Category Archives: Brazil

Is Brazil Still the Country of the Future? | Newgeography.com

There are tons of statistics in the study that are worth scanning just to see. Brazil is consistently benchmarked against Chile and Mexico in Latin America, as well as fellow BRICs India and China. The comparisons aren’t pretty.

Reading a lot about the country in the last year, I put its problems into three categories: poor governance, geographic disadvantage, and scale disadvantage.

1. Poor Governance

Most of the issues pointed out by McKinsey fall squarely under the heading of poor governance. The contrast with nearby Chile could not be more plain across every dimension: corruption, the rule of law, investment, public sector debt, tax burden, infrastructure, regulation, etc.

2. Geographic Disadvantage

Brazil is simply a long way from major developed markets. This puts it at a geographic disadvantage versus many other countries. Current airplanes cannot make a non-stop flight from Brazil to East Asia, arguably the most important emerging part of the world. It’s even a long haul from the United States, with relatively few gateway cities vs. say major European capitals. Brazil is time-zone advantaged with the US, however. It also speaks Portuguese instead of Spanish, which imposes a linguistic handicap.

3. Scale Disadvantage

Brazil is a big country, geographically and in population. Size can be an advantage, but it also makes reform difficult as it’s hard to turn a battleship. Brazil’s population of 200 million is more than ten times that of Chile.

Is Brazil Still the Country of the Future? | Newgeography.com

Brazil finds bumpy path on way to becoming world oil power – MiamiHerald.com

Signs of disarray are many. Development of the prized deep-sea pre-salt fields, so called because they lie below thousands of feet of salt deposits, faces delays, with the next auction of drilling rights not expected till next year.

Brazil’s giant state-owned oil company, Petrobras, is in tough financial shape, with profits down 30 percent in the first three months of the year and its stock market value less than half what it was when the company went public in 2010. Production problems in Petrobras’ oil fields have forced the country once again to import oil, at an average rate of 793,000 barrels per day in the first quarter.

Making matters worse, the company faces corruption allegations. A former executive has been jailed and faces charges of money-laundering. Brazil’s Congress has opened an investigation.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil finds bumpy path on way to becoming world oil power – MiamiHerald.com

Worst drought in decades hits Brazil’s Northeast | Reuters

Brazil’s Northeast is suffering its worst drought in decades, threatening hydro-power supplies in an area prone to blackouts and potentially slowing economic growth in one of the country’s emerging agricultural frontiers.

Lack of rain has hurt corn and cotton crops, left cattle and goats to starve to death in dry pastures and wiped some 30 percent off sugar cane production in the region responsible for 10 percent of Brazil’s cane output.

Thousands of subsistence farmers have seen their livelihoods wither away in recent months as animal carcasses lie abandoned in some areas that have seen almost no rain in two years.

Worst drought in decades hits Brazil’s Northeast | Reuters

Amid Epic Drought, South America’s Largest City Is Running Out Of Water | ThinkProgress

If it doesn’t rain in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the next 45 days, the system that provides half the city’s drinking water will run dry.

Sao Paulo is South America’s largest city, and is currently experiencing its worst drought in 50 years. So far, the drought has hurt corn and cotton crops, driven up prices of sugar and orange juice, interrupted production of beer and paper, and left cattle and goats to starve.

But as the drought has dragged on, the executive secretary of non-profit water association Consorcio PCJ told Bloomberg News on Tuesday that Sao Paulo’s largest water system — the Cantareira — is currently at less than a quarter of capacity. Though the Cantareira is supposed to supply water to approximately 10 million people in Sao Paulo, which has a population of 20 million, its levels are the lowest its been in decades, according to a report in the Global Post.

Amid Epic Drought, South America’s Largest City Is Running Out Of Water | ThinkProgress

RealClearWorld – Why America Spies on Brazil

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil canceled her visit to President Obama. She was offended because the United States was peeking into her electronic mail. You don’t do that to a friendly country. The information, probably reliable, was provided by Edward Snowden from his refuge in Moscow.

Intrigued, I asked a former U.S. ambassador, “Why did they do it?” His explanation was starkly frank:

“From Washington’s perspective, the Brazilian government is not exactly friendly. By definition and history, Brazil is a friendly country that sided with us during World War II and Korea, but its present government is not.”

The ambassador and I are old friends. “May I identify you by name?” I asked. “No,” he answered. “It would create a huge problem for me. But you may transcribe our conversation.” I shall do so here.

RealClearWorld – Why America Spies on Brazil

South America Goes Nuclear: Now Brazil :: Gatestone Institute

In Venezuela, Russia is building naval capabilities, including nuclear-powered guided-missile cruisers and anti-submarine ships. Chile’s Scorpène class submarine can be fitted with missiles. Argentina is also eyeing nuclear-powered submarines, equipped, however, at least for now, with conventional weapons.

Brazil, a party to the Non Proliferation Treaty, is reportedly planning to develop indigenously a nuclear-propulsion system: the nation’s first submarine is expected to be operational by 2017; its first nuclear submarine by 2023.[1]

If Brazil develops a nuclear submarine, it would be South America’s first,[2] and enable Brazil to project itself as a “developed country with sophisticated industry capable of absorbing, mastering and using advanced technologies.”[3]

The nuclear submarine program is based on Pressurised Water Reactors, which enable a submarine to deliver a large amount of power from very low amount of energy, Brazil could could use either Low Enriched Uranium, nuclear fuel enriched up to 20% which is “easier and less expensive to acquire,”[4] or Highly Enriched Uranium, processed between 50-90%.

Evidently prompted by the lessons of Falklands War of 1982, as well as by a desire to protect Brazil’s large off-shore oil reserves in the Amazon region, Brazil took its first step toward establishing a sea-based deterrent in 2009, when its leadership decided to develop five submarines — some of them nuclear-powered.

South America Goes Nuclear: Now Brazil :: Gatestone Institute

Corruption and Graft Pushing Brazil toward True Democracy – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Brazil has experienced an economic awakening in recent years, but democracy has had to race to catch up. With political corruption widespread, protests have spread across the country, exposing an enraged middle class.

The protests this summer, vast and angry, is the Brazilian parallel to the 2011 Arab spring. It is a leaderless movement organized through social networks, which is its strength. It may not be able to shape politics, but it can certainly exert pressure. It can mobilize the street.

It began in São Paulo on June 6 with a march of only 500 people protesting against an increase in bus fares. Since then, however, it has grown into a conflagration of discontent. On June 17, 200,000 people protested in Rio de Janeiro, Belém and about 20 other cities, and by June 20 some 1.4 million protesters had taken to the streets in more than 120 cities. Protesters danced on the roof of the congress building in the capital Brasília, creating images that have since been broadcast around the world. They are the tour dates of a popular uprising that newspapers are presenting as proudly as they do the victories of the Seleção. The people are agitated, and the political world is afraid.

Corruption and Graft Pushing Brazil toward True Democracy – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Brazil’s Leftist Ruling Party, Born of Protests, Is Perplexed by Revolt – NYTimes.com

But while the fare increases might have been the spark that incited the protests, they unleashed a much broader wave of frustration against politicians from an array of parties that the government has openly acknowledged it did not see coming.

“It would be a presumption to think that we understand what is happening,” Gilberto Carvalho, a top aide to President Dilma Rousseff, told senators on Tuesday. “We need to be aware of the complexity of what is occurring.”

By this week, it was clear how thoroughly officials had miscalculated. At one point on Tuesday night, protesters tried to break into the Municipal Theater, where operagoers were watching Stravinsky’s “Rake’s Progress.” The doors to the elegant theater remained shut and as the show went on, they spray-painted the outside of the recently renovated structure with the words “Set Fire to the Bourgeoisie.”

Brazil’s Leftist Ruling Party, Born of Protests, Is Perplexed by Revolt – NYTimes.com

Expats Move In as Rio Favelas Improve – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Now that the notorious drug gangs of Rio de Janiero’s shanty towns have been driven out, the neighborhoods are attracting new residents from Southern Europe. Fleeing the euro crisis back home, the expats are contributing to a real estate boom in the favelas.

A gentle wind blows across Ipanema, and the air is soft and velvety. Diego Baronio hails from Brescia near Milan, yet here he is, high above the beach at Rio de Janeiro. He has just placed a fruit basket with papaya on the table, the espresso machine is hissing, and his Brazilian companion is serving freshly squeezed pineapple juice. A tourist from Berlin is stretching on a lounger. Baronio has rented his guest room to him.

Expats Move In as Rio Favelas Improve – SPIEGEL ONLINE

The BRIC countries are becoming the world’s new global navy – Quartz

Beijing’s and Moscow’s naval assertiveness, particularly in Syria and the South and East China seas, attracts most of the attention. But India is building a second aircraft carrier, and may have three by 2020, along with four nuclear-powered submarines and various other modern ships. In 2012, India dispatched warships to the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea and the western Mediterranean. And in 2008 and 2010, India and Brazil conducted joint naval operations with South Africa on the Indian Ocean side of Africa.

In November 2012, some 10,000 Brazilian sailors and soldiers conducted an exercise called “Operation Atlantico 3,” meant to demonstrate the country’s ability to defend its offshore oilfields.

The BRIC countries are becoming the world’s new global navy – Quartz