Category Archives: Brazil

Exclusive: Brazil says Zika virus outbreak worse than believed | Reuters

Brazil’s top health official said on Monday that the Zika virus outbreak is proving to be worse than believed because most cases show no symptoms, but improved testing should allow the country to get a better grip on the burgeoning public health crisis.

Health Minister Marcelo Castro told Reuters that Brazil will start mandatory reporting of cases by local governments next week when most states will have labs equipped to test for Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that has quickly spread through Latin America. The virus has no vaccine or cure at present.

On Monday, the World Health Organization declared the Zika outbreak to be a global emergency, a decision that should help fast-track international action and research priorities.

Exclusive: Brazil says Zika virus outbreak worse than believed | Reuters

Goldman Sachs Calls Brazil a ‘Mess’ After Warning on Depression – Bloomberg Business

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said the crisis in Brazil will get worse before it gets better after the bank last year warned that Latin America’s largest economy was being dragged into a depression.

“Brazil is a mess,” Alberto Ramos, the chief Latin America economist at Goldman Sachs, said at an event organized by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York on Wednesday. “Number 10 used to mean Pele. Now it’s inflation rate, unemployment rate and the popularity rate of the president.”

Goldman Sachs Calls Brazil a ‘Mess’ After Warning on Depression – Bloomberg Business

In Brazil, the Threat of Impeachment Becomes a Reality | Stratfor

The months-long stalemate between Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party and the opposition has finally been broken, and President Dilma Rousseff is one step closer to losing her post. On Dec. 2, Eduardo Cunha, the president of Brazil’s lower house of parliament, agreed to put a request for Rousseff’s impeachment to a vote. His decision comes the same day Workers’ Party lawmakers on the House Ethics Committee agreed to move against him by approving the start of a criminal investigation into his supposed criminal activities. Cunha allegedly accepted bribes, both from a financial official and in relation to the ongoing Petroleo Brasileiro scandal.

The committee members’ decision brought an end to what has been a drawn-out stalemate between Cunha and the president. The two leaders’ respective parties, the Democratic Movement Party of Brazil (better known by its Portuguese acronym, PMDB) and the Workers’ Party, have been at odds for months as they have negotiated to avert triggering an impeachment process against Rousseff, who is facing allegations that her administration violated federal fiscal responsibility laws for years. It is unclear exactly why the Workers’ Party finally decided to move forward with the criminal proceedings against Cunha, knowing that he would undoubtedly use his position in the lower house to respond with a move against Rousseff, but it appears that the decision came as a response to the demands of a faction within the ruling party. Whatever the motive, the ethics committee’s actions will lend legislative support to bring criminal charges against Cunha in the future and possibly even strip him of his parliamentary immunity. Cunha’s response may be a last-ditch effort to avoid being expelled from the Chamber of Deputies.

In Brazil, the Threat of Impeachment Becomes a Reality | Stratfor

NYT: An Exploding Pension Crisis Feeds Brazil’s Political Turmoil

Brazil reportedly is mired in a pension crisis of historic proportions. “Think Greece but more colossal,” one economist said in describing the chaotic impact on national finances amid a political struggle.

Brazil’s economy, the largest in Latin America, shrank over the past couple of quarters and is slated to contract this year and next, the country’s first back-to-back annual retractions since the 1930s. Households across Brazil are tapping their savings as accelerating inflation and rising unemployment are weighing down their finances, Reuters reports.

Brazilians retire at an average age of 54, and some public servants, military officials and politicians manage to collect multiple pensions totaling more than $100,000 year, The New York Times reported. Loopholes enable the spouses or daughters of retirees to go on collecting the pensions for the rest of their lives.

NYT: An Exploding Pension Crisis Feeds Brazil’s Political Turmoil

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