May 10, 2019


1. Budget cuts for education affect universities and research

The Bolsonaro administration decided to suspend funding for masters and PhD research as of the month of May. The decision is part of a series of budget cuts to public education that will amount to a reduction of at least R$ 7.3 billion (USD $1.84 billion) of funding for both basic and higher education. The cuts do not affect ongoing benefits. Deans, professors, researchers and students at federal universities protested the decision and the opposition is organizing demonstrations against the policy. Earlier this week, Education Minister Abraham Weintraub went to the Senate to explain the decision denying the existence of cuts, framing it instead a freeze that can be reversed in the future, while adding that the entire country is making sacrifices. Weintraub is the second education minister to serve in Bolsonaro’s administration – also recommended for the job by Olavo de Carvalho, a philosopher who is seen as a “guru” for President Bolsonaro.

O Globo: Governo suspende bolsas de doutorado e mestrado
O Estado de S. Paulo: Oposição usará cortes para protestar contra Bolsonaro
Folha de S.Paulo: Presidente diz que corte na Educação não é ‘maldade

2. Majority support pension reform, but unaware of details

A recent poll revealed that 59% of Brazilians support the administration’s proposed pension reform – but only 36% are aware of the bill’s details. According to the pollster, 6% of people stated they knew the contents of the bill in depth, while 30% stated they were aware of only some key changes. The poll reveals that people with higher education and a monthly family income of over R$ 5,000 (USD $1,261) tend to view the changes as extremely necessary. When questioned about whether there should be a minimum age for retirement, 72% support the idea. However, when asked if they think that people should retire later in life because they live longer, 73% of people said “no”.

O Estado de S. Paulo: Brasileiros querem mudar aposentadoria, diz pesquisa
Valor Econômico: Pesquisa indica apoio popular à reforma da Previdência

3. Bolsonaro fulfills campaign promise to relax gun laws

Earlier this week, President Jair Bolsonaro fulfilled another campaign promise. The presidential decree – which can still be scrutinized by Congress before it becomes law – authorizes working politicians, judges, truckers and even journalists covering crime stories to carry guns and ammunition both at home and at work. The decree also allows minors to attend shooting lessons without the need for authorization from the Justice Department and allows civilians to carry lethal weapons that were previously restricted for use by the armed forces and security agents. According to a poll by Datafolha from December 2018, 61% of people are against allowing people to carry firearms.

Folha de S.Paulo: Bolsonaro libera uso de armas e facilita acesso a aulas de tiro
O Estado de S. Paulo: Decreto facilita acesso e uso de armas por civis

4. U.S. government supports inclusion of Brazil into OECD and NATO

Two public statements made by the U.S. government opened the doors for Brazil to be accepted as a new member country of the OEC and as amajor non-NATO ally.” On Twitter, Assistant U.S. Secretary of StateKimberly Breier said the White House “welcomes Brazil’s economic reforms and best practices” according to OECD standards. The statement was made following rumors that the U.S. had not made this endorsement official after President Donald Trump had promised Jair Bolsonaro his support. Trump also notified Congress of his intent to designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally, which will increase defense cooperation between member countries. 

O Globo: EUA oficializam apoio à entrada do Brasil na OCDE e na Otan
Revista Veja: Trump dá primeiro passo para Brasil ser aliado externo da Otan
Folha de S.Paulo: Apoio dos EUA é muito claro, diz governo Bolsonaro[SC1]

5. Supreme Court advocates for a free market and supports ridesharing apps

The Federal Supreme Court ruled that laws banning the use of ridesharing apps for public transport as unconstitutional. The decision allows for the use of the apps nationwide. Justices decided unanimously that calling for a car through an app, even if it is not a taxi, doesn’t affect the market of taxis. It is therefore illegal to keep other apps from entering the free market. Justices have yet to decide on some details of the issue, such as a public register of drivers as well as the tools local governments will have at their disposal to implement oversight and establish rules and regulations without banning competitors. Justices will also decide if cars from ridesharing apps will be able to circulate in any town, no matter the town in which they are registered.

O Globo: Supremo valida aplicativos de transporte individual
UOL: Decisão do STF autoriza aplicativos de mobilidade