Posts Tagged ‘Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’

The Betrayal of Brazil

| May 8th, 2015 | 1 Comment »

By Michael Smith, Sabrina Valle and Blake Schmidt

In mid-2013, Brazilian federal police investigator Erika Mialik Marena noticed something strange.

Alberto Youssef, suspected of running an illicit black-market bank for the rich, had paid 250,000 reais (about $125,000 at the time) for a Land Rover. The black Evoque SUV ended up as a gift for Paulo Roberto Costa, formerly a division manager at Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras. “We were investigating a money-laundering case, and Petrobras wasn’t our target at all,” says Marena. “Paulo was just another client of his. So we started to ask, ‘Why is he getting an expensive car from a money launderer? Who is that guy?’”

Marena had spent the previous decade building cases against money launderers, and Youssef had been a perennial target. He’d been arrested at least nine times for using private jets, armored cars, clandestine pickups by bagmen, and a web of front companies to move illicit ... Read More

Prosecutors in Brazil investigate Lula for alleged influence peddling

| May 4th, 2015 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Samantha Pearson

Brazil’s federal prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into the country’s wildly popular former leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for illicit influence peddling in Cuba, among other countries, putting further pressure on his embattled protégée President Dilma Rousseff.

The prosecutors’ office in Brazil’s capital Brasília confirmed late on Sunday reports by a local magazine that Mr Lula da Silva is being questioned by their anti-corruption unit over claims he helped construction conglomerate Odebrecht win contracts overseas between 2011 and 2014.

Weekly magazine Época alleged on Friday that Mr Lula da Silva improperly used his influence to obtain loans from Brazil’s state development bank BNDES for Odebrecht’s dealings in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, often travelling to meet the countries’ leaders at the company’s expense. The magazine also accused Mr Lula da Silva, one of the founders of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT), of similar influence peddling in ... Read More

Brazil’s scandalous boom to bust story

| February 20th, 2015 | No Comments »
From CNN

Brazil looked like the next great economic growth story a few years ago, right after China. So how did things there get so bad, so fast?

Five years ago its economy grew three times faster than the United States. In 2011 its economic size surpassed Great Britain’s. Millions of Brazilians moved from poverty to the middle class, and the president at the time, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, had an 83% approval rating.

Eike Batista, once Brazil’s richest person, told “60 Minutes” that his nation was realizing its potential.

“Brazil has put its act together,” Batista told 60 minutes in 2010. “We’re walking into a phase of almost full employment…It’s unbelievable.”

It certainly was unbelievable.

Brazil’s economy has had a dramatic fall from grace. The nation has been embroiled in a massive political scandal, it’s seen a historic bankruptcy and is being led by an unpopular president, Dilma Rousseff, who is trying to preserve Brazil’s economy.

“Brazil was ... Read More

Petrobras, $262 Billion Poorer, Exposes Busted Brazil Dream

| February 6th, 2015 | No Comments »

By Julia Leite, David Biller and Tariq Panja

(Bloomberg) — When Brazil emerged from the global financial crisis as one of the world’s great rising powers, Petrobras was the symbol of that growing economic might.

The state-run oil giant was embarking on a $220 billion investment plan to develop the largest offshore crude discovery in the Western hemisphere since 1976 and was, in the words of then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the face of “the new Brazil.”

Today the company epitomizes everything that is wrong with a Brazilian economy that has been sputtering for the better part of four years: It’s mired in a corruption scandal that cost the CEO her job this week; it has failed to meet growth targets year after year; and it’s saddling investors with spectacular losses. Once worth $310 billion at its peak in 2008, a valuation that made it the world’s fifth-largest company, Petroleo ... Read More

Brazil Leader Starts Term on Shaky Ground

| January 5th, 2015 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


BRASÍLIA—President Dilma Rousseff began her second term in office with promises to fight corruption and fix the economy, acknowledging the many challenges facing Brazil over the next four years.

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.

The tone stood in contrast to 2011, when she was first inaugurated and Brazil’s economy was ... Read More

Apretada elección en Brasil muestra a una nación profundamente dividida

| October 27th, 2014 | No Comments »

[Traducción por IASW]

El día de ayer, la presidenta de Brasil, Dilma Rousseff, consiguió reelegirse para un segundo mandato de cuatro años. Rousseff obtuvo el 51.6% de los votos en contra de Aécio Neves, quien obtuvo el 48.4%. Rousseff libró una de las campañas más negativas en la historia contemporánea de Brasil, despertando temores de que Neves cortaría programas contra la pobreza del gobierno. No explicó, sin embargo, como pretende sacar a Brasil de la recesión económica en la que se encuentra.

El resultado tan apretado muestra a una nación políticamente, socialmente y geográficamente dividida. Anoche, Rousseff se comprometió a iniciar un diálogo y ser “una mejor presidente de lo que he sido hasta ahora.” A pesar de que Rousseff se comprometió durante la campaña a reemplazar a su ministro de finanzas, la manera en la que defendió la situación actual da pocas razones para esperar que abandonará sus políticas económicas intervencionistas ... Read More

Brazil Shares Jump, Real Surges After First Round of Presidential Vote

| October 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

By Jeffrey T. Lewis, Rogerio Jelmayer and Luciana Magalhaes

SÃO PAULO—Brazilian shares jumped and the real surged against the dollar after pro-business candidate Aécio Neves performed better than expected and placed second in Sunday’s presidential election.

Mr. Neves will face President Dilma Rousseff, who finished with the most votes Sunday, about 42%, in a runoff on Oct. 26. Mr. Neves received about 34%.

The benchmark Ibovespa stocks index closed 4.7% higher at 57,115 after jumping more than 7% shortly after the session opened. The real exited active trading at 2.4298 to the dollar, according to Tullett Prebon via FactSet, after closing at 2.4724 to the dollar on Friday.

Investors have complained about Ms. Rousseff’s economic policies, which they say have hurt growth. For weeks Brazilian shares have risen and the real strengthened on any bad news for the president, and vice versa.

“The ... Read More

Brazil heads into white-knuckle presidential race — Bolivia, Uruguay follow

| September 30th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield and Jim Wyss

With less than a week to go before Sunday’s Brazilian presidential election, the only thing that seems certain is that it’s too close to call and is likely to be determined in a runoff.

Recent polls show President Dilma Rousseff in a virtual dead heat if the election goes to the second round with environmental activist Marina Silva. Silva wasn’t even in the running a few weeks ago, but she moved to the top of the Brazilian Socialist Party ticket after her running mate, Eduardo Campos, died in an Aug. 13 plane crash.

A third candidate, Social Democrat Aécio Neves — the former governor of Minas Gerais, could squeak into an Oct. 26 runoff but it will probably be a contest between the two women if neither gets more than 50 percent of Sunday’s vote.

While the Brazil race is the closest and, perhaps most heated, it’s ... Read More

The battle for Brazil

| September 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

TO DESCRIBE the final weeks of Brazil’s presidential campaign as dramatic would be putting it mildly. There was tragedy, when Eduardo Campos, leader and candidate of the centrist Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), perished in an aeroplane crash in mid-August. There were tears: Marina Silva (pictured left), Mr Campos’s running-mate-turned-candidate, broke down after being criticised by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in whose cabinet she had once served as environment minister but whose protégée and successor, Dilma Rousseff (pictured centre), is seeking a second term. This being Brazil, there was also scandal, as a former executive at Petrobras, the statecontrolled oil firm, alleged that politicians from Ms Rousseff’s left-wing Workers’ Party (PT) and some coalition allies were involved in a kickback scheme there.

The twists and turns have led to lots of head-scratching among pollsters and pundits. With days to go before the first round of voting on October 5th, firm predictions ... Read More

Brazil Growth Slowing as Lula China Policy Sows Doubts

| September 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »

By Jessica Brice, Ney Hayashi and David Biller

In 2004, Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and 400 executives went on a six-day trip to China. The mission was simple: Encourage companies to strengthen ties with the Asian nation to bolster growth at home.

A decade later, ties between Brazil and China have never been stronger. Growth at home is stagnant.

Lula’s decision to court China and at the same time spurn some U.S. efforts to bolster trade has led to a dependence on the commodity-hungry nation and deepened a drop in manufacturing. In May 2004, the month Lula visited China in what he called his government’s “greatest trip,” manufactured goods made up more than half Brazil’s exports and commodities less than a third. Last month, industrialized goods had plunged to 37 percent and raw materials made up almost half.

“Lula will never admit he made a ... Read More

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

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

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

Mexico’s Energy Reform: So Far, So Good

| September 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Inside Sources

By Roger F. Noriega and Felipe Trigos

The enactment of the “secondary legislation” to implement Mexico’s energy reform is an impressive step forward.  That country’s economic future could be fundamentally transformed, if Mexico’s leaders follow through on a transparent, sustained effort to modernize the oil, gas, and electricity sectors and keep government spending and interference from undermining prosperity.

For the first time in 80 years, Mexico has opened the door to private investment in the energy sector, leaving behind years of anachronistic resource nationalism that has contributed to the decline of the state-owned oil company, Pemex, and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

Insufficient investment in exploration and infrastructure, over-taxation, political interference, union influence, and corruption all have contributed to the decline of Pemex.  From 2001 to 2013, oil production in Mexico fell more than 30 percent. Meanwhile, the CFE has lost almost a billion dollars in 2012 and 2013 for similar ... Read More

Deadly Plane Crash Turns Green Evangelical Into Brazil Kingmaker

| August 15th, 2014 | No Comments »

By Raymond Colitt and David Biller

She’s an environmental activist and an evangelical abortion opponent. She’s been called pro-market and a socialist. And now Marina Silva is the kingmaker in one of Brazil’s most-contested presidential elections.

Silva, 56, became the wild card in Brazilian politics after her running mate, presidential candidate Eduardo Campos, died in a Aug. 13 plane crash. While political analysts and investors say she will probably replace him on the ballot, her stance on the environment clashes with vested interests in a party she joined after failing to form her own, said Andre Cesar, director at public policy and business strategy consultants Prospectiva.

Silva stands to upset the campaigns of her two leading contenders if she jumps into the race. She could divide the vote enough to rob President Dilma Rousseff of a first-round victory, while denying candidate Aecio Neves a spot in the second round, UBS AG said. A candidate needs ... Read More

Bello: The political tide turns

| May 23rd, 2014 | 1 Comment »
The Economist

BRAZIL likes to think of itself as o país do futebol—the football country. So it is extraordinary that just three weeks before the World Cup kicks off in São Paulo, a recent poll found less than half of Brazilians saying they were happy to host it. True, this may change once the tournament gets going, especially if fears of transport chaos prove misplaced. Yet that poll result betrays not just public anger at the inflated cost of the tournament, but also wider grumpiness.

Although the cup will doubtless see a few protests—some have already begun—the public mood will be tested more clearly in the presidential election on October 5th. Many pundits, especially outsiders, take it for granted that Dilma Rousseff, the president, will win a second term. That is what the polls have long suggested.

Certainly, Ms Rousseff has some formidable electoral assets. She will be able to point to full employment, a ... Read More

The political tide turns

| May 22nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

Brazilians want change. That could deprive Dilma Rousseff of a second term

BRAZIL likes to think of itself as o país do futebol—the football country. So it is extraordinary that just three weeks before the World Cup kicks off in São Paulo, a recent poll found less than half of Brazilians saying they were happy to host it. True, this may change once the tournament gets going, especially if fears of transport chaos prove misplaced. Yet that poll result betrays not just public anger at the inflated cost of the tournament, but also wider grumpiness.

Although the cup will doubtless see a few protests—some have already begun—the public mood will be tested more clearly in the presidential election on October 5th. Many pundits, especially outsiders, take it for granted that Dilma Rousseff, the president, will win a second term. That is what the polls have long suggested.

Certainly, Ms Rousseff has some formidable electoral ... Read More

Brazil: Loss of faith

| February 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times


For weeks workers at São Paulo’s Itaquerao stadium have been clearing up the damage from a deadly construction accident in November. A giant roof girder crashed through a wall of the unfinished 68,000-seat arena, killing two labourers and casting a pall over Brazil’s preparations for this year’s football World Cup.

“People working in there say it won’t be ready in time for the World Cup,” says Paulo Arminio, who sells snacks to construction workers from a van outside the venue and who witnessed the accident.

The government and Fifa, football’s global governing body, insist the stadium will be ready for the world’s most popular sporting event, which begins in June.

But the troubles at the Itaquerao – which came just months after millions of Brazilians took to the streets to protest against poor public transport and infrastructure, ailing government services and corruption – set the stage for a difficult year for Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s ... Read More

The Most Important Alliance You’ve Never Heard Of

| February 18th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
The Atlantic


In Venezuela, students have been killed while protesting against the government of Nicolás Maduro, who is jailing opposition leaders and just closed a television station that dared broadcast the demonstrations. Argentina is irresponsibly racing toward a dangerous economic cliff. The Brazilian economy is in recession and 2014 will mark its fourth consecutive year of subpar growth, as the country reels from its largest capital flight in more than 10 years.

Is a decade of progress in Latin America coming to an end? For some countries, surely. But not necessarily for the entire region. Four nations are developing an initiative that could add new dynamism to Latin America, redraw the economic map of the region, and boost its connections with the rest of the world—especially Asia. It could also offer neighboring countries a pragmatic alternative to the more political groupings dominated by Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Amid all the bad news in the region, the presidents of ... Read More

Ex-Leader Says Brazil Won’t Follow China’s Low-Wage Model

| February 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


Despite Brazil’s sharp slowdown in economic growth, the country has no intention of emulating China’s low-wage model of competitiveness as a way to promote prosperity, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Wednesday.

Mr. da Silva, one of Brazil’s most popular and powerful politicians, who presided over a remarkable expansion in the economy and a decline in poverty during his two terms in office that ended in 2011, also said the country sees its future in investing in education and promoting a technologically skilled work force.

He spoke in an interview with editors during a visit to The New York Times, where he defended the economic progress made under his administration and the policies of his successor, Dilma Rousseff, whom he mentored. Ms. Rousseff faces re-election in October, but lacks Mr. da Silva’s popularity.

Mr. da Silva, 68, popularly ... Read More

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