Justice in action
For the first time in their country’s recent history, Brazilians finally had a taste of seeing politicians going to jail for corruption.
Last Friday – symbolically, the same day that the Proclamation of the Republic is celebrated in Brazil – the court decreed prison for a group of 12 politicians and bankers involved in the scandal of Mensalão or ‘big monthly payment’, the vote-buying scheme in Congress that used public funds to pay bribes. Continue reading »
Pope Francis’ visit last week seemed to last forever – every night the pontiff was on prime time television, awing the gathered millions with his sermons on Copacabana beach. His Gregorian tones and the freezing winds of an unusually cold winter made a change for a scene usually associated with the more worldly pursuits of sun-bathing and beer swilling.
Perhaps this week of Catholicism and the constant invoking of the Holy Trinity also infected the strategists at the ruling Workers’ Party in Brasília. What else could have moved President Dilma Rousseff’s to tell Folha de S.Paulo that she and her mentor, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the man who represents the spirit of the PT, are in fact “one”. Continue reading »
Brazil’s Congress is a lot like a chaotic call centre. No one knows who is responsible for your complaint; the problem is constantly referred on to another person; and it is resolved only when you threaten to take the matter to a superior, or to sue.
This week in Congress is a case in point. Continue reading »
When Brazilians took to the streets to protest last month, one of the most surprising elements was the absence of traditional political parties and unions.
The unions tried to make up for that on Thursday with a so-called “Day of Struggle”, but ended up giving out more of a squeak than a roar. Continue reading »
Stability – economic, social, political – became such a byword for Brazil in recent years that it almost seemed the country had changed places with old stalwarts, such as Europe and the US.
While the once seemingly rock-solid developed world was melting down, Brazil stood out as a model of all things, well, boring. The economy grew, unemployment was low, banks did not fall, the same party (PT) stayed in power and people seemed happy even though there were doubts over whether the national football team had lost its legendary magic. It even looked like Eike Batista might pull off his crazy scheme of running start-up oil and gas companies.
These last couple of weeks, however, have seen colour return to Brazil. Continue reading »
There has been some noise and confusion around Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party (PT) recently, particularly regarding what on earth its champion, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, thinks about the recent political upheaval on the streets and how his anointed successor, Dilma Rousseff is handling it. Continue reading »
After a meeting with governors and mayors on Monday called in response to the biggest protests in Brazil in nearly a generation, President Dilma Rousseff announced five pacts ranging from political reform to better public health.
Here is a list of the five, their likelihood of being effective (mostly very little), followed by a beyondbrics wishlist and its likelihood of happening (next to zero). Continue reading »
President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil has promised a referendum “to authorize establishing a specific constituent process” on political reform, as one of five responses to mass demonstrations on city streets across the country over the past fortnight. In other words, voters will decide whether to call a constituent assembly charged with overhauling Brazil’s dysfunctional political system.
As Reuters reports, the process could take years. Plenty more will be said and written about it. For now, below is a translation provided by the government of Rousseff’s speech in full before state governors and mayors of state capitals in Brasília on Monday. Continue reading »
This month, while Brazil’s attention was focused on getting back to work after the summer and Carnival holidays, something extraordinary happened in Brasília. The government got even bigger.
President Dilma Rousseff is engaged in tough negotiations with her allies over who should assume the mantle of her newest ministerial level position, the secretariat for small and medium enterprises. The post will be her 40th cabinet-level position, giving her enough ministers to staff her own small or medium business. Continue reading »
By Alfredo Behrens of the FIA business school
For the past half century Brazilian politics has produced exceptional leaders from very different backgrounds. But no such leaders have their roots in the world of business.
A business background would help give politicians a better strategic sense of what is possible. In Brazil, however, business does not seem to breed national leaders, as it does in the US or Chile – not that I would present either as a template for Brazil. But the lack of national prominence among business leaders raises an important question: does Brazilian business groom people for leadership at all? Continue reading »
Too bad Barack Obama isn’t running for office in Brazil – the real Barack Obama, that is. The US president is so popular there that more than a dozen candidates at last month’s municipal elections adopted his surname to try and differentiate themselves from the rest of the field. One candidate, according to CNN, even called himself “Barata Obama”, which literally translates as “Cockroach Obama”. Continue reading »
Anyone who was wondering whether Guido Mantega was on the way out need only read Valor Econômico on Wednesday for an answer. The indomitable Brazilian finance minister was there on the front page of Brazil’s leading business daily in fine form, delivering another salvo in the currency war, this time owning up to Brazil’s “dirty float” (of which more in a moment). Continue reading »
Once and future finance ministers?
Could Guido Mantega, Brazil’s finance minister and the man who coined the term “currency war”, be about to be cast aside?
Yes, if you believe Blog do Vincente at Correio Brasiliense, a Brasília newspaper. President Dilma Rousseff, or so the story goes, is considering replacing the inimitable Mantega (on the left in our picture) with Alexandre Tombini, the central bank governor and hero of Brazil’s recent crusade to lower interest rates. Continue reading »
It is not often that the endless corruption scandals and political squabbles in Brasília make their way into the brokerage reports of Wall Street and Faria Lima, São Paulo’s financial district.
But in the past few weeks, the word “Mensalão” has begun appearing with more frequency in analysts’ notes. Continue reading »