Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro shake hands after a joint news conference following their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 — Foto: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro shake hands after a joint news conference following their talks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 — Foto: Mikhail Klimentyev/AP

President Jair Bolsonaro traveled to Moscow last week without believing an armed conflict would occur on Ukrainian territory, despite several warnings raised in the international community in the weeks leading up to the visit.

At the Planalto Palace and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, known as Itamaraty, the feeling was that Russia would not go ahead with the idea of invading Ukraine because of the high economic cost of deploying troops and possible sanctions against the country ruled by Vladimir Putin, sources told Valor.

Contrary to what was expected in Brasilia, however, the situation has escalated dramatically in recent days, until the bombings and incursions of the Russians in Ukraine, by land, sea and air this Thursday. Not even the tightening of sanctions against Moscow, announced by several countries throughout the day, made Mr. Putin back down.

If the possibility of a war is no longer a surprise, it is also true that the Brazilian government bet until the last moment on a solution through diplomatic channels – something that not even Ukraine or the United States believed in.

“We always hope for a peaceful solution. But sometimes war happens. That’s how it is,” lamented a senior source in Brasília.

Although for Brazil the war in Ukraine came as a surprise, the Brazilian government received several warnings in recent months, especially from the United States, about the trip. The fear was that the Brazilian president would show alignment with Mr. Putin.

At Itamaraty, there was an effort to “depoliticize” the trip and demonstrate that the objectives of the Brazilian delegation in Moscow were merely commercial.

The agenda had two main highlights: facilitate imports of fertilizers and organize a meeting between CEOs of large Russian companies with Brazilian executives.

President Bolsonaro, however, managed to irritate the Americans by expressing “solidarity” with Russia. The speech, made impromptu next to Mr. Putin, ended up generating a diplomatic clash with the U.S.

The White House reacted through spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said that “I think Brazil may be is on the other side of where the majority of the global community stands.”

A Brazilian government source told Valor at the time that “the Americans are escalating an issue that does not deserve to be escalated.”

After the first news that Russia was attacking Ukraine, the presidency and the Foreign Ministry have been asked to take a position on the conflict, especially because of Brazil’s position as a temporary member of the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Bolsonaro was silent throughout the day. The Itamaraty issued a note calling for “the immediate suspension of hostilities and the beginning of negotiations leading to a diplomatic solution to the issue, […] taking into account the legitimate security interests of all parties involved as well as the protection of the civilian population.”

At a press conference, Minister Adriano Pucci, director of Itamaraty’s Social Communication Department, denied that Brazil’s position in the conflict is one of “neutrality.”

“Brazil’s position is one of balance, of unquestionable attachment to international law, to the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, and to the centrality of the role of that body in finding a peaceful solution,” he said. “Our conviction is that the more a situation deteriorates, the more reason there is for dialogue. And also that Brazil does not intend to contribute to making the drums of war beat. These drums, when you look inside, are empty.”

Source: Valor International

Brazil News: Bolsonaro's Disapproval Reaches Record With Lula Gaining  Ground - Bloomberg

President Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party, PL) has a disapproval rate of 64%, the highest since the beginning of his administration, according to an XP/Ipespe poll released Thursday. On the other hand, 29% approve his government. The poll shows that 55% of respondents consider the Bolsonaro administration to be bad or terrible, while 23% see it as excellent or good and 21% as regular. According to the poll, 65% of respondents consider that the Brazilian economy is on the wrong path. For 26%, the country’s economy is on the right track.

In closed-ended answers, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva leads the voting intentions with 44%; Jair Bolsonaro appears in second place, with 24%; former judge Sergio Moro (Podemos) and former governor of Ceará Ciro Gomes (Democratic Labor Party, PDT) tied for third place, with 8%; São Paulo’s governor, João Doria (Brazilian Social Democracy Party, PSDB), have 2% of the voting intentions; tied with 1% are Simone Tebet (Brazilian Democratic Movement, MDB), Alessandro Vieira (Citizenship) and Felipe d’Ávila (New Party, Novo). In the open-ended answers, Mr. Lula da Silva have 35%; Mr. Bolsonaro has 23%; Messrs. Moro and Gomes have 4%; Mr. Doria, 1% of voting intentions. Pollsters conducted interviews with 1,000 people between January 24-25, with a 3.2% margin of error.

Source: Valor international

Fome ainda é realidade para milhões de pessoas no mundo - Notícias - R7  Brasil

Hunger has increased in Brazil, a country that is one of the largest net exporters of food in the world, notes the Fund and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, which publishes Wednesday a new report on the resilience of national agricultural systems.

The FAO’s assessment is that most countries have enough diversity in their agricultural systems to weather shocks. In other words, food exists, the problem is access to it due to lack of money.

This is what happens in Brazil, for example, points out FAO’s chief economist Maximo Torero. According to the report, 14% of the Brazilian population, or 29 million people, were no longer able to access a healthy diet according to data from 2018.

And, in the case of shocks that result in a loss of 1/3 of personal income, another 10% of the Brazilian population, or 21 million people, enter this group.

“Brazil has a very good policy of expanding safety nets, which was able to reduce poverty during Covid-19, but hunger increased,” said Mr. Torero. That’s because protection programs continued to focus on people already covered by them during the pandemic, while other people struggled in the wake of recession, unemployment, loss of income.

FAO points out other challenges for Brazil. It notes that the country has a diversified agriculture, but in terms of value it carries out 60% of its exports with only one trading partner – in reference to China. “Brazil is a very robust country in terms of agriculture, but producers do face an export risk,” said economist Andrea Cattaneo, main author of the report.

For FAO, both Brazil and Argentina depend heavily on exports and on a relatively small number of trading partners. “If something happens, as happened with the meat industry [China maintained the embargo on Brazilian beef for several weeks] in this large importing country, it has a substantial effect,” said Mr. Torero.

Mr. Cattaneo also stated that the fact that a country is open in agricultural trade and has a comparative advantage does not necessarily increase production flexibility. As an example, he mentions that in Brazil and Argentina more than 70% of the protein value comes from two products, soy and corn.

Another challenge for the Brazilian agri-food system (production, suppliers, final consumption) is the internal transport network to carry agricultural products. Globally, the FAO study finds that in 90 countries closing central roads would increase the time it takes for goods to travel by 20%.

In the same situation, transport time would increase by 30% in Brazil. The country is in the same situation as Bangladesh, Haiti, Madagascar, Niger, Philippines, Congo, Senegal and Sudan, according to FAO.

‘’Brazil has been facing problems in the transport networks to carry food to the ports,” noted Mr. Torero, referring to the truckers’ strike and threats to stop. “Brazil is a major global agricultural exporter, and when anything happens in terms of disruption in Brazil, it will affect the world’s food market.”

Even before Covid-19, the world wasn’t on track to deliver on its commitment to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030. In addition to extreme weather, armed conflicts or increases in global food prices, the frequency and severity of these shocks are on the rise, warns FAO.

Agri-food systems produce 11 billion tonnes of food per year. The agri-food sector is responsible for one third of the anthropogenic (resulting from human action) gas emissions that cause climate change.

Source: Valor international

Bolsonaro reúne ministros no Conselho de Governo sem Mourão | Exame

President Jair Bolsonaro has tried to blame inflation on the “stay at home” policy, practiced by most governors in an attempt to contain the advance of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, he once again went in that direction after being criticized for his pro-coup speech on Tuesday by some political parties that accused him of not facing the country’s real problems, such as rising prices. But the president’s argument is an obvious fallacy.

Without taking into account that in Brazil we never made a worthy interruption to what the Coronavirus crisis required – in part because of the sabotage of Mr. Bolsonaro himself and his hosts, in part because of the weakness of many governors and mayors – the pandemic has indeed changed the level of the dollar prices in Brazil and in the world. And, with that, in an environment of demand resumption after some successful government actions and a rise in commodities abroad, inflation began to gain momentum.

This move, however, was fully manageable. But Mr. Bolsonaro managed to make so many mistakes over the past year that, it is inescapable to say, his government is indeed the main responsible for the faster inflation.

The list ranges from the fiscal uncertainties that took place over a year ago from the messy discussions about a new social program (whose final version has just been issued now and without the most important data, such as average benefit and range), the attempt to postpone court-ordered payments of federal debts, fictitious budgets with controversial spending on parliamentary amendments, reforms whose course became uncertain, up to the the recurrent political crises generated by attacks on other branches of the government, without obviously forgetting the errors of magnitude and time for reversing the ultra-low interest rates practiced by the Central Bank.

Inflation would be much lower if Mr. Bolsonaro were an agent of peace, seeking political stability and not constant confrontation. With a cycle of high commodities, the natural thing would be for the real to appreciate against the dollar, as happened in some quiet moments, going below R$5. It would be a great factor for reducing inflation.

It is difficult to invest in a country with a president that threatens the institutions, agitates part of the population and daily introduces new uncertainties into the scenario. If the coup was already being discussed, now also is his impeachment. In this context, the investors’ stance is cautious. And this, in this case, is called flight to the dollar.

The market on Wednesday clearly showed this, with the dollar hitting again the R$5.30 mark and only going down after the speech of the speaker of the Chamber, Arthur Lira (Progressive Party, PP, of Alagoas). And a high exchange rate is expensive for domestic prices and for the performance of economic activity, because interest rates need to be higher. According to sources in the Economy Ministry itself, the fair price of the dollar today would be between R$4.30 and R$4.50, but the noise of the political war that has taken place is keeping the currency exchange rate much higher than that.

In the words of an interlocutor of the government, the way out of the confusion that has returned to the markets is “peace.” The question is how to get it. With his supporters, Mr. Bolsonaro made no move in that direction. He will continue to reap the storm of inflation and its disastrous effects on poverty and on economic activity, which had been recovering.

Source: Valor international

Suprema Corte - O que é, como funciona e curiosidades históricas

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes ordered Wednesday the opening of an investigation against President Jair Bolsonaro because of his constant attacks on electronic ballot boxes and threats to the 2022 elections.

Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly stated that the current voting system is not reliable and that it has been frauded. The president has also said a number of times that if the country does not create a printable vote method, there won’t be elections next year.

Justice Moraes’ decision – made without a prior contact with the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGR) – follows a request from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which sent a citation against Mr. Bolsonaro to the Supreme Court. The president will be probed now for disseminating fake news and for conduct considered antidemocratic.

The TSE’s citation to the Supreme Court is based on a live-streamed video the president broadcast on July 29. He said then that he would present evidence of fraud in the voting system, but failed to do so by recycling old, denied rumors about the 2014 and 2018 polls.

Mr. Moraes ordered that five people who participated in the live broadcast be heard as witnesses, including the Minister of Justice, Anderson Torres.

According to the Justice, Mr. Bolsonaro used the same “modus operandi of dissemination used by the criminal organization” already under investigation in the same court. The broadcast, said Mr. Moraes, provoked “intense reactions in social media, preaching hate speech and against the institutions, the democracy and rule of law, besides advocating against an absurd, unconstitutional cancelation of elections” in 2022.

“A narrative was built from false statements and was intensively repeated in social media and alike to delegitimize democratic institutions and at the same time encourage groups of supporters to personally attack people who represent the institutions, intending their removal and replacement by others aligned to the political group of the president,” he wrote.

Justice Moraes said that Mr. Bolsonaro once again used the broadcast to behave apparently “criminally and threatening against the institutions, especially the STF [Federal Supreme Court] – accusing its justices of intending to fraud the elections to benefit some candidate – and the TSE, in the context of the elections scheduled for 2022, sustaining, without any evidence, that the electronic vote is fraudulent and not auditable.”

Mr. Moraes also pointed out that, after the broadcast, Mr. Bolsonaro spoke again about the same subject, “in a clear threat” to the president of the TSE, Luís Roberto Barroso. “In this specific case, it is observed the clear objective to disrupt, hinder, frustrate or impede the voting process.”

Given these circumstances, Justice Moraes said it is “essential to adopt measures to clarify the facts investigated.” Electoral crimes against the National Security Law and other offenses, such as slander, defamation, libel, incitement to crime, criminal association and slanderous accusation will be probed.

The STF Justice made the decision to investigate the president without hearing the PGR. The current attorney general, Augusto Aras, is considered to be aligned with Mr. Bolsonaro and has avoided getting into trouble with the government.

On another front, upon a request made by lawmakers for Mr. Bolsonaro to be investigated for administrative misconduct due to the broadcast, Justice Cármen Lúcia acted differently and asked for an opinion from the PGR on the possibility of opening a new investigation.

The criminal investigation, reported by Justice Moraes, was one of the measures adopted by the Electoral Justice to try to curb Mr. Bolsonaro’s attacks against the country’s voting system.

According to a justice close to President Bolsonaro, Mr. Moraes’s move is not surprising. “It was already expected. It’s the Electoral Court giving back. They don’t want any question mark about the [electronic] vote.”

On Monday, the TSE also approved the opening of an administrative investigation to determine whether Mr. Bolsonaro committed abuse of economic and political power, improper use of the media, corruption, fraud, conduct prohibited to public officials and irregular advertising. The procedure, which may result in the declaration of the president’s ineligibility, was requested by the election comptroller Luís Felipe Salomão. He asked the Supreme Court to share the evidence collected so far.

On Wednesday, President Bolsonaro sent a response to the TSE, but did not present the evidence he claimed to have, limiting himself to defending the printed ballot and stating that the issue is “quite disturbing before Brazilian society.”

Lowering the tone, he said that the predilection for this model does not mean “attacking the safety of the electronic ballot box,” but “enabling an effective audit” and “transmitting greater reliability to the voters.”

Source: Valor international

Before taking office, the Jair Bolsonaro administration set a goal of increasing annual investments in infrastructure to R$250 billion by 2022. A survey by Inter.B Consultoria, however, shows that public and private investments in the area totaled R$115.2 billion last year, lower than the R$118 billion in 2019 and R$117.6 billion in 2018. In 2017 it was R$114.7 billion. This covers investments in the transport, electricity, telecommunications and sanitation sectors.

Source: Valor international

Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, of the Federal Supreme Court, decided to send the case opened against former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello to a trial court. The investigation will look into Mr. Pazuello’s conduct while dealing with the collapse of the health system in Manaus, Amazonas, where dozens of patients with Covid-19 died from lack of oxygen in hospitals. A center point of the investigation is evidence that the former minister knew in advance about a shortage of oxygen in the state and didn’t take action.

Source: Valor International

The US reiterated its support for Brazil’s entry into the organization

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said today (Jan. 15) Brazil has made significant progress in meeting the requirements to enter the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The US government announced yesterday (14) it plans to recommend Brazil as the next country to join the organization as a full member.

“This is great news. We had been working on this for months—discreetly, of course. The announcement [by the US] came out; there are over 100 requirements for being accepted; we’ve made a lot of progress, and have overcome Argentina. Brazil has a number of advantages. It’s as if Brazil were about to join the top league in football,” Bolsonaro said after leaving the Alvorada presidential residence this Wednesday morning (15).

In the president’s view, in addition to having the support of the US, Brazil has overcome obstacles from other countries and proved Brazil is a strong candidate.

In a note, the US embassy in Brasília stated that the decision at this point to prioritize Brazil’s candidacy and its efforts to start the admission process is a natural development of the commitment restated by US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump in October 2019. On the occasion, however, the secretary submitted a document to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria backing the entry of Argentina and Romania to the organization.

“The Brazilian government has worked to bring its economic policies in line with OECD norms, prioritizing the admission to the organization to bolster economic reforms,” the note from the embassy reads. “OECD,” the text goes on, “is an organization based on consensus, and any decision to invite countries to start the admission process must be made by all 36 member countries.”

OECD is made up of the world’s most industrialized countries—most of which in Europe and North America—and sets shared parameters for economic and legislative rules for its members.

Source: Agência Brasil

It is a fact that Brazil has been through a liberating change since President Jair Bolsonaro won the election. He gave the world a short demonstration of his intentions to take the country out of the socialist hole we found ourselves in when, a few weeks after winning, he declared that the Brazilian government would no longer subsidize the Cuban regime via the exploitative More Doctors program.

Bolsonaro’s administration recently completed its first 100 days, and numerous liberalizing measures came about during this period. Gun rights for civilians are expanding; homeschooling is poised to be legally recognized; some job-killing regulations were terminated; talks about the privatization of giant state-run companies such as Petrobras and Correios have gained ground; pension reform got its first approval in Congress, and so on. It looks like we are on our way toward replicating the Chilean miracle.

Yet, if I were to pick up only one action taken by his economic team to best demonstrate to my foreign friends the pro-liberty momentum Brazil is experiencing right now, it would be the so-called declaration of economic freedom that was just signed. Conceived by the founder of Instituto Mises Brasil, Hélio Beltrão, in collaboration with members of the Ministry of Economy, the Executive Provisional Act is a set of rules designed to boost free enterprise and impose limits to government intervention over small businesses. It has a 120-day validation period before Congress votes on its permanent implementation.

Here are the 17 freedom principles that drive the document:

  1. Freedom against bureaucracy—to eliminate unnecessary certifications required by state agents;
  2. Freedom to work and produce—to prevent actions from unions or agencies that restrict the operation of small businesses or intervene in their policies;
  3. Freedom to set prices—to prevent bills from being manipulated so that monopolies are not created;
  4. Freedom against arbitrariness—to avoid state agents benefiting one entrepreneur at the expense of others;
  5. Freedom to be presumed in good faith—to guarantee that contracts and private agreements are respected when the interpretation of a law or right is not clear;
  6. Freedom to modernize—outdated regulations cannot rule modern businesses;
  7. Freedom to innovate—no license may be required while the company is still testing, developing, or implementing a product or service that is not of high risk;
  8. Freedom to agree—if two parties agree in contract, no judiciary action can be taken to alter it;
  9. Freedom not to go unanswered—every license or application will have to have a maximum time, which, when passed, will mean approval in silence;
  10. Freedom to go digital—all papers will be digitalized so companies will not have costs in stocking documents;
  11. Freedom to grow—to guarantee small companies access to the capital market;
  12. Freedom to endeavor—to protect business owners and entrepreneurs from being pre-judged as villains before a clear demonstration of their guilt;
  13. Freedom to write contracts with international standards—to limit the cases in which judiciary decisions can alter contracts;
  14. Freedom against abuse—to prevent state agents from issuing abusive remarks and regulations;
  15. Freedom against economic regulation—no economic regulation may be issued without a consistent analysis of its impact;
  16. Freedom of corporate regulation—commercial associations will be legalized;
  17. Freedom of contractual risks—the right of two parts to agree to the allocation of risks in contracts will be licit and respected.

Besides the economic outcomes expected from the implementation of the decree, it will also have a positive impact on our mindset. For many decades, Brazilians have systematically been taught countless economic fallacies which say capitalism generates poverty and that the state is the only entity able to stimulate the economy.

Regardless of the numerous examples of successful free-market societies over the world, there are still people here (many of them Economics bachelors, I regret to tell) who cannot see the correlation between economic freedom and well being. Overcoming our long-standing anti-capitalistic mentality will certainly be the greatest aspect of implementing the 17 rules of the economic freedom declaration.

Undoubtedly, this new economic freedom provisional act is already the result of a whole process of pro-liberty education and awareness that started a couple of years ago when Brazil was still governed by diehard Marxists. It is rewarding to see the power of ideas reverberating in measures that will lift millions of Brazilians out of poverty and unemployment.


Source: Foundation For Economic Education

Jair Bolsonaro ended his meeting with US president Donald Trump on Tuesday (19th) in Washington with a win: the United States’ support for Brazil’s candidacy to become a member of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the “rich countries club.”

It was the primary goal of Bolsonaro’s first visit to the United States as president. The Brazilian government sees the OECD membership as a sort of “seal of approval” of its macroeconomic policies.

However, the support didn’t come for free. In exchange, Brazil will give up its special treatment status at the World Trade Organization, WTO, which allows the country to have better terms in trade deals and other privileges.

The trip also cemented Trump and Bolsonaro’s relationship and ideology affinities.

During the press conference at the White House Rose Garden, they exchanged compliments and jokes, showing their chemistry as right-wing populists.

“I have always been a great admirer of the US, and my admiration only grew strong with you as a president,” Bolsonaro said to Trump. “Brazil and the United States are united in the safeguard of freedom, fear of God, and against gender ideology, political correctness, and fake news.”

Trump also didn’t spare praises for the Brazilian leader. “You did an incredible job uniting the country. I’m very proud to hear the president use the expression ‘fake news.'”

The United States is waging war to reform the WTO. One of the main goals is to end the possibility of member countries to define themselves as developing, a label that would warrant them special treatment.


Source: Folha