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 »
On the face of it, political reform in Brazil sounds like a great idea. And when President Dilma Rousseff proposed a plebiscite to that end last month she must have hoped it would be enough to satisfy the hordes of angry protesters storming the country’s streets.
But two weeks later the plebiscite is in danger of becoming yet another political soap opera that does more to expose the system’s problems than solve them. Continue reading »
There are only ten days left now until Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, has to decide whether to approve one of the country’s most controversial pieces of legislation – the oil and gas royalties bill.
And she is still sticking to her guns, it seems. Continue reading »
Anything can happen in politics, and even more so in Brazilian politics, but President Dilma Rousseff could hardly have hoped for better at this stage of her term.
From a shaky start with ministers falling like ninepins last year , to the faltering economy this year, things could have been far worse. Had she mishandled the corruption scandals of last year, or the Mensalão (big monthly allowance) Congress vote-buying scam presently making its way through the courts, or tried to bully her coalition partners, she might now be facing a very different scenario. Continue reading »
The news could hardly be better for the government of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. After months of egging the economy on with a mix of protectionist and stimulus measures and heady rhetoric, finally some results.
Not only has the central bank’s forward indicator on gross domestic product indicated stronger growth in June than expected but retail sales and job creation have also come in better than expected. Continue reading »
The scene is in the office of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, in the Palácio do Planalto, her presidential palace in Brasília. After ushering out all underlings and obsequious ministers to ensure she is alone, she turns to a mirror on the wall and asks: “Mirror, mirror, who is the most popular president of them all?”
The mirror replies, after some Hollywood special effects: “No, it is not Barack Obama, not even close. No, it is not Cristina (Argentina), next door. No, it is not even your predecessor, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as wildly popular as he may have been. It is you my Presidenta.” Continue reading »
There have long been fears that President Dilma Rousseff might one day be overwhelmed by infighting in her enormous coalition, which at last count was comprised of 17 parties.
Lacking the charisma of her predecessor, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Dilma has a different style, commonly known as “kick butt”. She simply replaces those who fall out of line. Continue reading »
More good news for the government of President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday. Inflation slowed much more than the market expected in the 12 months to mid-March, easing to 5.61 per cent from 5.98 per cent in the previous reading.
This is supportive not only of the government’s policy of trying to quickly push down the benchmark Selic interest rate but of also another official priority – encouraging a weaker exchange rate. Continue reading »
Is the currency war over? It may be, if you believe a fascinating analysis by Mike Dolan of Reuters published on Wednesday. He floats the idea that the renminbi may have peaked and could soon depreciate, bringing other EM currencies down with it.
Unthinkable stuff, to many. But it does make you wonder why Brazil, the world’s chief currency warmonger, has chosen this moment to escalate the conflict, when its own currency is some way off its peak and quantitative easing in the developed world seems to be on hold or at an end. Continue reading »
Brazilian minister faces corruption scandal over alleged kickbacks on government contracts. Sound familiar?
Six of Brazil’s top ministers have been forced to resign since June, and it looks like it could soon be seven. This time we’re talking about Carlos Lupi, the labour minister (pictured). Continue reading »
It is tempting to take a cavalier attitude to the jettisoning of ministers in President Dilma Rousseff’s cabinet.
The latest casualty was tourism minister Pedro Novais, who this week became the fifth cabinet member to be ejected – four out of five of them for corruption and ethics scandals. Continue reading »
President Dilma Rousseff lost her second minister in less than a month to a corruption scandal on Wednesday.
Senator Alfredo Nascimento (pictured left), transport minister, “left the government … to cooperate with efforts to fully clarify suspicions surrounding the operation of the Transport Ministry”, the government said in a statement. Continue reading »