August 30, 2019


1. Amazon fires complicate relationship between Brazil and France

President Jair Bolsonaro rejected USD $20 million offered by French President Emmanuel Macron and the G7 (Germany, Canada, U.S., France, Italy, Japan and United Kingdom) to fight fires in the Amazon, claiming it was merely charity. Macron accused Bolsonaro of neglecting the protection of the rainforest and the Brazilian president refused any financial aid from France. He said he could change his mind if Macron backed down from his “insults” to Brazilian sovereignty with his suggestion that responsibility for the protection of the Amazon should be made international. “First, [Macron] backs down, then if he offers, I’ll reply,” Bolsonaro stated. The situation became heated after Bolsonaro commented on a social media post ridiculing the appearance of Macron’s wife. The French President commiserated with the Brazilian people and said he hoped Brazil will soon have a “president that behaves accordingly.” In the next few days, Bolsonaro will participate in a summit between the countries with rainforest in the Amazon to discuss how to preserve the forest and “sustainably exploit” the region. Read the analysis on the international deadlock at Brasília Report.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Dinheiro do G-7 para Amazônia é esmola, diz presidente
Valor Econômico: Bolsonaro terá reunião com países amazônicos
Folha de S.Paulo: Crise é disputa entre esquerda e direita, diz Bolsonaro
G1: Agronegócio acompanha caso com cautela
O Estado de S. Paulo: Brasil perde 89 milhões de hectares de mata, diz estudo

2. Federal Supreme Court overturns conviction of Car Wash defendant

The Federal Supreme Court overturned a conviction reached during Operation Car Wash by former judge and current Minister of Justice Sergio Moro. This is the first time a ruling by Moro has been reversed. The Court annulled the trial of former Petrobras and Banco do Brasil President Aldemir Bendine by three votes to one. He had been convicted to 11 years in prison for money laundering and corruption. The court understood that the defendant’s right to a defense was limited, as he should have presented a final statement after a plea deal was made. The Federal Justice will have to offer a new trial. According to legal specialists, the decision could be extended to other convictions. The defense team of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has already submitted an appeal. Prosecutors have released a statement saying that they are “immensely worried” because if the decision is applied to other cases then it could “essentially cancel every conviction.”

Folha de S.Paulo: Pela primeira vez, STF anula condenação dada por Moro
O Globo: Decisão divide opiniões no plenário do STF
O Estado de S.Paulo: Para criminalistas, caso é divisor de águas na Lava Jato

3. Bolsonaro’s disapproval rate goes up after six months in government

A poll reveals that disapproval of Jair Bolsonaro’s administration increased sharply over the last six months. According to the poll by Instituto MDA, in partnership with the National Transport Confederation, 39.5% of Brazilians see the government as bad or terrible. In February, this same percentage stood at 19%. People who consider the administration to be good or great represent 29.4% of the population while 29.1% see it as neutral. Disapproval for Bolsonaro personally has also increased to 53.7% from 28% at the beginning of the year. When polled on campaign promises, 9.5% stated they were very satisfied with what has been done so far and 45.4% said they were partially satisfied. According to the 2,002 people interviewed, 39.1% saw easing gun laws as a motive for disapproval, while 30.6% cited his constant use of offensive words and inappropriate comments.

Folha de S.Paulo: Reprovação a Bolsonaro aumenta, segundo pesquisa

4. In the second quarter of the year, the economy grows above expectations

Brazil’s GDP grew 0.4% in the second quarter of this year, doubling expectations by market analysts. Among the reasons for the increase are results from the construction sector, which reported 2% growth – its first positive figure since Q1 2014. Even with the positive result, the Brazilian economy is considered to be stagnant. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) – responsible for developing the index – the economy is still 4.8% below the peak that was registered in Q1 2014. According to the Ministry of Economy, the results reveal that the administration has the correct strategy, but the situation is still challenging due to the international economy, tax adjustments and the Brazilian economy’s low productivity. The situation in Argentina is also worrisome for the administration, as its southern neighbor is the fourth largest market for Brazilian products.

Valor Econômico: PIB cresce mais que o esperado, mas retomada é gradual
O Estado de S. Paulo: PIB sobre 0,4% e fica acima do esperado
Valor Econômico: Governo diz que resultado mostra estratégia acertada

5. 48% of Brazil’s low-income population have access to internet

A study by (The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee) reveals that nearly half of the country’s low-income population counts with internet access. This figure shows a marked uptick since 2015 when 30% of people from this demographic had internet access. Most internet use is for apps like WhatsApp and Facebook, indicating that there is still a lot of untapped potential among this portion of the population. Among this same demographic, 85% of people only accessed the internet through their phones, 2% only through a computer and 13% through a mobile device and a computer. When taking into consideration all socioeconomic levels, 70% of Brazilians use the internet.

Folha de S.Paulo: Wi-fi leva metade da população mais pobre à internet

Brasilia Report

Click here for the Brasilia Report, a weekly analysis prepared by JeffreyGroup Senior Advisor in Brasilia, Gustavo Krieger.