Well before the Brazilian Senate threw Dilma Rousseff out of office on Wednesday, by a commanding 61-20 vote, even her most fervent supporters sensed her days as head of state were numbered. Yet to judge by the commotion from her loyalist rear guard, you’d think a political comeback were under way.
The suspended president took the stand at her impeachment trial in the Senate chambers on Monday with protesters in the street, an impressive entourage in tow and blessings from Bernie Sanders all the way to Hollywood. “Impeachment is a political death penalty,” Rousseff said.
For all the drama of her trial — the partisan bombast, Rousseff’s 14-hour grilling in the Senate, the tear gas in the streets — political apostates were already negotiating the day after.… Seguir leyendo »
Columbus, Ohio, is a long way from Brasilia, but thanks to a bunch of angry seniors and a lot of muck, these distant compass points in the Americas are now on a collision course.
This week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a motion on behalf of state pensioners over losses on investments in the corruption-riddled Brazilian oil major, Petrobras.
“The allegations against Petrobras are so egregious we have no choice but to take action on behalf of Ohio’s public employees and retirees,” DeWine told reporters in Columbus on Feb. 9.
Ohio is the latest plaintiff to pile on in a widening class action case against Latin America’s premier state-owned oil major, where evidence of pillage grows by the day.… Seguir leyendo »
Finding reliable information in Venezuela these days can be a challenge. Given the Bolivarian Republic’s bilious politics, many privately owned media are openly tendentious, while most others either behave like megaphones for government glories or look the other way.
So it was with more than a little trepidation that this nation of 29 million learned last month that El Universal, a battlesome, century-old daily and one of the country’s most respected independent voices, had changed hands.
On the face of it, this was a business deal. The financially ailing Caracas publication, which had winnowed down to two eight-page sections, sold out to Spanish investors with deeper pockets.… Seguir leyendo »
When the leaders of 40 percent of the planet’s population sit at the same table, the rest of the world pays attention. So it was this week, as heads of state from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, known collectively as the BRICS, convened in Brazil for their sixth and, by far, most productive summit meeting. In 48 hours, the emerging market leaders inaugurated a $50 billion development bank and a $100 billion panic fund for troubled debtors, and broke bread with 11 Latin American presidents. Waxing bullish, their host, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, proclaimed, “We are responsible for the mitigation of the financial crisis and the sustainable growth of the world economy since then.”
Whether nations with disparate agendas, competing ambitions and plenty of homegrown problems can see eye to eye, and then convert bulk into clout, is an open question.… Seguir leyendo »
For the superstitious, the Aerolineas Argentina jet that taxied onto the runway in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this week, straight across the path of an inbound Utair Boeing, forcing the Russian airliner to pull up, might have been an omen.
The same day, across the Atlantic, another potential disaster involving airborne Argentines was on the radar. Negotiators from Buenos Aires had landed in New York for further talks over the country’s unpaid debt. And every time Argentina’s economy minister, Axel Kicillof, boards a plane, bourses and boardrooms quake.
The whip-smart 42-year-old economist, with the tango master’s sideburns and Lord Keynes in his book bag, is the bane of international bondholders, some of whom have been at dagger point with the South American nation for the last decade.… Seguir leyendo »
The other day, as she was priming her re-election campaign, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hit a speed bump. There she was, racing across the country to launch shiny public-works projects ahead of the World Cup, and the only thing those annoying journalists wanted to know was if the airports would be renovated on time and up to “FIFA standards.” The reference, of course, was to the rigorous Switzerland-based global soccer authority. “The airports will not be FIFA-standard,” she shot back. “They will be Brazil-standard airports.”
And there it was, in a sound bite, the official spin on Brazil’s complicated moment in the sun, a candid take on the rolling public-relations disaster that has been this country’s relationship with the wider world and its international gatekeepers.… Seguir leyendo »
The other day I stopped into my neighborhood bistro for a bite. It’s usually a laid-back place, with a great jazz soundtrack, but when two guys in dark suits walked in, the mood chilled. They were “fiscais” — Rio shorthand for city inspectors — snooping for irregularities. Proprietors in Rio de Janeiro dread these sorts of visits: Fiscais always find something. They might be persuaded to look the other way, for a price. Brazilians call it wetting the official hand.
With Brazil in the global headlights, and 600,000 foreigners expected for next month’s World Cup, hands are getting wetter. “My blood freezes when I see them,” whispered the bistro manager as the suits marched into the kitchen.… Seguir leyendo »