Thursday, March 16, 2006


Ellen Gracie: a woman in the Presidency of the Supreme Court

Ellen GracieEllen Gracie was the first woman to be appointed to the Brazilian Supreme Court.
From the next March 30th, she will also become, at age 59, the first woman to become President of the Supreme Court; she was elected by the other Justices to occupy the Presidency after the retirement of the current President, Nelson Jobim.


Geraldo Alckmin to run for President of the Republic

Geraldo AlckminIn 2006, there will be elections in Federal and State levels.
President Lula will run for re-election.
The main candidate of opposition was defined today: it will be Geraldo Alckmin, from PSDB. There was a fierce internal dispute in PSDB between José Serra and Geraldo Alckmin; Serra was candidate in 2002, when he lost to President Lula. Serra is currently mayor of the city of São Paulo; Serra is, among the potential candidates of opposition, the one with highest ratings in the recent surveys.

Alckmin is currently in the second term as the Governor of the State of São Paulo. Along with his predecessor, Mário Covas, Alckmin conducted a severe adjustment in the public accounts of São Paulo. The State today has a manageable debt and the investments in the past few years have been only growing.

Recent surveys show that President Lula is recovering popularity, after the slumps caused by the denounces of corruption. Alckmin is in a distant second (Lula has about 50%, Alckmin about 20%), but only from now on will he start to divulgate his ideas.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Brazilian Army ends slums occupation in Rio

Ten days ago, a gang of drug traffickers invaded a military basis and stole ten machine guns and one pistol. Besides, reports say that the soldiers on duty were slapped on the face.
It looks like the Generals thought that the bandits went beyond limits.
The Army obtained in courts an injunction order to search individuals, vehicles and residences in search of the guns.
The slums of Rio were sieged by 1,500 Army soldiers. Shoot outs were frequent during the days of occupation. Yesterday, the weapons were found abandoned in a corner of a slum.
There were discussions about the legality of the operation. According to Brazilian law, any action by the Armed Forces must be officially ordered by the President of the Republic. President Lula was in England when the operation started; he gave verbal support, but not official support.
Rumors say that the weapons were delivered after behind-the-curtains talks between the Army and the drug lords. The Army operation was hurting the drugs business.
Read what BBC wrote about Brazilian Army in Rio.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Peasant women invade and destroy premises of a gen-tech company

Yesterday, to celebrate Women's Day, a group of women who belong to a group called Moovement of Peasant Women, invaded the premises of Aracruz Celulose, a respected Brazilian company in the business of pulp production (Aracruz is traded in NYSE).
The group rented 50 buses to take 2,000 volunteer women from Porto Alegre to the city of Barra do Ribeiro, 56 km away, where Aracruz is established.

The Movement, which is affiliated with MST (Landless Workers Movement), is against the use of genetic technology to improve agriculture. MST has invaded some soy plantations in the recent past. Now, Aracruz was attacked because it uses genetic to improve the eucalyptus grown to produce pulp.
The invaders destroyed seeds, bushes, laboratories and computers; Aracruz estimates losses in US$ 20 million. More important, researchers saw works of 10 - 15 years completely lost.

Update 8 April: yesterday, 37 people were indicted by Justice, charged of invasion and destruction of private property. Among the 37 people, there are four foreigners: Swiss journalist Corinne Chantal Dobler, Spanish Paulo Nicholson, Indonesian Henry Saragih and Dominican Juana Ferrer.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


President Lula meets Queen Elizabeth

President Lula is in a 4-day official visit to the United Kingdom.
Yesterday, March 7th, Lula and wife Marisa were received by Queen Elizabeth and family.
According to Brazil media, the main themes of conversation were the affair Jean Charles de Menezes (Brazilian citizen who was mistaken by a terrorist and killed by the British police) and the destruction of the Amazon (Greenpace also organized a public protest).

Lula was accompanied by some Ministers ( Finance, Antônio Palocci; Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Luiz Fernando Furlan; Science and Technology, Sergio Rezende; Culture, Gilberto Gil; and Education, Fernando Haddad), and should talk to Prime Minister Tony Blair and British Ministers.

The last time a Brazilian President officially visited UK had been Fernando Henrique Cardoso, in 1997. Queen Elizabeth came only once to Brazil, in 1968.

Monday, March 06, 2006


General uses authority to embark in a commercial flight.

On the Wednesday after carnival, the Commander of Brazilian Army, General Francisco de Albuquerque, arrived in the airport of Viracopos, São Paulo, with a ticket to fly to Brasilia; he was not on duty, he was not wearing his uniform.
The airline, TAM, had overbooked the plane; the General, who arrived only fifteen minutes before the departure time, would not fly.

The General called up other authorities (in Brazil, both the Infraero, which administer airports, and Department of Civil Aviation, which regulates the sector, have connections with the Air Force). The airplane, which was going to the runway, turned back to the airport; a couple got off, the General and his wife got on; TAM says that the couple who got off the plane did so spontaneously.

Read more in Portuguese:

There are two ways to look at this fact:
1) Many people in Brazil fell they are better than others; this happens with Judges, Politicians, Militaries, and many other people with some authority (including all the respective wives).
2) The case with the General repercuted in the media. In other times, few people would dare to accuse a General, even less the Commander of Army. This time, however, many people expressed the unconformity with such an outrageous act; signs that Democracy and freedom of expression are growing stronger and stronger in Brazil.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?