Threats to Broad Consultation and Participation in Brazil, Co-chair of Open Government Partnership

As co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, in a very few months Brazil will play host to a meeting among more than 50 countries participating in an unprecedented global initiative: a ‘multinational and multi-stakeholder’ effort to improve accountability, transparency, access to information, and greater participation in the affairs of government. A sort of club for countries committed to openness, the OGP was announced at the United Nations in September 2011 and will take on a more concrete character after the April 2012 meeting in...

Continue reading

Analyzing Brazil’s New Freedom of Information Law

When Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff promulgated the country’s new freedom of information law on November 18th, she signed on to a measure that is among the strongest in Latin America, and perhaps more importantly, she endorsed a law that made inordinate improvements over bill (5228) introduced  by her predecessor, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in 2009. As the blurb at the side of my blog describes, I am in the midst of writing a book on the adoption of freedom of information laws across Latin America. Part of the study requires...

Continue reading

A Freedom of Information Law in Brazil: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Article written for freedominfo.org, a site curated by the D.C. based National Security Archive,  18 April, 2011: Heartening events and significant setbacks added more drama to Brazil’s bid for a freedom of information (FOI) law this past week, but the overall outlook is considerably more promising now than before. Heartening Events: President Rousseff Declares Support for FOI bill President Dilma Rousseff confirmed her support for the FOI bill, (41/2010), which was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in April 2010 and has since been...

Continue reading

Published at Brazil in Focus: Brazil needs a Tax Break

See the article, published on 12 April,  Brazil in Focus During a recent gathering of industrial leaders in Rio de Janeiro, Eliezer Batista da Silva mused that Brazil has the “taxes of Sweden and the services of Angola.” It’s an old saw, but it gained an extra bite in the mouth of Batista, a founder of the multinational mining conglomerate Vale and the father of Brazil’s richest man, energy mogul Eike Batista. While the elder Batista’s jab may sound like hyperbole, the comment fell on sympathetic ears at Rio’s Industrial...

Continue reading

Considering the Diversion of Public Monies in Brazil -A Cool US$35 Billion for Starters

US$35 billion of public monies stolen. A colossal affront to the cities and country they work for? Yes. Preventable? Not yet. The most significant news item on the diversion of public monies I have seen in some time appeared in yesterday’s Globo as the lead opinion piece: “The Indicators Show Billions Stolen.” The article cites grim figures: of 131 municipalities audited by the Comptroller General, 90 percent showed irregularities; and it is estimated that municipal officials and their accomplices steal 30% of federal and...

Continue reading

Government Decides to Keep Archives Closed: Opacity to Prevail Under Dilma?

The Brazilian government has decided to keep its historical archives on the military dictatorship (1964-1985) closed, according to a report published today by ABRAJI. The move breaks with previous promises and effectively renders a conference I paid $100R to attend– International Seminary on Access to Information and Human rights –irrelevant. A boycott of the seminary (see banner photo) is now underway, with prominent NGOs Artigo 19 , Transparencia Brasil, and ABRAJI (Brazilian Association for Investigative Reporting) refusing to...

Continue reading