Crime Rates in Brazil– Grim Stats

The newspaper Globo reported some stark statistics today about how crime affects city-dwellers. According to the report undertaken by the National Confederation of Industry, “A Portrait of Brazilian Society: Public Security,” within the last twelve months more than 51% of Brazilians give public safety a failing grade; 79% say they have witnessed or experienced some type of crime within the last 12 months; 63% say they avoid carrying money while circulating around their respective cities; 57% report that they have increased the caution they...

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Brazil’s Banks: Record Profits and Striking Employees—What Gives?

Few other countries can boast banks whose profits were more fabulous than Brazil’s in 2010. As much of the world’s banks cowered under the threat that consumer and national debts might lead to insolvency, Brazil’s banks boomed.  According to the Economist, the sector enjoyed returns on equity of more than 25 percent, and the nation’s biggest private bank, Itaú, reported earnings of US$8 billion, 32 percent higher than in 2009. With all this financial success, why were Brazil’s banks not able to avert a 21-day banking workers strike...

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Today is International Right-to-Know Day

Today is International Right to Information Day. Countries around the world are celebrating their newfound right to ask and receive public information held, for the benefit of citizens, in the government’s trust. The New Paradigm– Freedom of Information and Open Government More than 40 of the world’s 90-odd national freedom of information (FOI) laws were enacted within the past decade. This year alone, 8 countries passed measures: El Salvador, Guinea Canakry, Guyana, Jersey, Liberia, Nigeria and Mongolia. Latin America accounts for...

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Brazil’s Unmerited Swagger

Mighty Brazil A couple of weeks ago, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega puffed out his chest and idly suggested that the BRIC countries might bail out Europe. A few weeks later, Dilma Rousseff stood before the United Nations Assembly and tossed daggers at economic mismanagement in the U.S. and Europe while at once highlighting Brazil’s sure-footedness: “Part of the world has not yet found the balance between appropriate fiscal adjustments and proper and precise fiscal stimuli to demand and growth […] It is noteworthy that it is...

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Corruption in Brazil Today: Showdowns on Multiple Fronts

It is a pivotal moment for Brazil. While President Dilma Rousseff presents Brazil’s plans for the Open Government Partnership in New York today, anti-corruption movements are mobilizing across Brazil. Today, the Globo newspaper reported that around 30,000 protesters have come together through Facebook for a protest in Rio de Janeiro to be held between 17:00 and 20:00 in one of the city’s largest squares, Cinelandia. These protests follow in the wake of the September 7th demonstrations in Brasilia that brought together almost 10,000...

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Brazil’s Plans for the Open Government Partnership and 5 Recommendations

Brazil unveiled tentative plans to make good on the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multi-country, multi-stakeholder international initiative to advance greater transparency, openness, accountability, and participation in government. Brazil and the U.S. are the Co-Chairs of the OGP, which is to be announced on September 20th by President Barack Obama at the opening of the United Nations in New York. Brazil’s proposed initiatives are somewhat promising, and appear to be in line with the general spirit of the Open Government Partnership...

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Movements Against Corruption Afoot in Brazil

The performance of Brazil’s Congress, and particularly the governing coalition makes one wonder whether the nation’s deliberative process should be moved somewhere else— far away from the alleged ‘representatives of the people.’ Congress is where the government’s coalition ‘allies’ select their robber baron cabinet ministers, the same ones that have been resigning one after the next in the wake of President Dilma Rousseff’s spring cleaning. Yet despite the rash of corruption scandals over the past months, and one...

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Brazil’s Long-Awaited Freedom of Information Bill Once Again Under Threat

Brazil’s long-awaited freedom of information law is once again under threat. Senator and disgraced ex-President Fernando Collor, who was impeached in 1992 by the very Senate he now serves, has proposed radical revisions to the freedom of information bill 41/2010. These changes constitute a clear affront to President Dilma Rousseff, who has supported passage of the measure, to the Chamber of Deputies, which approved the bill in 2010, and to the three Senate committees that have already endorsed the measure in 2011. As Chair of the Committee...

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Why Don’t Brazilians React?

The Fateful Question of El País Correspondent Juan Arias Search for the question “por que os brasileiros não reagem?” (Why don’t Brazilians react?) or the phrase, “do Brazilians really not know how to react to hypocrisy and their leaders’ lack of ethics?” (“Será que os brasileiros não sabem reagir à hipocrisia e à falta de ética de muitos dos que os governam?”) and you will find pages upon pages of Brazilian bloggers and media outlets responding to an editorial by Juan Arias, a Brazilian correspondent of El País...

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New Brazilian Record: 4 Ministers Fall in 8 Months of Corruption Faxina

When President Dilma Rousseff took office in January, she counted on the largest congressional majority Brazil had ever witnessed—a super-majority that gave her more than three-fifth of votes Congress— enough to change the constitution. Rousseff lost that super-majority when the PR and its block of 52 deputies broke with the government on Tuesday, reported Jornal Globo. The break follows the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (DNIT) scandal, in which the government wrested control of the ministry from the PR after clear evidence...

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