Posts Tagged ‘Dilma Rousseff’

Brazil: Cunha charged with corruption and money laundering

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Eduardo Cunha, whom the WaPo once referred to as Brazil’s evangelical Frank Underwood has been charged:

On Thursday, Brazilian Attorney General Rodrigo Janot formally charged Eduardo Cunha, Brazil’s highest-ranking lawmaker with commanding a farrago of felonies, including shaking down suppliers of Petrobras, the scandal-ridden national oil company, for some $5 million, and then laundering the bribes through more than 100 financial operations from Montevideo to Monaco.

Mac Margolis explains:

Ever since Cunha won the right to the top microphone in Congress, trouncing Rousseff’s own candidate for the job, the Rio de Janeiro lawmaker has dedicated his mandate to making her life miserable, delaying revenue raising initiatives and planting some “fiscal bombs” in Congress that would plump constituents’ earnings at the expense of the swelling public deficit.

So how do you say schadenfreude in Portuguese? After weeks of escalating rhetoric and street protests clamoring for impeachment, suddenly it’s Rousseff’s archenemy who looks to be on the brink.

But hold those vuvuzelas. While Cunha may be hobbled by the scandal, he’s hardly out of play. Even if the Supreme Court accepts Janot’s indictment and sends Cunha to trial, he has no obligation to step aside. Removing him would take half plus one of the 513 members of Brazil’s lower house, an ecosystem where Cunha is at home.

Cunha is second in line to succeed the president. As Speaker of the lower chamber he controls the legislative agenda and the budget.

As you may recall, Cunha made The Economist last month when he announced that he would defect to the opposition without leaving the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB),

If numbers were all that mattered, the PMDB would be the most powerful party by far. Besides having more seats in Congress than any other, it outguns its main rivals, the PT and the centre-right opposition Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), in state and local governments (see table). The PMDB has 2.4m card-carrying members, more than the PT’s 1.6m.

In Brazil’s Byzantine political environment, the move to charge Cunha may be seen as payback for Cunha’s defection, who in turn may deny approval of Dilma’s (rather weak, if you ask me) proposals to slash government spending, raise taxes and reduce bureaucracy.

More interestingly, the question remains whether Cunha would push to impeach Dilma (as the demonstrators demand), and if he does, will Dilma gather enough congressional support to avoid impeachment – with the help of PMBD members.

The $40/barrell oil Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Oil breaks $40 barrier for first time in six years, which is very important news for our hemisphere.

ARGENTINA
Menem vows to reveal evidence that could shed light on AMIA attack

The defence of Menem today requested the Federal Oral Court No. 2 (TOF 2), that is leading the investigation into the cover-up of the 1994 deadly attack, to have the Senate withdraw Menem’s state secrets privilege warning the release of the information “could affect” the interests of the Nation and “the breaking of peaceful coexistence” with other countries.

Argentineans Launch Petition against “Donald Trump” Wall with Paraguay
Locals Dry [sic] Infrastructure as Wasteful, Bad for Relations

BOLIVIA
Bolivian Police Drag Indigenous Protesters Out of Their Homes
Guaraní Pledge to Resist Evo’s Oil Exploration on Their Lands

BRAZIL
Translation: Merkel reminds Rousseff that Germans want to get paid. Merkel calls for a free trade accord between the Europe Union and Mercosur. During the “surprise” visit,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Brazil’s government on Thursday to further open its markets to foreign companies, and said she saw an opportunity to reach a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc. Merkel is on a two-day visit to Brazil with a large delegation of government officials and representatives from German companies.

CHILE
Study: Chile likely to draw from stabilization fund due to copper price drop

COLOMBIA
Colombia slashes gold holdings by two-thirds amid July rout

The reason for and timing of the move are not known, but it came as institutional and speculative investors pulled more cash en masse from commodities, ending a decade-long boom, as the stock market crash in China reignited concerns about demand from the world’s biggest consumer of industrial raw materials.

CUBA
Obama Plays the Clinton Vietnam Card to Normalize Relations With Cuba, but Turns it On Its Head

Before restoring full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, President Clinton eased a majority of the economic sanctions. A mistake. However, by the time he did this, the Soviets were mostly gone from Vietnam; Vietnamese forces had pulled out from Cambodia and replaced with a UN peacekeeping force; and thousands of former South Vietnamese officials had been freed from political prisons and exiled to other nations including the United States.

What ultimately made it politically palatable for Clinton to remove sanctions was a 1993 Senate Select Committee report on POW matters that afforded Clinton the domestic political cover he needed to move forward to ease sanctions. Vietnam also started to return POW remains and allowed U.S. inspectors as part of the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTF-FA) to visit various places throughout the country to investigate POW/MIA claims.

ECUADOR
Ecuador Protests: Correa’s Oil Crisis, Policies Could Spell End Of Latin America Success Story

Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano roars back to life, locals speak of lava flow fears and damage to tourism

GUATEMALA
Prosecution requests impeachment of Guatemala president Otto Perez

JAMAICA
IMF Considering Adjusting Some Measures Under Deal With Jamaica

International Monetary Fund (IMF’s) Mission Chief to Jamaica, Dr Uma Ramakrishnan says the fund is considering relaxing some of the targets under Jamaica’s economic support programme

MEXICO
Miguel Ángel Jiménez Blanco, Mexican who led search for mass graves found shot to death
Activist’s group had unearthed 129 bodies in Guerrero, where students went missing last year.

He worked for the politically active group called the Union of Towns and Organizations of the State of Guerrero (known as UPOEG)

Previously Deported Illegals Caught Smuggling Thousands of People Across Border

3-Time Deported Top Mexican Drug Trafficker Caught Illegally Re-Entering Texas

Investigation Lifts a Cloud Over President of Mexico
A seven-month conflict-of-interest investigation into the purchase of luxury homes by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s wife and his finance minister from a government contractor found no wrongdoing, Mexico’s comptroller said Friday.

NICARAGUA
Why am I not surprised? China’s Building a Huge Canal in Nicaragua, But We Couldn’t Find It

PANAMA
Turkey’s new direct connection to Panama may facilitate terrorist financing for Hamas

Turkey and Panama have no international trade to speak of, raising questions as to why, of the 28 countries not served by the airline, is Turkish Airlines expanding to Panama.

Likewise, New nonstop flight from Dubai to Panama a terrorist financiers’ dream? (h/t JC)

Financiers for Hezbollah and a number of other sanctioned Middle East terrorist groups must be jumping up and down for joy, for their jobs will become much easier. The amount of international trade between Panama and the Middle East is nominal, but the nonstop flights will greatly facilitate both illicit (i.e. money laundering) transactions, and terrorist financing operations.

Expect more of that if Obama’s Iran deal goes through.

PARAGUAY
Rogelio Livieres Plano, ousted bishop in Paraguay, dies at 69

PERU
The migrant nation
Urbanisation in Peru has brought citizenship but also a host of problems

Peruvian newspaper cancels cardinal column after papal ‘plagiarism’
Peruvian newspaper says it will not publish any more articles by Roman Catholic cardinal Luis Cipriani after papal plagiarism revelations

Now Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani has been unceremoniously dumped from his occasional column at El Comercio, Peru’s oldest privately-owned newspaper, after his writings were proved to include plagiarised words of popes.

PUERTO RICO
Governor Luis Fortuño On The Lessons The US Must Learn From Puerto Rico

The former Governor of Puerto Rico explains that “bottom line, you can never tax yourself out of a hole.”

Hurricane Danny Has Begun Its Weakening; Drought Relief For Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico?

VENEZUELA
Good luck with that: Venezuelans Launch Mises Institute to Take Down ChavismoLibertarians Offer Ideological Cure to Economic Crisis

The week’s posts and podcast:
Nicaragua: Where’s the canal?

Argentina: Wheelchair tango

The Falklands: Pope Francis, what fresh hell can this be? UPDATED

Venezuela: Circling the drain

Somebody tell Al Sharpton Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens

Venezuela: Cuban doctors stuck in limbo, as the country collapses

Cuba: Air-travel, credit cards next . . . by executive action?

Menendez on Iran: Failure Theater, or not?

Cuba: “Who fears the billboard?”

“Culture is how we pass the time between hypocrisies.”

Brazil: Will Dilma get it?

Mexico: @Leon_Krauze looks at the big White House

Podcast: Cuba, marches in Brazil & other US-Latin America stories of the week

The foreign policy house of lies


Brazil: Will Dilma get it?

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Impeachment, that is,

Protesters Call for Ouster of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff

Wrapping themselves in the national flag, Brazilians swarm city centers

According to Brazilian media and on social networks, protests were staged in all of Brazil’s 26 states, as well as in the capital district of Brasília.

In the city of São Paulo, the antigovernment protest was the second-largest since March, with estimates ranging from 135,000 to 350,000 protesters on Avenida Paulista on Sunday afternoon.
. . .
Yet, over the past two weeks, some of Ms. Rousseff’s severest critics have been making conciliatory remarks, suggesting that Brasília’s ruling elites are looking for ways to defuse the crisis without a regime change. Moody’s Investors Service recently reduced Brazil’s credit rating to one notch above junk status, lending urgency to some politicians’ desire to end the standoff quickly.

O Globo has a photo gallery, complete with blow-up doll of Lula in stripes.

I could find no information on the line of succession in case of presidential impeachment in Brazil. Does it mean there will be an immediate election? Considering the rumors around when Dilma was re-elected, what measures would guarantee a clean vote?

—————————————

In US news,
Trump’s Defective EconomicsThe candidate is promoting currency devaluation—he should ask Argentina and Brazil how that worked out.

If “competitive devaluation” worked, Argentina would be the national equivalent of Donald Trump. That means very, very rich, in case you somehow missed the Donald’s constant assertion about his net worth.

Brazil has a similar history. It began to cultivate middle-income earners only after it pegged its currency to the dollar in 1994 to halt hyperinflation. Brazil abandoned the peg in 1999 but that didn’t make the Brazilian economy more globally competitive. Quite the opposite occurred, because devaluation acts as a form of protectionism. When the Brazilian real weakens, Brazilians lose purchasing power and can no longer afford high-tariff imports. They’re forced to buy lower-quality goods from inefficient Brazilian industries.

Read the whole thing.

Brazil: Dilma wants U.S. investment

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Dilma Rousseff is visiting Pres. Obama today, and she’s saying she welcomes U.S. business . . . while keeping Brazil’s protectionism:

Brazil’s President Seeks Investment During U.S. VisitBusiness friendly environment is needed to attract investors and restore growth, Rousseff says

Her visit comes amid a widening investigation into alleged price-fixing and corruption surrounding government-controlled oil giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras. Several Brazilian companies are being investigated in connection with the scandal. Some are cooperating with investigators; some have denied wrongdoing. Some of those executives who have made plea deals have alleged that Ms. Rousseff’s campaign received some of the illegal funds.

Her party created the Foro de Sao Paulo  (initially named Meeting of Left and Anti-imperialist Parties and Organizations of Latin America) in 1990.

UPDATE
Obama: We Have Common Values with Brazil; Similar History – “Similar history”?

Brazil: The demonstrators are not going away

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

In fact, now some are calling for military intervention:

700,000 protest against Brazilian government with some calling for military intervention
Anti-government rallies continue as calls for Dilma Rousseff to be impeached grow. Some even urge the military to get involved

Anti-government rallies drew an estimated 700,000 protesters to the streets around Brazil on Sunday amid calls for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff
. . .
The protests were aimed at the Workers’ Party (PT), which has been beset by a massive corruption scandal within state-owned oil company Petrobras.

The Workers’ Party has been implicated by an investigation that found some Petrobras contracts were inflated and profit creamed off for executives and politicians.

Elvis left the building, and was on the street:

As I’ve been saying, the outcome is entirely up to the Brazilians.

Brazil: Will the protest matter?

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Anti-Rousseff protests draw 1.5 million across Brazil

About 1.5 million protesters hit the streets across Brazil on Sunday in a major show of anger against leftist President Dilma Rousseff, who faces crises from a faltering economy to a massive corruption scandal at state oil giant Petrobras.

Many called for the impeachment of Rousseff, less than six months after she was narrowly returned to power in the most bitterly fought presidential race since the end of a military dictatorship in 1985.

The biggest demonstration took place in Sao Paulo, where a million people rallied — according to police estimates — many in the distinctive yellow and green of Brazil’s national football team. The city — South America’s biggest, and Brazil’s business and industrial hub — is a stronghold of opposition to Rousseff.

Peaceful demonstrations also took place in 83 cities and towns around the country, including major protests in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro.

Watch Tens of Thousands Demand Brazil President Rousseff’s ImpeachmentThe Guardian, of course, refers to them as “Rightwing demonstrations,” since demanding transparency and an end to corruption is clearly not a leftie “thing,” and Dilma is definitely a leftie.

Indeed,

The latest protests coincide with the 30th anniversary of the year in which Brazil’s military dictatorship ended and democracy was restored. In recent days, Brazilians have debated whether the demonstrations would mark a milestone for democratic expression and free speech or, conversely, signal the country’s unwillingness to obey the verdict of the ballot box when times turn tough.

Will the protests make a difference? Only if the people of Brazil are deteermined to strengthen the institutions that guarantee transparency and the rule of law.

Until then, no.



Brazil: Dilma’s shaky inaugural

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The WSj writes on Dilma Rousseff’s second inaugural. Brazil Leader Starts Term on Shaky Ground
President Dilma Rousseff Promised to Fight Corruption and Fix the Economy During Her Inauguration

After being in office for four years, the numbers are not good:

In an inauguration ceremony that was upbeat but drew sparse applause and little spontaneous celebration by her supporters, Ms. Rousseff extolled her legacy of poverty reduction while outlining a vision to get Latin America’s largest economy back on track.

“We will prove that it is possible to make adjustments to the economy without repealing rights that have been won or betray social commitments,” she said in a speech in Brazil’s Congress attended by cabinet members, foreign dignitaries, allied lawmakers and other officials.

Her pledge came as Brazil confronts flat growth, stubbornly high inflation, ballooning debt and a potentially explosive corruption scandal at state-controlled oil giant Petróleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras.

Petrobras is key:

But the darkest cloud on the horizon for Ms. Rousseff might be the fast-moving corruption scandal at Petrobras.

Brazilian prosecutors allege that executives at Petrobras conspired with construction companies to inflate the cost of contracts, skimming off as much as $1.5 billion, by the estimate of Brazil’s budget watchdog, to enrich themselves while funneling kickbacks to Ms. Rousseff’s Workers’ Party and its allies.

Ms. Rousseff hasn’t been implicated in the scandal, and leaders of her party have repeatedly denied allegations of involvement. Police have already filed charges against 36 suspects, including two former Petrobras officials.

There are two things to bear in mind:
1. The enormous amounts of money handled through Petrobras (and the temptation/opportunities for corruption)
2. Brazil’s antecedents when it comes to scandals and prosecutions

Related:
Blast from the past: The Economist explains What is Brazil’s “mensalão”?

Brazil: A petition to the White House

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Brazilian blogger Rafael Merlo of Observatório Conservador, who uncovered Dilma Rousseff’s fake Twitter followers back in July, is petitioning the White House, and emailed me the following (emphasis added),

Two weeks ago (26/10) took place the presidential election in Brazil. By a narrow gap of votes (3%) Dilma Rousseff, the current president and candidate for the socialist Workers Party, was reelected.

Although the international community reported the election as democratic, this is not the perception of significant part of the Brazilians. The election was marred by allegations of corruption and embezzlement of public funds by the Rousseff’s campaign. Other sordid attitudes were taken by the socialists during the election, for example:

– the constant threat of ending the food allowance of the poor people if Rousseff was not reelected;
– attack to the building of the largest circulation magazine in the country, which had denounced government corruption;
– incitement to prejudice and confrontation between Brazilians from the south and north, etc.

But what’s even scarier is that there were evidences of fraud in the elections, and the Brazilian authorities are silent about that. The Superior Electoral Court, the highest court of the election, is chaired by a Workers Party former lawyer. The defeated candidate Aecio Neves, who belongs to the Social Democratic Party, accepted the result quickly and without question. People are outraged and there is no leadership to guide them and give them voice.

That growing wave of outrage is taking the streets. Last Saturday, thousands of people protested in major cities across the country calling for an audit of the election, the investigation of complaints and, if proven, the impeachment of President Rousseff. All this is being muted and distorted by the Brazilian media, which is totally left-biased.

Rousseff and the Workers Party are implanting the Bolivarian comunism in Brazil. And that should concern the Americans as well, because the growth of bolivarian regimes in Latin American is the result of a major plan put into action by an international enemy called Sao Paulo Forum. The Sao Paulo Forum is the most powerfull political organization in Latin America. It was created in the 90’s by Fidel Castro and Lula to “recover in Latin America what was lost in Eastern Europe”. You can read more about the Sao Paulo Forum here:http://bit.ly/1usa4DV.

With the petition to the White House (http://1.usa.gov/1tJ5bUN) the Brazilians are not expecting any kind of support from president Obama itself, of course, because we know well what we can expect from liberals. But the White House and the US government is much more than Obama and the liberals: we would like to talk to the good American citizens concerned with the future of our continent. And this petition serves two purposes:

1) call the attention of Americans regarding the political situation on the continent, especially the alignment of the Bolivarian communist regimes with declared enemies of the United States, such as Russia and Iran.

2) put in circulation in the US and international media the name of the real enemy that must be fought on the American continent: the Sao Paulo Forum, the agent that is creating a new soviet union in Latin America.

I would be very grateful if you could help spread this petition among your family, friends, and readers of you website: http://1.usa.gov/1tJ5bUN

The petition reads,
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Position yourself against the Bolivarian communist expansion in Brazil promoted by the administration of Dilma Rousseff

On 10/26, Dilma Rousseff was reelected, and will continue his party’s plan to establish a communist regime in Brazil – the Bolivarian molds propounded by the Foro de São Paulo. We know that in the eyes of the international community, the election was fully democratic, but the ballot boxes used are not reliable, apart from the fact the heads of the judiciary, are mostly members of the winning party. Social policies also influenced the choice of the president, and people were threatened with losing their food allowance if they do not re-elect Dilma. We call a White House position in relation to communist expansion in Latin America. Brazil does not want and will not be a new Venezuela, and the USA that need help the promoters of democracy and freedom in Brazil.
Created: Oct 28, 2014

Neves’s acceptance of the results may be due to several factors, which, unfortunately, I am unable to discuss since I am not well-versed enough on Brazil’s internal politics. However, Merlo is accurate when he says that the Foro de Sao Paolo was Castro and Lula’s creation.

Professor Luis Fleischman points out regarding the election,

The vote shows a deep division in the country between the richer South and the poorer North. The North has been the largest recipient of social welfare programs from the Federal government. It is precisely because of these welfare policies that a large majority of people in the North voted for Rousseff, giving her a narrow margin of victory. . The business sector, unhappy with high taxes and other obstacles imposed on them definitely voted against Rousseff. The middle class, that was the key to the protests over the poor quality of health and educational services last year, also voted against Rousseff.

Bottom line, it is populist policies that enabled Rousseff to get reelected.

As Fleischman says,

Populism is not just an economic burden. It also makes the party in power feel more complacent and entitled as it enjoys a degree of popularity.

A lesson Americans should keep in mind.



Brazil: The election was tweeted

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

After Vote, Brazilians Lash Out on Social Media
A day after President Dilma Rousseff squeaked out a close electoral victory, Brazilian voters vented their frustrations one way they know best: on social media.

Many Neves supporters, hailing largely from Brazil’s wealthier south, joked they would be packing their bags to flee to Miami or Orlando. Some posted images showing Brazil divided into two, with the poorer northeastern states which supported Ms. Rousseff hived off into a separate country.

The reactions underscored the divisiveness of the elections, which were the closest in Brazilian history.

Considering all the factors, it would have taken a miracle from God Himself for Neves to win.

Dilma claims, “I want to be a much better president than I have been until now,” which rather fills me with dread, considering how

Brazil has chosen to warehouse a quarter of its population into welfare serfdom for nothing more than the benefit of leftist parties and their grasp on power.

“Better,” for what?



Brazil: Ibovespa volatility

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

First Brazil’s stocks tanked,
Ibovespa Tumbles Toward Bear Market as Rousseff’s Win Sinks Real

Brazil’s benchmark equity index led global declines as President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election damped speculation for a change in policies that wiped out $553 billion of stock market value and left the economy in recession.

The Ibovespa (IBOV) dropped 2.8 percent to 50,503.66 at the close of trading, the most among the 20 biggest indexes globally. After tumbling as much as 6.2 percent earlier, approaching the threshold for a bear market, the gauge pared losses as education companies and pulp exporters rallied. The real posted the world’s biggest loss as it sank 1.9 percent to a nine-year low.

After years of weak growth, high inflation and intervention, Dilma’s re-election tanked the currency, too,

The real’s plunge to 2.5224 per dollar put it at the weakest level on a closing basis since April 2005. One-month implied volatility on options for the real, reflecting projected shifts in the currency, was the world’s highest. The currency sank 12 percent in the past three months.

Then why did things rise up again?

“To some extent, markets were already pricing in her victory last week, and that may explain why the reaction to the election results wasn’t as negative as I expected,” Alvaro Marangoni, a partner at Quadrante Investimentos Ltda., said by phone from Sao Paulo. “We’re all waiting to see if policies are adjusted so the economy can recover.”

That’s an optimist, indeed.

The states that opposed Dilma out in the grasslands, soybean farms, cattle ranches and productive and innovative industrial centers down south, went for her free-market opponent. The states with 25% of the population dependent on welfare went for Dilma,

The takers have become politically stronger than the makers

As Monica Showalter of IBD said,

Now Brazil can look forward to not just low growth, but also high protectionist trade walls, more taxes, more corruption, more intrusive government and an increasingly arrogant state.

I was optimistic on Brazil years ago, but no more.