Author Topic: Politics in Brazil  (Read 6519 times)

DCoutinho

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Politics in Brazil
« on: June 13, 2014, 08:00:31 PM »
Hy mi name is Daniel Coutinho I am From Brazil, and i am one of the guys how works with mark on DBMA semenaries here in Brazil. Today i don´t came hre to talk about martial arts, but about the great political problem here in Brazil, for almost 12 year,  we have this lefties comand the country. Wen you guys readed about corruption, or, any political crimes here in Brazil, they have one adress the PT, Partido dos Trabalhadores, Labors Party. This red and white criminals are enemies of the people, they steal, destroy and are breaking ower country a part. And wend i say Breaking the contry, they really are loosing almost half of Brazil this movement to separet indians from the country, they will make all the indian lands separeted countries. The Brazillians don´t wanna this, on the past ower families fight to make ower country big as it is! We fight for ower lands, and now the disgusting commies, will try to break ower society. But the comom brazillians don´t wanna be apart of that. on this video the people are sayng to the president (The lesbian comunist ex terrorist, bank robber, drug adicted, and more disgusting things) to fuck her self!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-P8leyOQkc

On octuber we will take then from presidence and we will got ower country back. Free from commies!

They have this sick plan to make the south america an new soviet union the Foro de São Paulo is a meeting to work about this, fidel castro (the cuba monster) Evo morales, e all of this guys, including some Farcs are inviteds... This will end in the end of the year!

« Last Edit: October 28, 2018, 07:53:12 PM by Crafty_Dog »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
Re: Politics on Brazil
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 10:08:51 PM »
Welcome Daniel!

Know that we here do not know much about the politics and economics of Brazil so do not be surprised if your posts do not receive much commentary at first.  Do not worry, we will be reading and learning.

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18587
    • View Profile
Re: Politics on Brazil
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2014, 11:09:46 PM »
I appreciate hearing from someone in Brazil about Brazil.

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 13377
    • View Profile
Re: Politics on Brazil
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2014, 05:51:18 AM »
I appreciate hearing from someone in Brazil about Brazil.

Yes!  Honored to hear about what is happening first hand.  I am am encouraged by your optimism.  I hope you are correct about throwing the leftists out this year.  The fight for individual freedom over state power needs to go on across the globe.  It is a difficult fight.  Brazil certainly has the potential to grow a great and free economy for the benefit of all the people.

I will appreciate hearing your views on any topic!

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
Re: Politics on Brazil
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2014, 02:53:03 PM »
e 15, 2014 5:50 p.m. ET

When Brazil was awarded the right to host the 2014 World Cup almost seven years ago, the nation's soccer fanatics were elated. But none more so than Brazil's political class, which understood that the tournament would mean a rash of federal spending all over the country.

Yet hosting the World Cup isn't turning out to be a winner for President Dilma Rousseff, who took office in 2010 and is up for re-election in October. Polls now indicate she may fail to garner the 50% plus one that she will need to avoid a runoff—and a victory in a second round is far from certain. Why this is so is worth parsing.

In 2007 then-president Lula da Silva —also of the Workers' Party—was at the headquarters of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or FIFA, in Zurich when the hosting decision was announced. He seized the moment like any good populist: "Soccer is not only a sport for us. It's more than that: Soccer for us is a passion, a national passion." He then promised that Brazil would do its "homework" to make the country ready.

Brazil spent some 25.8 billion reais ($11.3 billion) to deliver on Lula's pledge and despite countless cost overruns and delays, the 12 stadiums are ready. On Thursday in São Paulo, third-ranked Brazil opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory against 18th-ranked Croatia.

Brazil is hoping to erase the painful memory of a final-match loss to Uruguay in 1950, the last time the country hosted the World Cup. If the home team wins it all this year, there will be a party like never before.

Yet for almost a year many middle-class Brazilians have been complaining bitterly about the government's decision to host the tournament. In a recent Pew Research Center survey 61% of respondents disapproved, which seems contrary to the feverish love Brazilians have for soccer. As it turns out, this sour attitude has little to do with the World Cup.

The headline news has focused on public protests against the lavish stadiums. Yet keen observers will note that antigovernment street demonstrations which began big and largely peaceful have since dwindled in size while becoming more disruptive and dangerous. That's because the middle class, which rejects the violence, has learned that it has little control over where extremists take things. The killing of a photojournalist during a protest in Rio de Janeiro in February may have been the last straw.

The small hard left remains on the streets, clashing with police. All along it has been behind the roadblocks and property damage that the uninitiated mistakenly interpreted as a popular cry for a violent uprising. These organizers and instigators know that Brazil's politicians will go a long way to avoid using force. They also know that the World Cup provides an international showcase for their collectivist grievances, which are bound to find sympathy in the salons of Paris and New York.
Enlarge Image

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (C) reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2014 group A preliminary round match between Brazil and Croatia at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 12 June 2014. European Pressphoto Agency

That's why they have bused homeless people—and Brazilians in indigenous dress holding bows and arrows—to the stadiums. The government has deployed riot police and used tear gas in some places to keep the peace. In a country where it is not hard to find someone to pay you to show up to a protest and someone else to pay you to go away, mobilizing a menacing group can be a good business.

Public-sector unions aren't about to be left out of the fun. Subway workers demanding higher wages in São Paulo went on strike last week. The union called off the strike the day before the opening match but said it makes no promises about the rest of the month. The ground staff at Rio de Janeiro airports went on a partial strike opening day.

Ms. Rousseff can handle unions and mob organizers—they only want money. As to re-election, she will count on party patronage, her cronies in business, and the large constituencies her government has built by expanding entitlements.

Outside of her control, though, is the rising middle class. It has put down its placards and left the streets but its discontent remains palpable. Brazil, as one resident put it to me, "is not in a party mood."

The stadium spending is the least of it. The real problem is that Lula and Dilma promised a dynamic new Brazil flush with opportunity, and Brazilians dared to dream. Now 12 years after Lula took office, jobs are hard to come by and inflation at more than 6% devours purchasing power. In April real gross domestic product contracted 2.3% year over year. Regulation and taxes crush entrepreneurs while the government finances Cuba. The only reliable daily news out of Brasilia is the corruption scandals, and the only people getting rich seem to be party hacks and their business partners.

Brazilians know that something is wrong that soccer games will not fix. Their gripe is not with the World Cup. It's with Dilma.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
WSJ: The Elections-- sticking with Statism
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 03:24:42 PM »
Brazil Sticks With Statism
Odds are that the country’s reputation for economic mediocrity is safe for another four years.
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Oct. 26, 2014 7:30 p.m. ET


An economic recession, inflation running at 6.7% and revelations of an audacious skimming scheme at the state-owned oil company Petrobras were not enough to deny Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff re-election to a second term on Sunday.

With 99% of the vote counted, the incumbent led with 51.56% of the vote against challenger Aécio Neves, of the Social Democratic Party of Brazil, with 48.44%.

Ms. Rousseff ran as the anti-market, welfare-state candidate, which may be why she fared far better in the poor, dependent north than she did in the prosperous agricultural heartland and here in Brazil’s largest city, where the economy relies heavily on services and value-added manufacturing.

Like the U.S., Brazil has its upper-class, urban voters who feel virtuous backing state intervention in other peoples’ lives and supporting Cuba’s military dictatorship. But there is also an aspirational Brazil—which is made up of risk-taking entrepreneurs, globally competitive farmers and a rising middle class that hungers for greater engagement with the world. These Brazilians badly want the change Mr. Neves represented. They made Sunday’s contest the closest in Brazilian history.

Like the proverbial dog that caught the car, Ms. Rousseff now has to figure out what to do with her next four years. She may believe she can further the consolidation of PT power—her highest goal—if she sticks to the policy mix she has been using thus far, no matter the cost to the economy. Alternatively, she could make pragmatic economic adjustments with the goal of restoring confidence and growth.

The latter is certainly possible. But it is unlikely because the party militants, who have fattened up during PT rule, want more power, not less. She may utter some conciliatory statements and in the short run take some small steps that favor liberty, just as her PT mentor, former President Lula da Silva (2003-10), did when he first took office in order to calm markets that were plummeting out of fear. But Lula soon reverted to form.

Odds are that Ms. Rousseff will do the same, making Brazil’s legendary reputation for mediocrity safe for another four years. Only if a criminal investigation proves that Ms. Rousseff and Lula knew about the graft at Petrobras are things likely to go differently.

The great irony of the campaign is that while Ms. Rousseff and Lula claimed the credit for Brazil’s turn-of-the-century revival, they both opposed the reforms of the 1990s. The privatization of state companies, the limited opening to foreign competition, and the 1994 “Brazilian real” currency plan to defeat hyperinflation all stimulated development and made more generous welfare programs, the trademark of the PT, possible.

But the PT never followed through on those reforms and the “Brazilian miracle” died in the crib. At best the country runs in the middle of the emerging-market pack. More often it brings up the rear.

Neither Lula nor Ms. Rousseff seem to care about development. According to Goldman Sachs , from 2004-13 government spending grew at almost 8% a year, in real terms, which was more than twice the rate of GDP growth. Inflation is now 7% year-over-year on prices for goods and services not regulated by price controls and 8.6% for services alone. Inflationary expectations are rising.

Ms. Rousseff thought she could fix the problem by capping the price of gasoline, which is supplied by Petrobras, and of ethanol, which is made by local sugar mills and used to make flex-fuel. But since production costs are not capped, Petrobras and the sugar mills are sustaining large losses. Some sugar mills are already bankrupt and others that I talked to said they won’t survive if the policy continues.

The PT boasts about helping the poor with welfare but what it gives with one hand it takes—and more—with the other. Rising protectionism, steep payroll and consumption taxes, lousy infrastructure and heavy labor regulation are hidden costs that make all Brazilians worse off.

More worrying is the damage the PT might do to institutions and the rule of law over another 48 months. Civil society here jealously guards civil liberties and pluralism. But as one astute businessman told me, “We are noticing, bit by bit, a trend toward copying Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador. The tendency is to reduce democracy.” One example is Ms. Rousseff’s May decree empowering “popular councils,” which would move the country away from representative democracy à la Venezuela. Congress has so far refused to approve the measure but if the usual vote-buying goes on, that may change.

This is creepy for anyone who has read history. As the 18th-century political philosopher David Hume observed, “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” Today Mrs. Rousseff is a politician who won an election. But Brazilians may someday learn that the one-party state and indefinite rule are the real long-term projects of the PT.

Write to O’Grady@wsj.com

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 13377
    • View Profile
Re: WSJ: The Elections-- sticking with Statism
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 09:13:20 AM »
Brazil Sticks With Statism
Odds are that the country’s reputation for economic mediocrity is safe for another four years.
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Nice analysis.  Too bad that potentially great countries like Brazil, (and Argentina, Venezuela and others) can't get their act together.  (And too bad we don't set a better example.)  Vote for failed policies, expect better results.  Good luck with that.  Only bright spot was that it turned out to be a close election.

I like this quote:  “It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.”

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
Dilma forgives US
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 04:12:03 PM »
SÃO PAULO — When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Panama City in April, she was in surprisingly good spirits. She looked healthier and more energetic than she had in months as she stepped up to the microphone for a press conference. She was all smiles as she described an upcoming trip to Washington, planned for June 30.

Rousseff, who was re-elected in October with only 51.6 percent of the vote, faces a spiraling corruption scandal at home and the lowest approval rating since her party took power in 2003. And her government has been clashing with Washington off-and-on for two years. So her cheery demeanor after meeting Obama was not what the room full of journalists was expecting when she stepped out for the press conference.

“Does this planned visit mean that the NSA spying episode is entirely overcome?” Brazilian journalist Patricia Campos Mello asked Rousseff.

“It means we recognize the actions taken by the U.S. … that friendly countries won’t be spied on,” Rousseff said. “And we have a declaration from President Obama. When he wants to know something, he’ll call me.”

To see Rousseff place this kind of trust in the United States would have been unthinkable less than two years ago. In September 2013, after Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on Rousseff and Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras, the Brazilian president emerged as one of the foremost critics of U.S. spying programs. She canceled a planned state visit to the White House and her government considered introducing laws that would have forced companies like Google and Facebook to store their data within Brazil, imposing considerable cost in order to subject them to local privacy laws.

But now, it seems that Rousseff has backed down on confronting the United States over its spying and surveillance. Weakened at home politically and economically, she can no longer afford a rift with a powerful and important ally like the United States, experts and analysts say.

“The government is basically in emergency mode,” said Igor Fuser, a professor of international relations at the ABC Federal University in São Paulo. “So in the international arena, the position is maximum caution; a posture of reconciliation with traditional allies, and avoidance at all costs of anything that could cause any friction.”

While standing up to the United States can play well with Rousseff’s base, her current challenges come from the right, which has long accused her of being irresponsibly leftist in foreign policy, and has gone as far as calling for her impeachment this year. Shoring up relations with Washington, and meeting with Obama as an equal, can provide a much-needed boost to her legitimacy.

For a while, it looked like a resurgent, left-leaning Brazil, governed by a woman who had been tortured by a U.S.-backed military dictatorship, would be matched only by Germany’s post-DDR Angela Merkel in leading the charge among friends of the United States against America’s global intelligence programs.

After Rousseff canceled her planned 2013 meeting with Obama, she took her case to the United Nations. During that September’s General Assembly, she delivered a lengthy scolding against a “global electronic spying network” based in the United States. “Meddling this way in the lives of other countries violates international law and is an affront to the principles that should govern relations among nations, especially allies…. [T]he security of one country’s citizens can never be guaranteed by violating the fundamental human and civic rights of citizens in other countries,” she said from the podium in Turtle Bay. “We have informed the U.S. government of our protest, demanding explanations, apology, and guarantees that these actions will not be repeated.”

She went on to propose a “multilateral civil rights framework” governing the global Internet, aimed at establishing privacy standards and human rights online around the world. In April 2014, Brazil hosted the Net Mundial Conference, a meeting of government officials, experts, and academics to discuss the future of Internet governance. By year’s end, Brazil and Germany had presented and passed at the U.N. a resolution calling for all countries to guarantee privacy online, saying “that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online.”

Rousseff went on the offensive domestically, too. In October 2013, her allies in the legislature introduced amendments to a planned “Internet bill of rights” in response to the scandal. The Marco Civil da Internet had already sought to guarantee privacy and net neutrality in Brazil, but following revelations from Snowden that major Internet companies were sharing data with the NSA, Brazilian legislators introduced provisions that would force companies such as Google and Facebook to store their data on Brazilian soil, where the government could apply rigorous privacy standards — and keep the NSA’s prying eyes out. The final version, passed in February 2014, modified this provision due to fears that it would lead to high costs for Brazilian Internet users and put a financial strain on for companies doing business in Brazil — especially smaller firms. Instead, the Brazilian Congress insisted that foreign companies be subject to local judicial proceedings if they were to be proved to be violating privacy statues, even if the data is stored abroad.

Through 2014 and early 2015, Brazil and the United States remained publicly at odds over spying and privacy. Rousseff never received the public apology from the United States that she demanded in front of the U.N. — or even the public guarantee that the behavior would not be repeated.

So what explains Dilma’s apparent about face? A well-placed official in the Brazilian government, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Rousseff-Obama rapprochement involved concessions from Washington.

“The American government’s posture did change. The [U.S.] president made it clear in his last conversation with Rousseff in Panama that if he wanted to know something about Brazil or the president, he will call her and not use other means,” he said. “And we have to trust in the word of the head of state.”

“She communicated that it was central that she couldn’t [again] be surprised by revelations that the U.S. is spying Brazil,” he added, noting that Obama may not have been able to apologize or make public promises due to internal political concerns.

The Obama administration has been pushing a modest intelligence reform agenda in Washington. Earlier this month, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, which reversed some of the more invasive provisions of the 2001 Patriot Act. But experts on U.S.-Latin America relations note that the White House has not publicly mentioned anything about the NSA changing the way it deals with citizens of foreign countries. Nevertheless, many believe that the reconciliation with Brazil could provide an opportunity to work more productively with the region’s largest power.

“The U.S. is hopefully coming to the recognition that it has a really difficult time carrying out an agenda in Latin America without being able to cooperate with Brazil,” said Peter Hakim, president emeritus of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank.

Washington has an ambitious agenda in Latin America. The Obama administration is working toward repairing relations with Cuba, and also sees the need for better trade relations with Brazil. The two countries have a “paltry trade relationship” that “doesn’t make sense,” outside of their inability to cooperate, said Hakim.

The month before the Panama City summit, the United States classified Venezuela as a “national security threat” to the United States, a move that allows the United States to impose sanctions on Caracas. That was received badly by Latin American leaders.

“In the case of the flap over the Venezuelan sanctions, if the U.S. government had sat down with the Brazilians, the Brazilians would have said, ‘Don’t do it.’ Or they would have said, ‘Don’t do it before the summit, at least. You’re ruining an opportunity to highlight your reconciliation with Cuba,’” Hakim said.

But it’s not just Washington’s regional agenda that has helped lay the groundwork for the mending of relations. Rousseff might not be able to afford to strike the defiant tone of 2013, when problems in her previously very popular government had just begun to appear. At home and abroad, her government has been badly weakened by an economic downturn and a huge corruption scandal, and she is far more eager these days to build alliances and create positive headlines than to try to change the global intelligence system.

Since her narrow re-election, in which she played up her left-wing credentials, Rousseff’s government has had to embark on an unpopular austerity program to shore up public finances. At the same time, she has faced protest movements calling for her impeachment over the massive corruption scandal at Petrobras.

“Rousseff needs the United States, especially in the context of a slowing Brazilian economy,” said João Augusto de Castro Neves, an analyst for the Eurasia group, noting that the country is in need of investment for infrastructure and oil. No investment partnerships or trade deals have been announced, but could come alongside Rousseff’s visit to Washington at the end of the month.

In the first decade of the 21st century, Brazil and others in Latin America saw their economies surge and found themselves empowered to take on Washington politically. Rousseff’s predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, pushed a “counter-hegemonic” strategy alongside the other emerging powers around the world and the left-leaning governments of Latin America. But most have been hit by economic or political problems as the Chinese economy slowed, ending the global commodity boom.

“It’s not a radical break. But the trend is to go in a more conservative direction rather than a leftist or anti-systemic direction,” Fuser said.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
Russian Missiles to Brazil
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2015, 01:50:10 PM »
Brazil announces Russian Pantsir S1 missile to be medium-range defense system Business | Brazil | 17-Sep-2015
Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer announced that the Pantsir-S1 missile system would be the Brazilian military’s medium range missile defense system of choice during a visit to Russian. After meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev during the 7th Russian-Brazilian High Level Cooperation Committee in Moscow on 16 September 2015, Temer make the formal announcement although the purchase will be delayed. The agreement, valued at US$1 billion, is conditional on Brazil having adequate financial resources, which they expect to have in order by 2017. The missiles will be manufactured in Brazil up to six years after the official contract by Brazil’s Permanent Combat Evaluation for Combat Aircraft (COPAC) is signed by both countries. The KBP Instrument Design Bureau, who developed the Pantsir-S1, will be commercially compensated in Russian Rubles.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
GPF: A history of military interventions in Brazil
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2018, 06:16:58 PM »
Brazil: A History of Military Interventions
May 31, 2018
Summary

The saying goes that those who can’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it. In Brazil, the country’s long history of military coups, dictatorships and interventions is far from forgotten, but that hasn’t stopped fears of a reoccurrence from taking hold. In January, President Michel Temer signed a decree ordering the military to take control of security in Rio de Janeiro, bringing the debate over civil-military relations to the forefront of Brazilian politics once again. The move was in response to escalating violence and drug-related crime in the state. Then, in April, Gen. Eduardo Villas Boas, commander of the Brazilian military, twice publicly criticized pervasive corruption in Brazilian politics. And in May, the government called in the army to help clear federal highways blocked by truckers protesting rising fuel prices.

Brazilians, it seems, have grown somewhat accustomed to having the military intervene to help solve the country’s problems. The Institute for Democracy and Media Democratization released a poll in May that revealed that about half the population would not oppose a larger role in government for the military under certain circumstances. With legislative and presidential elections approaching in October, the topic has come up more and more in political debates. The corruption scandal that led to President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment and charges against many others has fueled calls for military intervention to put an end to the country’s political and economic struggles.

This Deep Dive will look at three important cases of military intervention in Brazil: the Proclamation of 1889, the 1930 revolution and the 1964 coup. Comparing these examples with what’s happening in Brazil today will help determine the likelihood that the military will intervene to help the country deal with the substantial challenges it is facing now.

Proclamation of the Republic, 1889

Brazil’s shift from a constitutional monarchy, which lasted from 1822 to 1889, to a federal republic has been officially called a proclamation, but it was initiated through a bloodless coup. The military essentially seized power from the monarchy and transferred it over time to civilian authorities.
 
(click to enlarge)

The fall of the Brazilian monarchy began with the gradual erosion of its three historical pillars of support: the Catholic Church, the military and private-sector elites. Under the monarchy, Catholicism was the official religion of Brazil, and the church had strong ties to the government. But by the latter half of the 19th century, the Catholic Church’s political influence had declined. It still had an important social role, but its ties to the government had weakened.

As for the military, its main grievance with the monarchy was its lack of inclusion in national security planning and restrictions on military members publicly commenting on military issues. The government had close ties to business elites, leaving little room for military involvement even in matters directly related to security. The Paraguayan War (1864-1870), fought initially between Brazil and Paraguay, exacerbated the problem, creating a sense of solidarity among the armed forces and disaffection with the regime. The war also sparked a major economic crisis. The monarchy used extensive external credit to finance the conflict and keep the economy running after it ended. Government debt rose nearly sevenfold between 1871 and 1889.

In addition to these domestic issues, there were numerous international factors that ultimately led the monarchy to change its economic model. That Brazil was the only Portuguese-speaking country and the only country ruled by a monarchy in South America made it somewhat vulnerable. The rest of the major countries of the region were former Spanish colonies with wholly elected governments, and the monarchy was worried about the possibility of Spain once again conquering large parts of South America. It was also concerned about the United States’ Monroe Doctrine (fearing the U.S. might become more involved in South America and denounce Brazil’s ties with the U.K.) and the Catholic Church’s potential interference in political affairs.

To counter these threats, Brazil aligned itself with the United Kingdom, which also was an opponent of the Catholic Church, resented the U.S. for taking over some of its holdings in the Americas and was a historical rival of Spain. That the two countries had many adversaries in common made the U.K. the single most important foreign partner for Brazil, not only on a diplomatic level but also in terms of trade. In 1863, the U.K. accounted for 38 percent of Brazil’s exports and more than half its imports.
But this relationship came at a cost for Brazil. The U.K. abolished slavery in the West Indies in 1833, and shortly thereafter, it began to use its navy and economic ties with Brazil to pressure the country to do the same. From 1850 to 1888, the monarchy in Brazil passed laws that would lead to the gradual elimination of slavery in the country. Business elites were most affected by these legal changes because higher labor costs threatened to slash their profits from agricultural goods.

In 1889, a military official declared the end of colonial rule, and the monarchy put up little resistance. Within two days, the king and his family fled Brazil. The military assumed power and oversaw the transition to a democratic system known as the First Brazilian Republic.

Brazilian Revolution, 1930

The First Republic had a strong federal system and was governed through a power-sharing agreement among Brazil’s three richest states: Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The arrangement became known as “coffee with milk” politics because it divided power among three regions dominated by the coffee and dairy industries. During this time, agriculture became critical not just to Brazil’s economy but also to its politics – oligarchs who made their wealth through agriculture had a lot of influence over regional politics, and some academics and historians have even referred to the 1889-1930 government in Brazil as an oligarch republic.
 
(click to enlarge)

World War I created an opportunity for Brazil to industrialize. Before the war, places like Europe and the United States could produce manufactured goods more efficiently and cost effectively than Brazil. But when German warships started greatly restricting trade between Brazil and Europe, Brazil needed to supply its own manufactured goods, and domestic industries, uninhibited by outside competition, were able to develop. Industrialization led to urbanization, as people moved to cities to find manufacturing jobs.

Many of those people flowing into the cities were of European origin. After Brazil eliminated slavery, it had turned to European immigration to fill the gaps in its labor force. Help wasn’t hard to find – many Europeans wanted to escape the intense political turmoil that would later culminate in the Bolshevik Revolution and World War I and start a new life elsewhere. Millions of Europeans, especially from southern Europe, settled in Brazil. They brought with them their beliefs in workers’ rights and communist ideology. Industrialization and European immigration thus set the stage for a political movement against the Brazilian ruling class.
 
(click to enlarge)

Brazil’s young military officers were also exposed to European ideologies, since much of their military education was based on European models. Younger officers became sympathetic to broader social movements and critical of the oligarchical government, partly because the military was kept on the fringes of power during the First Republic. This culminated in a series of small rebellions throughout the 1920s carried out by lieutenants and captains in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. The rebellions never managed to topple the government, but they were important precursors to future events.

Meanwhile, the ruling elite faced another challenge on the economic front. Brazil depended heavily on coffee exports for revenue, but economic instability in Europe, particularly related to the war, forced down prices for commodities such as coffee. It also restricted Brazil’s access to markets like Germany, which was among Brazil’s leading coffee buyers at the time. In the 1920s, the Brazilian government sought foreign credit to help stabilize domestic coffee prices – which would also help stabilize the political elite. Accessing credit proved increasingly difficult, however. Brazil’s traditional sources of credit in Europe were in no position to continue in that role. By this time, the U.S. had become Brazil’s largest trade and business partner, but Washington was starting to face some economic problems of its own, and U.S. demand for all goods – foreign and domestic – plummeted with the onset of the Great Depression. The fate of the coffee industry – and thus of Brazil’s ruling elite – was sealed with the 1929 stock market crash.
 
(click to enlarge)

Aspiring political leaders who were not from the three states that had previously dominated Brazilian politics seized on the opportunity to organize a revolt. Getulio Vargas, whose base was the working class, led this movement. Vargas and his political partners started working closely with sympathetic military officials, who were easily identified after the rebellions in the 1920s. When Vargas lost the 1930 presidential election, his band of aspiring political leaders and disgruntled military officers refused to recognize the results and instead declared Vargas president. The First Republic was no more.

Coup d’Etat, 1964

Vargas became increasingly dictatorial from 1937 to 1945, a period referred to as the Estado Novo, or New State. The government during this time was modeled on European fascist regimes. Vargas abolished the constitution, declared a state of emergency (in response to a supposed communist plot to overthrow the government), and centralized power by eliminating the position of vice president and refusing to hold legislative elections. Throughout World War II, Brazil tried to remain neutral and maintain relations with both the U.S. and Germany, until it became clear that Germany would end up on the losing side of the war. With a clear victory for the Allies, there was strong international pressure, mainly from the U.S., for Brazil to return to a more democratic system – one that was staunchly anti-communist.
 
(click to enlarge)

In 1945, Vargas was overthrown in a coup, marking the start of the Second Brazilian Republic. His removal from office, however, did not stabilize politics in Brazil. During the turbulent times from 1945 to 1964, only two of 11 presidential terms were completed.

It was also a tumultuous time on the economic front. Throughout the 1950s, the Brazilian government pursued an import substitution policy to boost growth in important areas such as machinery, the chemicals industry and the auto industry. Though the policy spurred growth, it also had some negative consequences. Tariffs were imposed on imported goods, making them more expensive relative to domestically produced goods. They were more lenient, however, on input materials that Brazil couldn’t produce on its own and that were necessary for production. Foreign capital was used to help finance this policy, and a series of exchange rate measures were imposed to help further regulate trade. By the early 1960s, Brazil’s economic problems could no longer be ignored.

What’s more, the Cold War and pressure from the United States to reject any communist influence encouraged the military to take action. Maintaining a good relationship with the United States – Brazil’s largest trade partner and an important source of foreign funding – was critical to Brazil’s economic well being. Then-President Joao Goulart planned to make significant reforms, some of which had communist undertones. They included land redistribution, controls for urban housing and increased regulation in areas like banking, education and government administration. The U.S. encouraged Goulart to adopt more moderate policies, but it also curried favor with the Brazilian military in case Goulart refused to moderate his positions. Brazil could not risk economic isolation from the U.S. or some type of U.S. military intervention. Recognizing these constraints, the military took over with support from opposition political forces and ran a dictatorship until 1985, when civilian control over the government was restored.

Common Characteristics

All three of these military interventions occurred in different periods of Brazil’s history and under different circumstances, but they nonetheless have some things in common. First, they all occurred with the support of an organized civilian population that opposed the government. The civilian groups involved were often driven to support drastic political and social change at times when the government pursued policies that favored one group at the expense of another, usually one that was already disadvantaged to begin with. The justification for the military response was usually that the civilian leadership was no longer competent enough to run the state’s affairs. These conditions threatened economic development and, in turn, weakened national security.

The three examples above also reveal that successful military takeovers in Brazil have four main qualities. First, a political crisis results in an extremely weak government that has little or no backing from historical pillars of support. Second, an economic crisis threatens core components of the economy. Third, a large portion of the military, particularly officers, is frustrated with the government, often because the military has been excluded from state affairs. Fourth, foreign forces play some role.

The first two qualities are applicable to Brazil today. The military regime ended in 1985, marking the start of the Third Republic, and 22 years later, the country again finds itself in the midst of political and economic turmoil. President Michel Temer, who took over after Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment, has been a weak leader, unable to push through major economic reforms. Many political and business elites have been implicated in a series of high-profile corruption scandals. The scandals, along with high government spending, declining commodity prices, and lower global demand and investment, resulted in two years of severe economic hardship followed by a very slow recovery.
 
(click to enlarge)

The worst of the economic and political upheaval seems to have passed, but it will still be a while before average Brazilians see any improvements in their living conditions, as employment and wages remain low and the government seeks opportunities to cut social spending. But the government, with the help of the judiciary, is making an effort to police itself and prove to the public that it doesn’t need the military to take over. The corruption investigations continue, and the government is trying to tackle the problem through reforms and prosecuting those who were allegedly involved in the scandals, rather than overhauling the system entirely. Some high-profile politicians such as former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former President of the Chamber of Deputies Eduardo Cunha and Sen. Aecio Neves have even been charged, showing that no one is above the law. And throughout the scandal, the government has remained functional and the military has not intervened, which may not have been the case in the past.

But Brazil does not appear to have the latter two qualities. The military is not being neglected or undermined by the government today. In fact, over the past 25 years, the government has included military officers in national defense planning, debates and policy. Gen. Eduardo Villas Boas’ comments about corruption among Brazilian politicians sparked concerns that Brazil was moving backward, but that he was able to speak out about a political issue itself indicates that military officials are not merely observers of Brazilian politics but can also have some political influence. He has subsequently said the military respects state institutions and the constitution. Moreover, there are 71 candidates with military backgrounds running in the 2018 general elections, including one candidate running for president. Even if all are elected, they will represent a small minority of the public representatives in Brazil, but this is nevertheless an opportunity for former members of the military to participate in the political system and represent the military’s point of view on political and security matters.

On the international level, there are no signs that any foreign countries would support a military solution to the crisis in Brazil. All governments in South America are hesitant to become militarily involved in other countries in the region. Even in the case of Venezuela, which is experiencing a political and economic crisis of its own, countries in the region have been slow to take any concrete action (like cutting trade ties) against Nicolas Maduro’s government and are applying only moderate sanctions. Countries outside of South America, particularly the United States, want stability in Brazil. With ongoing NAFTA and Chinese trade talks and military operations in the Middle East, the U.S. is already overextended and would be unlikely to support a military intervention in Brazil. Outside of the Western Hemisphere, one of Brazil’s strongest relationships is with China, which imports natural resources from Brazil. If the Brazilian government were overthrown, it could destabilize the country and strain trade ties, making Beijing unlikely to support any move in that direction.

The recent suggestions that the military should become more involved in internal security may have raised some eyebrows, but this should not be seen as a prelude to another military dictatorship. In this case, at least, history is not repeating itself.

The post Brazil: A History of Military Interventions appeared first on Geopolitical Futures.




Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
Stratfor: Bolsonaro wins!
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2018, 07:54:09 PM »
What Happened: Populist right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro defeated the leftist Workers' Party candidate Fernando Haddad in the runoff round of Brazil's presidential election, Folha reported Oct. 28, citing Brazil's Supreme Electoral Tribunal. Bolsonaro took 55.6 percent of the vote, with Haddad winning 44.4 percent.

Why This Matters: As president, Bolsonaro is expected to take a tougher stance on criminal activity, ordering more deployments of the country's security forces against organized crime in Brazil. Bolsonaro will also take a strongly pro-business stance, continuing where his predecessor Michel Temer left off in efforts to privatize state assets. However, the new president could present a challenge to Brazil's trade and investment relationship with China. Bolsonaro is an intensely nationalist figure that opposes heavy Chinese investment in strategic sectors, such as Brazil's electricity infrastructure and extraction of niobium deposits

Background: Bolsonaro was only four points short of winning the presidency outright on Oct. 7. Having secured a victory in the run-offs, he has strong public support to continue the fight against corruption, which was a central part of his Social Liberal Party platform. However, deepening the government's ability to target corruption will require expanding the federal bureaucracy that investigates and prosecutes corruption. Such a task will be difficult for an austerity-minded country that has a divided Congress.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 52594
    • View Profile
GPF: Bolsonaro, Vertical Isolation, Economy first
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2020, 10:33:44 AM »
April 1, 2020   View On Website
Open as PDF



    The Method to Bolsonaro’s Madness
By: Allison Fedirka

Known for his contrarian and uncouth behavior, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro frequently comes under intense scrutiny for his decisions. The latest controversy stems from his refusal to shut down economic activity in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Many governments face this decision but few have opted for Bolsonaro’s economy-first approach. The policy hasn’t been well received at home: Governors have lined up against him, media outlets have raised the idea of removing him from office, and even Facebook removed a video of Bolsonaro speaking to street vendors on the grounds that the content violated misinformation standards related to the virus. But however controversial it may be, there is a method to Bolsonaro’s apparent madness. Brazil’s economy is simply too weak to deliberately close down for a prolonged period of time.

Backlash

Brazil first addressed the coronavirus as an economic problem rather than a public health one because the economic effects arrived a month before its first confirmed case. At the end of January, Brazilian mining giant Vale suspended operations in China and restricted travel to and from the country. In early February the electronics industry, particularly makers of small electronics such as mobile phones, started experiencing supply chain problems, and by mid-month firms were implementing short-term closures and discussing furloughs. Leading solar power companies in Brazil, also highly dependent on China, forecast supply shortages in April and May as well as a 5-10 percent drop in sales. Brazilian beef exports – worth billions of dollars when it comes to China trade – experienced a sharp drop in demand, putting small and medium-sized slaughterhouses in peril of closing. Oil giant Petrobras, which sends 72 percent of its exports to China, also reported slumping demand. The shipping industry and exporters expressed worries about a potential shortage of containers by April. All this occurred before Feb. 25, when Brazil reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

Once the virus arrived in Brazil, the question in the government of balancing competing demands between health and economic needs unsurprisingly turned contentious. Bolsonaro leads the economy-first camp, downplaying health risks in public and rejecting restrictions on social movement on the grounds that they will destroy the economy. He advocates “vertical isolation,” which calls for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions to self-isolate while everyone else goes about business as usual. On the public health side, several state governors, led by Sao Paulo’s Joao Doria and accompanied by Rio de Janeiro’s Wilson Witzel, have called for restrictions on movement for the whole population. Together, these two states account for nearly 40 percent of national gross domestic product and are home to 63.2 million of Brazil’s 210 million inhabitants. Restricting economic activity in these states will greatly reduce the country’s GDP. On one hand, the governors fear that their densely populated major cities are conducive to the virus’ rapid spread. But on the other hand, those cities also have concentrations of poor neighborhoods whose residents cannot afford extended periods of limited or no work.

A further complication is the question of jurisdiction. In mid-March, the executive proposed legislation aimed at centralizing power to regulate the closure of businesses and social distancing measures to ensure an efficient response. The proposal now has 126 amendments and is currently in a joint commission for discussion, allowing governors to pursue their own measures in the meantime. A second measure that addresses workers’ rights and unemployment during the crisis has already been rejected by some legislators as unconstitutional. Judges have weighed in, encouraging the federal government to coordinate efforts more closely with states.

Bolsonaro is reluctant to limit economic activity because the Brazilian economy is weak and can ill afford another economic crisis. Brazil has yet to recover from its two-year recession from 2015 to 2016. During that time, GDP contracted by nearly 7 percent. In the three years since, the economy essentially stagnated, registering growth of just about 1 percent annually. Prior to the recession, in 2014, Brazil overtook the United Kingdom to become the seventh-largest economy in the world, with a GDP of $2.4 trillion. Now the economy ranks ninth globally, with a GDP of $1.89 trillion. The unemployment rate in 2014 was 6.8 percent before doubling to 13.7 percent in early 2017. Now unemployment has been reduced to 11.6 percent, though the quality of jobs created is low, as is remuneration.
 
(click to enlarge)
Plans Interrupted

Bolsonaro was elected in 2018 on a pledge to reform and jump-start the economy, but economic measures taken early in his term have reduced the country’s arsenal for dealing with the impending global recession. Last year, the government focused on structural reforms and facilitating household consumption, which accounts for over 70 percent of GDP. The central bank launched monetary easing in July 2019 in an effort to boost lending to consumers. In the second half of 2019, the government also permitted individuals to withdraw funds from their Workers’ Severance Fund accounts to help boost economic activity. The effect of these policies was supposed to kick in during the first half of 2020, but the onset of the global recession doomed the strategy from the get-go. In just two months, the central bank cut interest rates to 3.75 percent from 4.5 percent. Though there is still room to go lower, these rates are already very low by Brazilian standards.
 
(click to enlarge)

The global downturn has hampered other stimulus policies. A privatization drive was intended to raise 150 billion reais ($29 billion) this year, but this week the electric utilities company Eletrobras postponed its privatization plans until 2021, and others will likely follow. The government also loosened rules to give foreign companies equal footing in competition for government contracts, with public tenders valued at 50 billion reais, but foreign investment interest has dried up. Finally, the government planned limited trade deals to open markets and diversification in trade with China, the U.S., Mexico and India. But trade has fallen off a cliff, and governments are focused on mitigating the contagion and economic damage at home.

Other plans to remake the economy have had to be repurposed to limit the short-term damage from the virus. A plan launched in February called Brazil More included funds to incentivize startups and provide more credit to small and medium-sized businesses, but it will now be used to save existing companies. Around the same time, after months of study, the central bank loosened reserve requirements in a move that could inject up to 135 billion reais into the economy. The central bank will also allow individuals to use personal retirement plans as collateral to access lower interest loans.

And lastly, there are the reforms that risk being undone as a result of the government’s all-out effort to mitigate the impact of the recession. One of the main objectives of the reforms was to cap government spending and reduce debt. However, in mid-March, it became apparent that government bailouts and other costly measures would be necessary to prop up the Brazilian economy. A state of emergency was declared, enabling the government to remove national spending caps and launch a 147.3 billion-real support package to ensure liquidity, prevent layoffs and support vulnerable groups. The government also intended to reduce its support for states’ debt but has now released an 85.8 billion-real bailout package for them (and that’s after suspending debt payments). At the end of 2019, the government stayed on track for a primary budget surplus of 1 percent of GDP, well below the official goal of 2.3 percent. The National Treasury now anticipates a primary deficit for 2020 of 4.5 percent of GDP (over 350 billion reais), well over the previous goal of 124.1 billion reais.

Difficult Choices Ahead

Support packages like these can keep firms afloat only for so long, and the ability to extend them depends on disposable resources. Herein lies the problem for Brazil: It has very limited headroom to deal with these matters. There are already concerns over the potential for a credit crisis and future lack of investment. The government does have $359 billion in reserves, but it is extremely reluctant to tap these resources – the government would do so only if it believed it was entering the worst-case scenario. All of this is further complicated by the fact that dollar gains against the real since the start of this year resulted in a 43.4 billion-real increase in gross debt, and low oil prices have wiped out tens of billions of reais in oil-related royalties and tax revenue (the budget was based on an average price of oil of $61.25 per barrel).
 
(click to enlarge)

Under these circumstances, Bolsonaro’s effort to preserve what’s left of Brazil’s economy at any cost does not seem unfounded.

At present, the economic pause in parts of Brazil has been in place for only a couple of weeks. During this time, the government has worked to better position the economy to stay afloat. The calls for vertical isolation demonstrate that the government believes it is reaching the limits of its ability to save the economy from severe recession if more economic activity is not restored soon. Bolsonaro, of course, is not alone in being trapped between two bad policy options, and many leaders will soon have to decide when measures to protect public health no longer outweigh the economic cost. When this shift will occur depends on the economic resilience of the country in question, and Brazil came in with a weak hand already half-played.