of cronyism, backroom dealings and a seeming indifference to corruption. One of the issues that refired the protests in recent days is the fact that congress was preparing to approve a law to strip public prosecutors of their ability to investigate issues such as political corruption.
Other observers cite Brazil’s sluggish growth and a sense that the nation has squandered its long economic boom on frivolous pursuits like hosting next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. The shiny new stadiums built are in contrast with the country’s shabby hospitals and schools. “We want FIFA quality hospitals” is a popular sign held in protests, referring to the world soccer organization that organizes the World Cup.
Dilma will face re-election next year, so not much will change.
BBC Brasil, Sao Paulo
The mass of people gathered at Sao Paulo’s Largo da Batata was impressive – but more impressive was that after the demonstration began, thousands more kept arriving, streaming peacefully towards the city’s main avenues in a constant flow.
Their bright banners bore diverse demands – but all reflected a fatigue with what people here get from the state. I repeatedly heard the word “tired”: protesters told me they were tired of corruption, of nepotism, of high taxes paid for poor public services.
“The protests on the street go straight to the heart of the long-term problems of Brazil, a series of complaints that are hard to fix, and a sense of business as usual in government,” said Matias Spektor, an author and associate professor at Brazil’s Getulio Vargas Foundation university. “The political climate has changed.”
One issue surging to the fore involves anger over stadium projects in various cities ahead of the 2014 World Cup, which Brazil is preparing to host. Some projects have been hindered by cost overruns and delays, the unfinished structures standing as testament to an injection of resources into sports arenas at a time when schools and public transit systems need upgrades.
The huge expenses involved with the upcoming World Cup and Olympics have been criticized by many Brazilians for years; it’s only now that it’s coming to a head.
Meanwhile, the Joao Havelange stadium in Rio, to be used at the 2016 Olympics, will not open before 2015 due to roof repairs.
Puerto Rico plans to vote on a two-part referendum Sunday that could see the island amend its constitution for the first time in nearly half a century.
The referendum would reduce the size of the U.S. territory’s government by almost 30 percent as a cost-cutting measure, and would give judges the right to deny bail in certain murder cases. Puerto Rico currently is the only place in the Western hemisphere where all suspects, including those charged with rape and murder, are entitled to bail.
This disconnect was revealed in one account after another in the news media here about the visit, in which commentators lamented the fact that Ms. Rousseff was not received with the pomp of a White House state dinner, recognition granted by the Obama administration to the leaders of South Korea, India and Britain.
“The bilateral reality is far from being a disgrace, despite the points in dispute, but there’s a considerable lack of mutual respect,” Caio Blinder, a columnist for the magazine Veja, said in an essay describing the “downgrade” of Ms. Rousseff’s visit.
This was Dilma’s first presidential visit to the USA and she was not amused, and, at the press conference following the two-hour meeting,
the leaders’ eyes rarely met, and Ms. Rousseff rarely looked at Mr. Obama as he spoke. He looked intently at her during her remarks, nodding in agreement at times. But he seemed to bristle when she expressed concern that America’s “monetary expansion policy” could impair growth in emerging economies like Brazil’s. Monetary policy is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve; the White House and Congress deal with fiscal policy.
No breakthroughs were revealed regarding Brazil’s policies in the Middle East, which seem to have undergone some fine-tuning under Ms. Rousseff from those of her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who in 2010 tried to forge an ambitious uranium exchange deal with Iran.