Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

Surprise Candidate Marina Silva Rattles Brazil’s Presidential Race

| September 19th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Raymond Colitt

Until Aug. 13, Marina Silva was the vice presidential candidate in a long-shot campaign to win the Brazilian national election. Then tragedy intervened: Her running mate, the presidential candidate for the Socialist Party, Eduardo Campos, died in a plane crash. Silva succeeded him and, in the weeks since, has seen her poll numbers rival those of President Dilma Rousseff, who had been favored to win the Oct. 5 vote being contested by three major candidates and several minor ones. The two women are now expected to face each other in a runoff, and Silva stands a solid chance of beating the incumbent.

“Sticking rigorously to the moral high ground will give her a minority government, while abandoning it will frustrate much of her support base.”—Rafael Cortez

Silva, 56, rose from a poverty- and disease-stricken childhood, not learning to read and write until she was 16. She went on to organize ... Read More

“This is not a speech. It is a life”

| September 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

By H.J.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, who is hoping to be granted a second term in next month’s elections, has claimed that only a vote for her can ensure the continuation of the country’s best-known anti-poverty programme, the Bolsa Família. Since 30m people out of an electorate of around 140m are directly or indirectly dependent on the programme’s cash handouts, this is potentially enormously damaging to her opponents, of whom Marina Silva is the best placed in the polls.

Ms Silva’s response was broadcast on television in her electoral advertising on September 16th. To feel the full force of her words, you need to know that she was born in the Seringal Bagaço, a poor, rural part of the Amazonian state of Acre, to parents who were rubber-tappers. Unlike almost anyone else in Brazilian politics, she knows how hunger feels. The video below is in Portuguese, subtitled. Our translation into English is ... Read More

Can Marina Silva shock the status quo?

| September 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

A few months ago, incumbent president Dilma Rousseff appeared to be coasting toward reelection despite a flagging economy. However, in August, political maverick Marina Silva was thrust into the spotlight of Brazil’s presidential campaign after the death of her running mate. Pledging to reform the country’s dysfunctional politics and jumpstart the economy with free-market reforms, Silva has surged to a tie with Rousseff in recent polls.

As a result, Rousseff is not expected to win a majority of the vote on October 5 and faces a serious challenge from Silva in the runoff on October 26.

Silva’s humble background and fierce independence have attracted voters who have seen their economy slip into a recession under statist policies that are driving up deficits and drying up jobs. It remains to be seen if Silva can convince enough voters that she can shake up the status quo and ... Read More

Challenger Upends Brazilian Race for Presidency

| September 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By Simon Romero

RIO DE JANEIRO — When Dilma Rousseff and Marina Silva were both cabinet ministers, they clashed on everything from building nuclear power plants to licensing huge dams in the Amazon.

Ms. Rousseff came out on top, emerging as the political heir to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and ultimately succeeding him as president. But she now finds herself locked in a heated race with Ms. Silva, an environmental icon who is jockeying for the lead in polling ahead of the Oct. 5 election as an insurgent candidate repudiating the power structure she helped assemble.

Ms. Silva’s upending of the presidential race is a symbol of the antiestablishment sentiment that has roiled Brazil, including anxiety over a sluggish economy and fatigue with political corruption. Her rising popularity also taps into shifts in ... Read More

AP Interview: Brazil’s Silva Wants Better US Ties

| September 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By the Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO — Marina Silva, a front-running presidential candidate who grew up in the Amazon jungle and could become the first black to lead Brazil’s government, said Wednesday that if elected she’ll improve ties with the U.S. and strongly push for human rights in nations like Cuba.

She spoke exclusively to The Associated Press in her first interview with a foreign media outlet since being thrust into Brazil’s presidential campaign after her Socialist Party’s original candidate died in an Aug. 13 plane crash.

Silva, a former Amazon activist and environment minister who pushed policies that helped Brazil slash the rate at which it was destroying the jungle, has found herself in a dead-heat presidential race with President Dilma Rousseff. The incumbent represents the Workers Party, which Silva herself helped found three ... Read More

Rousseff Support Ebbs in Brazil Poll Showing No Clear Winner

| September 17th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Anna Edgerton

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff lost voter support in an Ibope poll that shows a runoff against Marina Silva is too close to call ahead of October elections. Third-place candidate Aecio Neves’s backing increased.

Rousseff would win 36 percent of voter support in the first round, with 30 percent for Silva and 19 percent for Neves, according to the poll, published last night. The incumbent doesn’t has enough backing to avoid a runoff, which occurs when the leader in the Oct. 5 first round fails to garner more votes than all other candidates combined. The results compare with 39 percent for Rousseff, 31 percent for Silva and 15 percent for Neves in a Sept. 12 Ibope poll.

Rousseff in the past three weeks has stepped up attacks against Silva, saying the former environment minister’s doesn’t have the experience to lead and would reduce investments in offshore oil and gas reserves known ... Read More

Fallen Brazilian Mogul Eike Batista Accused of Insider Trading

| September 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times

By Dan Horch

The fortunes of Brazilian businessman Eike Batista took another hit over the weekend, as the Rio de Janeiro public prosecutor’s office accused him of manipulating the share price of his now-bankrupt petroleum company, OGX, and engaging in insider trading.

The public prosecutor’s office began investigating Mr. Batista in April. Under Brazil’s legal system, a judge still has to decide to accept the charges before the case can move to a trial, but judges in Brazil almost always do so.

If a trial takes place and Mr. Batista is convicted, he could in theory go to prison for as long as 13 years, but no one in Brazil, where the justice system is seen as lenient on white-collar crime, has ever gone to jail for insider trading.

The prosecutors also requested that a court freeze up to 1.5 billion reais ($645 million) in assets belonging to Mr. ... Read More

Marina Silva, Former Illiterate Rubber Tapper, Reshapes Brazil’s Presidential Race

| September 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Lucy Jordan

Brazil barely had time to mourn.

Almost as soon as the news broke in mid-August that Brazilian Socialist Party presidential candidate Eduardo Campos had been killed in a plane crash, fevered speculation focused on the prospects of his running mate, the former environment minister and 2010 presidential candidate Marina Silva. Party leaders quickly named her Campos’s successor.

Though widely admired, Campos was trailing in third place before his death. A month later, Silva has transformed what was one of Brazil’s duller campaigns into an extraordinary scramble for power between incumbent President Dilma Rousseff and a poor rubber-tapper who taught herself to read at the age of 16.

The latest polls, released Wednesday night, show a statistical dead heat between the two in a prospective second round.

Silva cut her political teeth as an activist in the Amazon, where standing up to illegal loggers or powerful farmers can be dangerous.

Silva has presented herself ... Read More

5 Reasons Why Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff Should Not Be Re-Elected

| September 12th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Anderson Antunes

Over the last 20 years, Brazil has undergone a huge social and economic transformation that culminated with the country lifting tens of millions of people out of extreme poverty and reaching seventh place among the world’s largest economies. Such transformations began to take place during the government of former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who was elected in 1994 (and previously acted as Brazil’s Finance Minister) and is arguably credited with laying the groundwork that put Brazil’s hyperinflation to bed, though often at the neglect of social problems.

Cardoso was elected for a second term in 1998, during which he adopted a critical position to maintaining the fundamentals of monetary stability, especially after the 1997 crisis erupted. Then in 2002, former metalworker and trade unionist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected with the promise of governing for the people, but keeping the principles and achievements of his predecessor’s government, ... Read More

Wall Street’s Big Brazil Trade Is A Total Farce

| September 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
Business Insider

By Linette Lopez

For the past few months, Wall Street’s tidy narrative about Brazil has gone like this: It’s in bad shape now because of bad governance by President Dilma Rousseff’s administration, but not to worry. An election is coming and it will change everything. Buy Brazil! As hedge fund star Mike Novogratz of Fortress Investments said this spring — it’s “so bad it’s good.”

But what’s more likely is that regime change after October’s election is no cure-all. Latin America is a region where what often looks like change is more of the same. In this world, bad never has to be followed by good.

Right now there are three candidates in the running: the incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, Marina Silva of the socialist party, and Aécio Neves, a social democrat.

Silva, a former running mate of late presidential candidate Eduardo Campos who died in a plane crash last month, has inched above Rousseff ... Read More

Moody’s rebaja la perspectiva de la nota de Brasil a un mes de las elecciones

| September 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


RIO DE JANEIRO — La agencia de calificación financiera estadounidense Moody’s revisó la perspectiva de la nota soberana de Brasil de estable a negativa a menos de un mes de las presidenciales del 5 de octubre, debido a su magro crecimiento y pobres expectativas de mejora.

El “riesgo creciente de un largo periodo de crecimiento débil y del deterioro de los parámetros de la deuda tienden hacia una reducción de la solvencia de Brasil”, explicó la agencia en un comunicado.

La noticia tiene el potencial de impactar en la campaña para las elecciones nacionales del 5 de octubre, en las que la presidenta Dilma Rousseff busca la reelección, pero se enfrenta a un posible “empate técnico” con la ecologista Marina Silva en una eventual segunda vuelta, según el último sondeo divulgado este martes.

Moody’s reafirmó no obstante su calificación de la deuda brasileña, Baa2, manteniendo el grado de inversión, ... Read More

Brazil’s Market Gains as Politics Shift

| September 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


Investors are piling into Brazilian stocks, adhering to one simple rule: The lower President Dilma Rousseff falls in the polls, the higher share prices go.

Ms. Rousseff has few fans in the investment world, where she is blamed for not doing enough to reverse a prolonged economic slump. Until recently, she looked like a sure bet to win a second term in October elections, but her numbers have slipped against Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva.

That has caught the attention of some investors who had previously steered clear of South America’s biggest economy. “We’ve added to positions in companies that we don’t particularly like because they’re cheap and poorly managed,” said Michael Reynal, a portfolio manager with RS Investments, which oversees about $25 billion. “If there’s any change in government, that would change.”

Mr. Reynal and other investors are essentially betting that a Brazilian government run by Ms. Silva would loosen state control over ... Read More

Brazil’s Economic Growth Forecast Reduced Again

| September 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By ROGERIO JELMAYER

SÃO PAULO—Economists reduced once again their economic-expansion forecasts for Brazil for this year, after Latin America’s largest economy fell into a technical recession in the first half of the year, according to a weekly central-bank survey published Monday.

The survey’s 100 respondents reduced their estimates for economic growth this year to 0.48% from 0.52%, marking the 15th-consecutive reduction of the growth outlook for 2014. For next year, economists kept their estimates for an expansion of 1.10%.

Brazil’s gross domestic product shrank 0.6% in the second quarter from the previous three months, and first-quarter data was revised to a 0.2% contraction, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, or IBGE, at the end of August. A conventional definition used by economists is that a recession is two consecutive quarterly declines in economic output.

Meanwhile, economists slightly raised their estimates for inflation as measured by Brazil’s consumer-price index, or IPCA, for the ... Read More

Insight – Dreams on hold, Brazil’s ‘new middle class’ turns on Rousseff

| September 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Star


SAO PAULO (Reuters) – The streets of Jardim São Luis, a poor and violent neighbourhood near the edge of São Paulo, have not been this quiet in years. And that is exactly why Valeria Rocha is so worried.

Arms folded, she scans the racks of baby clothes in her small store before flicking a glance towards the empty sidewalk.

“Just a year ago this area used to be packed with shoppers but nowadays it’s all empty, my store included,” she said.

After a decade of economic growth and welfare policies that lifted more than 30 million Brazilians out of poverty, Jardim São Luis and other tough neighbourhoods across Brazil had high hopes for the future.

 But a faltering economy and mounting frustration over poor public services are dimming the outlook for Brazil’s “new middle class.”

As that happens, leftist President Dilma Rousseff is watching ... Read More

ANALYSIS-Brazil squanders oil bonanza even as Rousseff declares victory

| September 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters


(Reuters) – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has put her government’s oil policies front and center in her re-election campaign.

TV ads show dramatic views of giant, floating oil platforms and new refineries under construction. The message: her leftist government is turning an offshore oil bonanza into schools, hospitals and jobs, propelling Brazil into the ranks of developed nations.

But there’s a problem. Brazil’s oil industry may be large and growing, but little of what Rousseff promised when elected in 2010 – or before then as energy minister or chairwoman of state-run energy giant Petrobras – has come to pass.

Instead, industry experts and Rousseff’s election rivals say her policies have led to stagnant oil output, increased dependence on imports and waning investor confidence despite Brazil’s huge potential.

“When Dilma talks of oil she talks of success, of patriotic destiny, but she’s failed to deliver,” ... Read More

Oil Scandal Erupts Again as Brazilians Near Election

| September 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


SANTIAGO, Chile — As Brazilians prepare to vote in a national election next month, a scandal involving the state-controlled oil giant Petrobras flared up again this weekend over testimony that implicated dozens of top figures in President Dilma Rousseff’s governing coalition in a vast kickback scheme.

Details of the scheme were revealed in confidential testimony by Paulo Roberto Costa, a jailed former executive who oversaw refining operations at Petrobras until 2012. The testimony was obtained by Veja, a Brazilian magazine. The accusations target Ms. Rousseff’s energy minister, Edison Lobão, and the leaders of both houses of Congress, Henrique Eduardo Alves and Renan Calheiros.

The revelations complicate a tough re-election bid by Ms. Rousseff, who has seen her lead in the polls vanish amid the surging candidacy of Marina Silva, an environmental leader whose campaign has blasted Ms. Rousseff over ... Read More

As the Brazilian economy slips into recession, voters may opt for free-market solutions

| September 5th, 2014 | No Comments »

Key points:

News of recession in Brazil and skepticism about President Dilma Rousseff’s track record and platform threaten Rousseff’s October reelection chances. In the first round of voting on October 5, Brazilians will decide whether maverick environmentalist Marina Silva or establishment opposition governor Aécio Neves da Cunha—both of whom offer free-market policies—will face Rousseff in an October 26 runoff. Brazilians will likely support the candidate most likely to spur economic growth and unlock Brazil’s productivity and wealth—meaning the stability and prosperity of a natural US partner are at stake.

Signs of economic stagnation and simmering popular dissatisfaction in Brazil could not have come at a worse time for President Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking reelection in October. According to midsummer polls, voters’ skepticism about her track record and statist platform appeared to open the door to a challenge from probusiness candidate Aécio Neves.

Political maverick Marina Silva, who ... Read More

Miami conference: Better roads to improved ports creates business opportunities in Latin America

| September 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Some 450 government and business leaders from 28 countries have gathered for the two-day Trade Americas & ConnectAmericas Expo — an opportunity to explore ways to bridge Latin America’s infrastructure gap.

But speakers at the conference, which was organized by the Inter-American Development Bank and Latin Trade Group, said that with growing populations — the region is expected to have 700 million people by 2030, more people moving into the middle class and globalization, most countries’ infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

Relatively brisk economic growth in Latin America in recent years also has “revealed the need to improve infrastructure,” said Bernardo Guillamon, the IDB’s manager of outreach and partnerships.

Even ... Read More

Polls Show Marina Silva Defeating Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

| September 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By JEFFREY LEWIS And LUCIANA MAGALHAES SÃO PAULO—According to two polls published Wednesday, Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva would defeat incumbent President Dilma Rousseff in the second round of voting in the October election, extending the challenger’s winning streak in surveys.

Ms. Silva became the Socialist Party’s candidate on Aug. 20, taking over the top spot after the party’s original candidate, Eduardo Campos, died in a plane crash a week earlier. She had been Mr. Campos’s running mate before the accident.

Ms. Rousseff, of the Workers’ Party, would get 37% of the vote; Ms. Silva would get 33%; and Brazilian Social Democracy Party candidate Aécio Neves would get 15% in the first round of voting on Oct. 5, according to the Ibope polling company, which carried out the survey for the Globo television network and the Estado de São Paulo newspaper.

That result would require a runoff election on Oct. 26, because no candidate would get more than half ... Read More

Rivals try to stop Silva’s rise in Brazil

| September 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Joe Leahy in São Paulo

Marina Silva, the charismatic new entrant in Brazil’s tight election campaign, came under fierce fire from her rivals in the second debate as polls showed she is the frontrunner to win October’s vote.

Ms Silva was forced to defend her policy positions after the latest poll from Datafolha showed her drawing in the first round with incumbent President Dilma Rousseff in the first week of October with 34 per cent, before beating her in the second with 50 per cent against 40 per cent.

During the debate on Monday night, Ms Rousseff, who still enjoys support among lower-income earners for her party’s widening of the social security net, warned that Ms Silva would have to deliver on her promises.

“It’s not enough to roll off a list without saying where the money will come from,” Ms Rousseff said.

Ms Silva’s rise in the polls has ... Read More

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