Brazil

June 28, 2019

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1. Military staffer arrested on cocaine charges during presidential trip

On Tuesday, an Air Force Sergeant – who was part of the crew on President Jair Bolsonaro’s backup plane – was arrested in Spain with 39 kg (86 lbs) of cocaine in his luggage. The arrest forced Brazilian politicians to change their flight connection from Seville to Lisbon. Bolsonaro demanded absolute rigor in the investigations and immediate support to the Spanish police. The arrested sergeant did not work for the president but was supporting his trip to Japan for the G20 summit. Spanish authorities said they were surprised that the 37 confiscated packages were not even hidden inside the suitcase. The sergeant had already made 29 trips overseas, many of them as part of presidential staffs, since 2011.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Militar de voo presidencial é preso com cocaína
O Globo: Imprensa internacional repercute a prisão de militar
Folha de S.Paulo: Sargento preso já acompanhou 3 presidentes desde 2011

2. Easing gun laws gets partial support from senators

On Wednesday, senators approved a bill that extends the right to carry firearms on the entirety of a rural property, not just in the home. During the same vote, the Senate reduced the minimum age for owning firearms in rural areas by four years to 21. The bill will now be voted on by the Chamber of Deputies. On the same day, President Jair Bolsonaro published a new decree on gun laws. It was his seventh decree on the subject and retains ideas that still face resistance in Congress, such as easing rules for buying rifles – which is is currently only permitted by the police. Bolsonaro also made concessions, such as removing journalists, lawyers, politicians and truckers from the categories of professions with guaranteed right to carry. In the “back and forth” of presidential decrees, senators have already said that the new decree will be suspended due to unconstitutional content. Learn more about the relationship between Bolsonaro and Congress at Brasília Report.

O Globo: Senado aprova parcialmente nova posse de armas
O Globo: Confira o que está em vigor sobre porte e posse de armas

3. At G20 summit, Bolsonaro faces criticism for deforestation

President Jair Bolsonaro arrived in Japan for the G20 summit to criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding deforestation in Brazil. Merkel said she would have a “clear discussion” with her Brazilian counterpart on the matter. Bolsonaro also faced a threat from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said he would not sign trade deals if Brazil left the Paris Agreement. Bolsonaro demanded respect for Brazil and said he has examples which disprove their comments about his environmental policies. Earlier today in Japan, Bolsonaro held brief one-on-one meetings with Merkel and Macron. The French President was invited to visit the Amazon but hasn’t yet accepted the offer. Amid tensions, Bolsonaro was praised by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said the Brazilian President is “a very special man, who is doing well and is loved by the Brazilian people.”

Folha de S.Paulo: Não aceito advertência de outro país, diz Bolsonaro
Valor Econômico: Bolsonaro tem bate-papo com Merkel e Macron
Valor Econômico: Trump elogia desempenho de Bolsonaro

4. Pension reform to be debated on Tuesday

Chamber of Deputies President Rodrigo Maia gave governors – primarily those in the opposition – until Tuesday to gather votes in favor of pension reform. He hopes that support from governors will lead to the inclusion of changes to the pensions of state and municipal public servants in the reforms. The final report with the altered text – excluding public servants from changes – should have been voted on on Thursday but was postponed. Maia asked the administration’s economic team to go back to Congress and push for the reform’s approval. He believes the final text should be voted on and approved in the plenary assembly before the parliamentary recess which begins on July 18th. According to him, the reform to be voted on in July will put an end to “administration’s excuses.”

O Globo: Texto da reforma da Previdência será votado na terça-feira
Folha de S.Paulo: Aprovação da reforma acabará com desculpas, diz Maia

5. Bolsonaro’s disapproval rate is the highest since his inauguration

According to a poll published by Ibope on Thursday, disapproval rates for Jair Bolsonaro’s administration increased by 5% to 32% – the highest at any point since his inauguration. Moreover, approval fell by three points to 32%. Out of the people interviewed, 3% didn’t have an opinion or didn’t know how to respond. Trust in Bolsonaro also decreased five points to 46%. Among women, the administration’s opinion is also negative with 54% disapproving of the government, while among men that figure stands at 42%. The poll was conducted between June 20th and 26th, interviewing 2,000 people in 126 cities. The margin of error is plus or minus two percent.

Folha de S.Paulo: Reprovação ao governo é a maior desde a posse