Brazil Government Bucking Trend Toward Informational Openness

The latest of several worrying trends relating to informational freedom in Brazil, earlier this week the Brazilian  Ministry of Education and Culture revoked the Creative Commons license that it has used since 2004. The move is yet one more indication that the Brazilian government continues to resist openness and strive for informational control. Brazil denies its citizens access to historical archives and access to public information. It remains one of only a handful of countries in the region not to have passed a freedom of information...

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Does the Rise of Economic Optimism Lead to More Charity?

Booming Brazil and Buoyant Brazilians An Ipsos Public Affairs poll measuring national economic optimism in 24 countries placed Brazil far ahead of the pack, with 78 percent of people optimistic about the country’s economy, according to today’s Globo newspaper. India came a distant second at 61 percent and France a gloomy last, with just 3 percent buoyant about the country’s economic outlook. Charitable Potential Today the Folha de São Paulo reported on a McKinsey Consulting study that placed Brazil’s potential for...

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Public Officials Ousted from Public Service Doubled Over Course of Lula’s Eight Years

Globo reported today that the number of public officials ousted from the public service over the course of President Lula da Silva’s administrations (2002-2010) doubled. In 2003 the number of public officials punished tallied 264 and in 2010 this total had doubled to 521. Globo has produced a list of President Dilma Rousseff campaign pledges. It lists “fighting corruption” as one of the promises of the Dilma administration, and “ensuring greater transparency through state reform,” but it does not list the passage...

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The Specter of Brazilian Inflation

Canada’s Globe and Mail today reported on the specter of Brazilian of Brazilian inflation. Prices have surged over the last years; inflation was 10 percent last year and the Real is stronger than ever. So strong, reports the Globe, that Goldman Sachs dubbed it the most overvalued currency in the world. Good time for Brazilians to travel, bad time for exporters. Globo reported yesterday that for the first time Brazilian importers are now exceeding exporters because of the price of the Real, and current accounts are trending negative. The...

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61 Hydro-Electric Dams Threaten Amazon, Forests

I was surprised and delighted by Jornal Globo’s gutsy report (portuguese) on the 61 hydro electric plants planned from here until 2019, which will destroy 5300 square kilometers of forest– an area approximately four times the size of São Paulo, South America’s largest city. The hydro projects will require 7700 kilometers of transmission wires, and will therefore also require the construction of roads and settlements, a further threat to Brazil’s forests. The proposed hydro projects will generate 42 kilowatts of...

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Dilma Will Go Ahead with Truth Commission

President Dilma Rousseff will apparently approve legislation advanced by the National Truth Commission, reports yesterday’s Jornal Globo. Brazil remains one of the few countries in Latin America whose leaders have not yet reckoned with human rights abuses committed during the last dictatorship. The military ruled Brazil from 1964-1985, during which time hundreds of people were “disappeared” and thousands tortured. A general amnesty protects those responsible for crimes committed during the dictatorship, but the truth...

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National Ombudman on Human Rights Reports Extermination Campaigns

The Jornal Globo newspaper reported yesterday that “extermination” groups are operating in at least six states: Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Goiás, Mato Grosso, and São Paulo. These extermination groups, which gained international notoriety in 1980s, target the homeless and homosexuals, among others. According to Globo, the police are often involved in the killings. Complete statistics are un available because records are not kept by either the military or civil police or the public defender (ministerio publico)...

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The Threat of Media Reform as Effective Media Control

Your party will win the next election and you want to make sure the media keeps providing you with reliably un-critical if not favorable coverage– here is your media strategy: you promise to change the regulatory status quo of the media before the election, and you renege on the proposed reform following your victory. The media behaves with deference for fear of reform, and treats you favorably once entreaties by media lobbyists to “delay” reform are met. On December 20th 2010 President Lula asked the party’s National...

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