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Brazil’s media ‘incited protests,’ favored Rousseff’s impeachment from start – Greenwald

Brazil’s media ‘incited protests,’ favored Rousseff’s impeachment from start – Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald © Ueslei Marcelino
Brazil-based US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, said Brazilian media is owned by a few families that have a clear political interest in pushing President Rousseff out by “inciting street protests.”

“What makes Brazil so different in terms of its media is that the largest media organizations are almost entirely owned by a very small number of families. It was for a long time. Three, four, now it is five,” Greenwald told RT’s agency Ruptly during an event in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.

“They all have the same interests, they have very close ties to the political class, they have clear political interests that are not the interest of the overall population. There is very little inhibition about using the media outlets for political activism.”

Thus, he said, it is not surprising that the majority of Brazil’s media coverage was one-sided and supported President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment from the start. In fact, the media has been “inciting street protests” against Rousseff, he said.

“There was a recording released just last week from the senior senator on the opposition and a new minister in which he said that the media was insisting on Dilma’s removal and her exit so I don’t think there is any question that the media has been almost entirely on one side of the debate at the expense of actual journalism here in Brazil.”

When it came to US involvement, Greenwald could not confirm anything specific, but referenced the alleged role in the Brazil’s coup in 1964. He pointed out that the US has a record of staging coups and not taking responsibility for them for years, adding that apparently, American politicians are benefiting from the current situation in Brazil.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Made in USA’: 3 key signs that point to Washington’s hand in Brazil’s ‘coup’

‘Made in USA’: 3 key signs that point to Washington’s hand in Brazil’s ‘coup’

As Brazil’s left-wing president, Dilma Rousseff, has been suspended from office to face trial for disregarding budget laws, details have emerged on key figures involved in what Rousseff supporters are calling a coup, hinting at a covert plot involving Washington.

Following last week’s vote in the Brazilian Senate that led to the suspension of the country’s first female president, the left-wing politician herself noted that she “never imagined that it would be necessary to fight a coup in this country.”

While Latin America’s modern history is riddled with well-documented examples of US operations aimed at overthrowing regimes, some would argue the situation in Brazil is tied to a popular protest movement that has sprang up due to the corruption scandal and slumping economy. However, profiles of those at the center of current events offer clues as to why Washington’s hand might be at play.

1. From US informant to Brazil’s acting president

After it emerged that Rousseff’s old ally and former vice-president, Michel Temer, would succeed her as an interim head of the country, the murky details from his past have emerged on Wikileaks. The whistleblowing website said it has published proof Temer served as an embassy informant for Washington.


Wikileaks:’s new head used to chat with US intelligence…a lot

Olympics In Doubt As Brazil Sports Minister Quits, Rio Governor Says “This Is The Worst Situation I’ve Ever Seen”

Olympics In Doubt As Brazil Sports Minister Quits, Rio Governor Says “This Is The Worst Situation I’ve Ever Seen”

In less than five months, Brazil is expected to host the Summer Olympics.

If you follow LatAm politics, you know that that is an absolute joke. Last summer, the country descended into political turmoil and the economy sank into what might as well be a depression. Nine months later, inflation is running in the double digits, output is in freefall, and unemployment is soaring. On Wednesday, the government reported its widest primary budget deficit in history and less than 24 hours later, the central bank delivered a dire outlook for growth and inflation.

Meanwhile, VP Michel Temer’s PMDB has split with Dilma Rousseff’s governing coalition, paving the way for her impeachment and casting considerable doubt on the future of the President’s cabinet.

On Thursday, we learn that sports minister George Hilton has become the latest casualty of the political upheaval that will likely drive Rousseff from office in less than two months. “Brazil’s sports minister is resigning four months before the country hosts the Olympics, amid continuing uncertainty over the fate of six other cabinet ministers,” The Guardian wrote this afternoon, before noting that earlier this month, “Hilton left his party in an apparent bid to hold onto his job.”

Hilton had been sports minister for just over a year and although we’re sure any and all Brazilian cabinet positions come with lucrative graft opportunities, we imagine Hilton won’t end up regretting his decision to distance himself from the government and from this year’s Summer Olympics.

After all, there are quite a few very serious questions swirling around the Rio games. For instance: Will the water be clean enough for athletes to compete in? Will there be enough auxiliary power to keep the lights on? And, most importantly, will the games take place at all?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Brazil Posts Largest Budget Deficit Ever As Rousseff Cries “Coup,” Olympic Ad Sales Top $1 Billion

Brazil Posts Largest Budget Deficit Ever As Rousseff Cries “Coup,” Olympic Ad Sales Top $1 Billion

On Tuesday, embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was dealt a bitter blow when PMDB – the party of VP Michel Temer and House Speaker Eduardo Cunha – officially left the coalition government.

“Dialogue, I regret to say, has been exhausted,” Tourism Minister Henrique Eduardo Alves, a PMDB leader and former speaker of the lower house of Congress, said on Monday as he resigned from Rousseff’s cabinet.

To let the market tell it, a complete political meltdown is great news. As we showed yesterday and as we’ve discussed on a number of occasions this month, the more precarious things get politically in Brazil, the harder the BRL and Brazilian risk assets rally. Why? Because the assumption is that when it comes to the country’s floundering economy, anything is preferable to the current arrangement. With output in free fall, inflation running in the double digits, and unemployment marking an inexorable rise, it’s difficult to imagine how things could possible get any worse.

Indeed, the prospect that Rousseff and Lula will be sent packing has created so much upward pressure on the BRL that the central bank has begun selling reverse swaps to keep a lid on the currency lest its rapid appreciation should end up short circuiting a much needed economic adjustment.

Meanwhile, Brazilian stocks have soared this year amid the turmoil. Of course this state of affairs simply isn’t sustainable. As Craig Botham, an emerging markets economist at Schroder Investment Management put it, “you don’t invest in a place where you don’t know who’s in charge.

Right. And you also don’t invest in a place where the economic fundamentals get worse by the day.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“It’s All F**ked”: Brazil Descends Into Chaos As Rousseff, Lula Wiretaps Trigger Mass Protests

“It’s All F**ked”: Brazil Descends Into Chaos As Rousseff, Lula Wiretaps Trigger Mass Protests

Just yesterday, we said the following about Brazil: It seems as though this country can’t get through a single day without some piece of political news or economic data creating confusion and turmoil.

We said that on the way to noting that central bank chief Alexandre Tombini looked set to resign for fear that former President Lula’s new cabinet position and attendant promise to “turn the economy around” would lead invariably to government interference in monetary and FX policy.

As regular readers and Brazil watchers alike are no doubt aware, the BRL has been on a veritable rollercoaster ride of late and it’s all thanks, one way or another, to Lula. The currency rallied on his arrest, sold off when he was offered a position in Rousseff’s cabinet, and now, is headed sharply higher after a court injunction blocked his nomination as chief of staff.

The injunction appears to stem from some 50 audio recordings released to the media on Wednesday by Judge Sergio Moro, the lead prosecutor in the car wash probe. At least one of the recordings seems to suggest that Rousseff did indeed offer Lula the ministry post in order to shield him from prosecution.

The most damning call was recorded on Wednesday afternoon, when Rousseff can be heard telling Lula that she is sending him his ministerial papers “in case of necessity.” Obviously, that sounds a lot like an attempt to make sure Lula has proof of his new position in case authorities come to arrest him before he’s sworn in. In Brazil, ministers can only be tried in the Supreme Court which, as you might imagine, could take virtually forever compared to lower courts.

Lula was questioned earlier this month in connection with the possibility that he received luxury properties in exchange for favors tied to the Petrobras scandal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hundreds Of Thousands Stage Massive Street Protests In Brazil, In Loud Call For Rousseff’s Ouster

Hundreds Of Thousands Stage Massive Street Protests In Brazil, In Loud Call For Rousseff’s Ouster

Back in August, we said that while there are all kinds of charts one could look at on the way to judging just how bad things have truly gotten in Brazil, the most important graphic of all may indeed be this one, which depicts the scope of the various street protests that took place in the country last year.

Popular discontent with President Dilma Rousseff has waxed and waned over the last six months along with the prospects for the opposition’s impeachment bid. At times, it looked like Rousseff might be on her way out, but political wrangling and questions about whether House Speaker Eduardo Cunha – the lawmaker pushing hardest for the President’s ouster-  accepted bribes complicated the process.

As Bloomberg wrote earlier this week, a string of recent events tied to the seemingly never-ending Carwash Probe – the 2-year long investigation into corruption involving Petrobras – have brought prosecutors ever closer to Rousseff. That, combined with the fact that the country is mired in a deep economic downturn characterized by double-digit inflation and soaring unemployment has the public at wit’s end.

“On Feb. 22, Rousseff’s top campaign strategist, João Santana, was arrested for allegedly receiving $7.5 million, [then] the magazine IstoE reported that the government’s former leader in the senate, Delcídio do Amaral, had alleged that Rousseff had pushed judges to release political allies imprisoned on charges of graft,” Bloomberg recounted. Finally, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was held for questioning and five days later, he was charged with money laundering.

The BRL soared on the news as the market apparently believed the chances that Rousseff would be impeached were meaningfully higher after Lula’s detention.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Hapless Brazil Incurs Massive Losses On FX Swaps Amid Currency Carnage

A Hapless Brazil Incurs Massive Losses On FX Swaps Amid Currency Carnage

As we’ve documented extensively of late, a host of idiosyncratic political factors have served to exacerbate what was already a very, very bad situation for emerging markets.

This dynamic is most readily apparent in Brazil and Turkey, and although Ankara probably has a leg up in the race for “most at risk from domestic turmoil”, Brazil isn’t far behind as President Dilma Rousseff battles abysmal approval ratings and a recalcitrant Congress in an effort to shore up the country’s finances by convincing lawmakers to sign off on much needed austerity measures.

Meanwhile, a confluence of exogenous shocks that include slumping commodity prices, depressed Chinese demand, the PBoC yuan devaluation, and the threat of an imminent Fed hike have conspired with country-specific political turmoil to send the BRL plunging and that, in turn, has put Copom in what former Treasury secretary Carlos Kawall calls “crisis mode.”

Of course crises are often costly to combat, especially when you’re an emerging market in the current environment and when it comes to Brazil, the use of alternative measures (like effectively selling dollars in the futures market) to avoid FX reserve liquidation is now weighing heavily on the fiscal outlook. As Goldman noted earlier this week on the heels of the latest monthly budget data, “the overall fiscal deficit is tracking at a disquieting 9.2% of GDP, driven in part by the surging net interest bill, which was exacerbated by the large losses on the central bank stock of Dollar-swaps.” Here’s what Capital Economics had to say after an emergency swaps auction was called by Copom in a desperate attempt to shore up the BRL last week:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Brazilian Nightmare Worsens On Bad Budget Data, Record Low Confidence, Horrific Government Approval Ratings

Brazilian Nightmare Worsens On Bad Budget Data, Record Low Confidence, Horrific Government Approval Ratings

Last month, in “‘No Recovery For You!’ Brazil Officially Enters Recession, Goldman Calls Numbers ‘Disquieting’”, we outlined Brazil’s July fiscal performance and came away believing that the country had little chance of hitting its primary fiscal surplus targets. Here’s what we said:

The latest on the political front is that President Dilma Rousseff has 15 days to explain to the the Federal Accounts Court why everyone seems to think that she intentionally delayed nearly $12 billion in social payments last year in an effort to make the books look better than they actually were. And while we won’t endeavor to weigh in one way or another on that issue, what we would say is that if someone in Brazil is doctoring this year’s books, they aren’t doing a very good job because things just seem to keep going from bad to worse. Case in point, on Friday, Brazil said its primary budget deficit was R10 billion in July, far wider than expected. The takeaway: “no primary surplus for you!”

Just three days later, Brazil officially threw in the towel on the primarily surplus projection for 2016 only to reverse course a few weeks later when embattled Finance Minister Joaquim Levy promised to enact some BRL26 billion in primary spending cuts for the 2016 budget on the way to achieving in a primary surplus that amounts to 0.7% of GDP.

Of course implementing austerity in the current fractious political environment is going to be well nigh impossible which means any and all upbeat assessments of the outlook for the country’s fiscal situation should be looked upon with an appropriate degree of skepticism. Add in the abysmal outlook for commodities and you have a recipe for perpetual twin deficits on the current and fiscal accounts, a situation which portends more BRL weakness to come. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rousseff Coup Could Sink Brazil, Emerging Markets

Rousseff Coup Could Sink Brazil, Emerging Markets

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Dolls in likeness of Lula da Silva, Rouseff. Source: The Guardian

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff’s approval rating has plummeted to 8% amid the country’s worst recession in two decades. Her job is at risk too. Earlier this week opponents filed a petition to impeach Rousseff due to allegations of corruption by former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at oil giant Petrobras of nearly $2 billion:

This week opponents of Ms Rousseff, incensed by allegations that “pixulecos” mostly involving ruling coalition politicians have cost Petrobras at least R$6bn (US$1.5bn), took their campaign to congress by filing a petition for impeachment with the speaker of the lower house Eduardo Cunha … The petition from Mr [Helio] Bicudo, which was backed by the opposition in congress, marks the start of what could be a long process to try to topple the former Marxist guerrilla only nine months into her second four-year term.

Rousseff – hand-picked by Lula da Silva to succeed him – appears to be caught up in da Silva’s backdraft. Opposition parties also claim she violated Brazil’s fiscal responsibility law when she doctored government accounts to allow more public spending prior to the October election last year. Rousseff in turn described the attempt to use Brazil’s economic crisis as an opportunity to seize power a modern day coup.

Inopportune Time For A Coup

Petrobras In Dire Straits 

Political turmoil could not have come at a worst time. The Petrobras debacle has been a point of contention for the populace. While the elite profited from bribes and kickbacks at the state-owned oil giant, Petrobras is laying off workers and cutting supplier contracts in order to stem cash burn.

And those efforts may still not be enough to stave off bankruptcy. With $134 billion in debt – $90 billion of it dollar-denominated – Petrobras is the world’s most-indebted oil company. With oil prices 60% below their Q2 2014 peak, Petrobras will likely crumbleunder its debt load.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Is Brazil About to Drag Down Spain’s Biggest Bank?

Is Brazil About to Drag Down Spain’s Biggest Bank?

The timing could not have been worse.

In July last year, an analyst working for Banco Santander Brasil did something he shouldn’t have. He warned the firm’s private banking clients about the economic risks posed by the reelection of Brazil’s scandal-tarnished president, Dilma Rousseff. Those risks included a sharply devalued Brazilian real, rising interest rates, runaway inflation and tumbling shares.

When the analyst’s report went public, it provoked outrage from Rousseff’s party, which saw it as a direct intervention in the country’s general election. Santander’s now-deceased CEO Emilio Botin was given a choice: either he castigated the analyst and rejected his findings, or his bank’s extremely cozy ties with the government of its most profitable market could be in danger.

It was not a difficult decision. Within days the analyst was fired for “making a mistake.” Now, a year and two months later, it’s obvious that the analyst’s warnings were spot-on. Rather than firing him, Santander should have listened to him.

Instead of reducing its exposure to Brazil’s fragile economy over the last year, as HSBC has done (read: Does HSBC Know Something Others Don’t), Santander has doubled down on its bet, forking out €4.7 billion on the acquisition of the remaining 25% of its Brazilian unit.

A Slap in the Face

The timing could not have been worse. Yesterday, Brazil’s already troubled economy was given another long-expected slap in the face when Standard & Poor downgraded the country’s debt from investment-grade to junk status.

The impact was immediate. Brazil’s currency plunged from 3.78 Real to the dollar to 3.9. It’s currently hovering at 3.88. Just a year ago, when news of the government’s Petrobras scandal began hitting and the economy’s biggest threats – a weakening China, the abrupt end of the commodity super cycle, a strengthening dollar, and floundering internal demand – were beginning to surface, the currency was clocking in at 2.35 Real to the dollar.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

 

 

Brazil Cut To Junk By S&P, ETF Falls 5% Post-Mkt

Brazil Cut To Junk By S&P, ETF Falls 5% Post-Mkt

It’s not as if the writing wasn’t on the wall, and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Brazil, whose economy officially slid into recession in Q2 – a quarter during which Brazilians suffered through the worst inflation-growth outcome (i.e. stagflation) in over a decade – and whose efforts to plug a yawning budget gap are complicated by political infighting and a growing public outcry against embattled President Dilma Rousseff, has been cut to junk by S&P. 

  • BRAZIL CUT TO JUNK BY S&P; OUTLOOK NEGATIVE

Unsurprisingly, the iShares MSCI Brazil ETF is trading sharply lower AH on the announcement:

S&P’s move comes as the country’s finance minister fights for his political life and as deficits on both the current and fiscal accounts paint a bleak picture, especially in the face of persistently low commodity prices, China’s move to devalue the yuan, and the impossible dilemma facing the central bank which, like its “LA-5” counterparts, can’t hike to combat a plunging currency for fear of exacerbating FX pass through inflation and can’t cut to boost the economy for fear of jeopardizing the 2016 4.5% inflation target.

Expect this to get far, far worse before it gets better. Here’s the headline dump:

  • S&P SEES BRAZIL REAL GDP CONTRACTION OF ABOUT 2.5% THIS YEAR
  • S&P SEES BRAZIL REAL GDP CONTRACTION OF 0.5% IN ’16
  • S&P SEES BRAZIL REAL GDP MODEST GROWTH IN 2017
  • BRAZIL GOVT DEFICIT TO RISE TO AVG 8% GDP IN ’15, ’16, S&P SAYS
  • BRAZIL WON’T HAVE PRIMARY FISCAL SURPLUS IN ’15, ’16: S&P

 

Here’s a look at the country’s twin deficits:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Hundreds Of Thousands Take To The Streets In Brazil Demanding President’s Impeachment

Hundreds Of Thousands Take To The Streets In Brazil Demanding President’s Impeachment

Protests are underway in Brazil as hundreds of thousands take to the streets to call for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Here’s Bloomberg:

An estimated 25,000 protesters in Brasilia marched toward Congress, chanting against Rousseff and corruption, carried a long banner demanding “Impeachment Now.”

Rouseff monitored proceedings from her official residence, due to meet with some of her cabinet in the afternoon, said Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo.


Protest in : “Military intervention is not a crime” via @tariqpanja UNBELIEVABLE.

Background:

When the world’s foremost mainstream media outlets begin to run stories with titles like: “How to Impeach a Brazilian President: A Step-by-Step Guide“, you know your political career may be in trouble.

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff – who recently became the country’s most unpopular democratically elected president since a military dictatorship ended in 1985, with an approval rating of just 8% – faces a litany of problems, not the least of which are accusations around fabricated fiscal account data and corruption at Petrobras where she was chairwoman from 2003 to 2010.

But beyond that, Brazil is mired in stagflation and, as Morgan Stanley recently noted, is at the center of the global EM unwind triggered by falling commodity prices, slowing demand from China, and an imminent Fed rate hike. Underscoring the depth of the economic malaise is the following graphic from Goldman which shows that when it comes to inflation-growth outcomes, it doesn’t get much worse than what Brazil suffered through in Q2.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NSA’s Top Brazilian Political and Financial Targets Revealed by New Wikileaks Disclosure

Top secret data from the National Security Agency, shared with The Intercept by WikiLeaks, reveals that the U.S. spy agency targeted the cellphones and other communications devices of more than a dozen top Brazilian political and financial officials, including the country’s president Dilma Rousseff, whose presidential plane’s telephone was on the list. President Rousseff just yesterday returned to Brazil after a trip to the U.S. that included a meeting with President Obama, a visit she had delayed for almost two years in anger over prior revelations of NSA spying on Brazil.

That Rousseff’s personal cell phone was successfully targeted by NSA spying was previously reported in 2013 by Fantastico, a program on the Brazilian television network Globo Rede. That revelation – along with others exposing NSA mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Brazilians, and the targeting of the country’s state-owned oil company Petrobras and its Ministry of Mines and Energy – caused a major rupture inrelations between the two nations. But Rouseff is now suffering from severe domestic weakness as a result of various scandals and a weak economy, and apparently could no longer resist the perceived benefits of a high-profile state visit to Washington.

But these new revelations extend far beyond the prior ones and are likely to reinvigorate tensions. Beyond Rousseff, the new NSA target list includes some of Brazil’s most important political and financial figures, such as the Finance Ministry’s Executive Secretary Nelson Barbosa; Luiz Awazu Pereira da Silva, a top official with Brazil’s Central Bank; Luiz Eduardo Melin de Carvalho e Silva, former Chief of Staff to the Finance Minister; the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s chief of economics and finance, Luis Antônio Balduíno Carneiro; former Foreign Affairs Minister and Ambassador to the U.S. Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado; and Antonio Palocci, who formerly served as both Dilma’s Chief of Staff and Finance Minister under former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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