Category Archives: Brazil

Canadian Politics

‘Not only illegal, it’s irresponsible’: Mulcair says alleged spying on Brazil a ‘black eye’ for Canada

Canadian Press and Reuters | 09/10/13 | Last Updated: 09/10/13 4:35 PM ET

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says apparent efforts to spy on Brazil give Canada a black eye.

Speaking at a news conference, Mulcair calls the reported attempt by Canada’s electronic eavesdropping agency to monitor Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy “a huge mistake.”

A Brazilian television report said the metadata — or indexing details — of phone calls and emails from and to the ministry were targeted by the Ottawa-based Communications Security Establishment Canada to map the ministry’s communications.

“Actively spying on ministries and companies in other countries to give an advantage to Canadian companies is not only illegal, it’s irresponsible, and it gives Canada a black eye in the world,” Mulcair told a news conference.

“The Conservatives have simply shown that they have no ethical boundaries of any kind … this a huge mistake,” he added, saying there was clear evidence CSEC had been complicit in industrial espionage.

R7 – Denúncias de espionagem canadense contra o Brasil podem afetar relações comerciais de R$ 15 bilhões

Mercado brasileiro é considerado prioritário pelas autoridades e empresas canadenses

As novas denúncias de espionagem reveladas pelo jornalista Glenn Greenwald, no último domingo (6), poderão afetar a relação bilateral entre o Brasil e o Canadá colocando em risco um histórico de parcerias diplomáticas e o crescimento no comércio dos dois países que movimenta cerca de 15 bilhões de reais anualmente.

Até o último fim de semana, o Brasil e o Canadá desfrutavam de um ambiente bilateral muito positivo. No campo político, ambos são parceiros em diversos temas envolvendo direitos humanos e atuam lado a lado no Haiti pela MINUSTAH (Missão das Nações Unidas para a estabilização no Haiti).

No campo econômico a relação teve um crescimento vertiginoso nos últimos dez anos e conforme mencionado pelo próprio governo canadense o Brasil é um parceiro estratégico para os negócios do país.

Chanceler brasileiro convoca embaixador canadense para exigir explicações sobre espionagem de ministério

Canadá mantém silêncio sobre denúncias de espionagem feitas pelo Brasil

De acordo com o relatório oficial do Canadá, o setor de mineração é um dos principais focos para as empresas do país. Segundo dados oficiais, em 2009, 75% das grandes mineradoras mundiais tinham suas sedes em território canadense.

O Canadá é um dos maiores investidores em mineração no Brasil, onde foram instaladas 55 empresas brasileiras país dedicadas à exploração, 45 de equipamentos e 20 de serviços relacionados com o setor, segundo dados oficiais do país americano.

O Brasil é o maior produtor mundial de nióbio, o segundo de ferro, manganês, tantalita, e o terceiro de bauxita, segundo dados do Ibram (Instituto Brasileiro de Mineração).

Além disso, é um importante produtor de ouro, níquel, magnésio, caulim e estanho, entre outros minerais, setor cuja regulação e cujas concessões dependem do Ministério de Minas e Energia.

Em 2012, o Canadá foi um dos principais investidores no Brasil com um total de R$ 35 bilhões (16 bilhões de dólares) acumulados aplicados na economia tupiniquim.

Resposta brasileira para espionagem na internet pode prejudicar o País

Secretário diz que espionagem não afetará leilões

Conforme divulgado pelo Departamento responsável pelo comércio exterior canadense, desde 2000, houve um crescimento de 90% nas exportações do país aos brasileiros.

Atualmente, o Brasil é o 11º parceiro comercial do Canadá e o volume total de trocas está em torno dos 15 bilhões de reais — dividido em aproximadamente R$ 9 bilhões de vendas brasileiras e R$ 6 bilhões de exportações canadenses.

No dia 1º deste mês, o Banco central do Canadá destacou o crescimento do comércio internacional e também destacou o bom desempenho de seus empreendedores nos mercados emergentes. O relatório da instituição alegou que os dois principais destinos das empresas e produtos canadenses eram o Brasil e a China.

Em 2011, durante a visita oficial do primeiro-ministro do Canadá, Stephen Harpe, ao Brasil, os dois países assinaram diversos acordos e criaram um grupo de diálogo permanente para incrementar as relações. No início de agosto deste ano, o ex-ministro das relações exteriores Antonio Patriota e seu congênere canadense John Baird anunciaram novos entendimentos no Rio de Janeiro e reafirmaram todo o “entusiasmo” envolvendo a relação bilateral.

Segundo a reportagem do Fantástico divulgada no domingo, a NSA colaborou com o Centro de Segurança das Telecomunicações do Canadá para obter dados das ligações telefônicas e do fluxo de e-mails do Ministério de Minas e Energia do Brasil.

A presidente Dilma Rousseff postou na segunda-feira (7) no Twitter que “tudo indica” que os governos dos Estados Unidos, Canadá, Reino Unido, Austrália e Nova Zelândia, além de “milhares de empresas” desses cinco países, têm “amplo acesso” aos dados espionados no Brasil.

“É urgente que os Estados Unidos e seus aliados fechem suas ações de espionagem de uma vez por todas”, afirmou Dilma, quem sustentou que as novas denúncias “confirmam” que a espionagem obedece a “razões econômicas e estratégicas”.

Segundo Dilma, há indícios de “interesses canadenses na área de mineração” no Brasil, o que agrava a situação.

“A espionagem atenta contra a soberania das nações e a privacidade das pessoas e das empresas”, afirmou a governante, que também disse ter determinado que o Ministério de Minas e Energia realize uma “rigorosa avaliação e reforço” da segurança de suas redes.

“Repudiamos a guerra cibernética”, acrescentou Dilma, que no mês passado denunciou a espionagem americana na Assembleia Geral da ONU, diante da qual definiu essas práticas como uma “violação” da soberania de seu país, “uma afronta” e “uma falta de respeito” que não pode se justificar na luta contra o terrorismo.

CBC News – Why would Canada spy on Brazil mining and energy officials?

Department of Mining and Energy is tasked with auctioning rights to develop Libra Oil Field

By James Fitz-Morris, CBC News Posted: Oct 09, 2013 2:23 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 09, 2013 8:03 PM ET

It’s likely we will never know exactly what Canadian spies were allegedly doing snooping around in Brazil’s Ministry of Mining and Energy computers on behalf of the so-called Five Eyes — an intelligence alliance between the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

But examining some of the happenings in the South American country’s natural resources department in the last few years might provide a few clues.

In 2007, Brazil announced it had discovered the largest oil patch to date on its territory.

The Libra Oil Field is estimated to contain between eight billion and 10 billion barrels of oil. That’s enough to keep oil platforms busy for 100 years and make it the largest known deposit outside of OPEC countries.

It’s a big deal.

Brazil decided its largest energy company — Petrobas — likely needs help to properly exploit the resource, so it has proceeded with a plan to auction off the rights.

The Department of Mining and Energy is in charge of the auction.

Contract fails to attract many companies

With an oil deposit this large, Brazil was expecting about 40 companies from around the globe to take a shot at landing the contract.

But when registration closed on Sept. 19, only 11 companies had signed up and paid the deposit of 2.1-million real (the Brazilian currency, or almost $1 million).

The largest of those were Chinese companies — including CNOOC and Sinopec — and Malaysia’s Petronas. Canadians may be familiar with these companies because all have made moves to invest in Canada’s energy sector in recent years.

What had market analysts scratching their heads when registration closed, though, was the companies that didn’t apply: Exxon, Chevron, BP — some of the world’s largest petroleum producers took a pass on the project.

Why?

When contacted, the companies said they wouldn’t publicly discuss their business decision-making process.

So, we are left wondering why not one energy company based in the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand or Australia is participating in an auction for what is billed as the largest oil find in 40 years.

And how they got the information on which they based their decision.

We do know that Canadian energy sector stakeholders regularly meet with Canadian government officials to discuss security and threats to the energy infrastructure.

The classified briefings take place every six months at the offices of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and are attended by representatives of many government agencies including CSIS, RCMP and CSEC.

The stated purpose of the meetings is “to discuss national security, criminal intelligence, threat risk assessment and to share energy-related classified intelligence.”

One of the briefings’ chief organizers has said publicly that the get-togethers also provide an opportunity for energy stakeholders to develop relationships with other participants and have “off the record” conversations with them.

The condition being: they tell no one where they obtained their information.

NYT – From Jungle, Brazil Aims to Extend Its Reach

By 

Published: May 6, 2013

MARECHAL RONDON BASE, Brazil — Maj. José Maria Ferreira smiled as he listed the threats to human survival in the canopied jungle enveloping this remote military outpost in the Brazilian Amazon.

He started with the piranhas, which lurk in rivers, and the pit vipers like the feared bushmaster, the Western Hemisphere’s longest venomous snake. Then he moved on to the silent creatures, including the formiga-cabo-verde, called the bullet ant in English and found in colonies at the base of trees. Its sting, according to victims,hurts about as much as being shotand lasts for a good 24 hours.

Widening his grin, Major Ferreira then describedleishmaniasis, the flesh-eating disease caused by sand-fly bites, the mosquito-borne fevers like malaria and dengue and, finally, rhabdomyolysis, a condition brought on by extremely strenuous exercise. It leads to kidney damage and the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue; victims can identify its onset when their urine turns dark brown.

“We get concerned when that happens,” said Major Ferreira, 42, the spokesman for Brazil’s Jungle Warfare Instruction Center, which ranks among the most demanding institutions of its kind in the tropics. “That brown coloring means 90 percent chance of death.”

Strangely enough, dozens of soldiers from elite Brazilian military units, as well as members of special operations forces from around the world, vie each year for coveted spots in the courses at the center, which is emerging as a cornerstone of Brazil’s ambition to spread its influence into parts of the developing world, especially in Latin America and Africa.

In courses lasting about nine weeks, instructors submit soldiers to an array of punishing tasks. The soldiers must endure long hikes through the jungle, swim in waters infested with caiman and piranha and survive for several days without rations, hunting or foraging for their own food.

Instructors also deprive soldiers of sleep, roaring insults at them when they show signs of fatigue, and force them to engage in hand-to-hand combat with one another. Throughout it all, soldiers rest (when permitted) in hammocks pitched on trees deep in the forest, where they are often soaked by heavy rains or bedeviled by the ear-piercing groans of howler monkeys.

“It has been a very, very hard and tiring experience,” said Lt. Djibil Toure, 26, one of four junior officers from a special operations unit in Senegal’s army sent to take part in the course this year.

The Senegalese contingent dropped out after failing a test in which participants must tread water in full gear, carrying backpacks and a rifle that together weigh more than 100 pounds. But they remained here as observers because Brazil has agreed to help Senegal’s army improve its jungle warfare abilities.

After the course ends, Lieutenant Toure said, Brazilian military advisers plan to travel to Senegal, where his unit is involved in combating a slow-burning insurgency, the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance.

For Brazil, the opportunity to train African soldiers will help lift its profile on the other side of the Atlantic at a time when trade is surging between Brazil and African countries. In addition to Senegal, Angola has begun sending soldiers to the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center, commonly called CIGS, the acronym of its name in Portuguese.

Brazil has also made the courses here available to countries in its own hemisphere, with Argentina, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname sending participants. Even France, which maintains troops in French Guiana, an overseas region that shares a border in the Amazon with Brazil, and the United States occasionally send soldiers for training.

CIGS originated in 1964 after a Brazilian officer, who attended a similar course once operated by the United States Army in Panama, sought to create an instruction center tailored to the conditions of the Brazilian rain forest.

Some of the innovations here include replacing mules and horses with Asian water buffalos, which were introduced decades ago to the Amazon River Basin and have adapted well to the rain forest, and providing soldiers who complete the course with a combat knife developed for the center.

Training a military force that will allow Brazil to assert its sovereignty over the Amazon region, about 60 percent of which is in Brazil and which is urbanizing at a rapid pace, remains the center’s top priority. The program focuses on the challenges posed by cocaine trafficking, illegal deforestation, the unauthorized mining of gold and diamonds, and the threat of incursions by guerrillas from Colombia briefly seeking a haven.

More broadly, the Jungle Warfare Instruction Center also supports Brazil’s efforts to raise its military profile by taking a more active role in United Nations missions, like the one in Haiti and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, while also repositioning the armed forces after a long stretch of military rule, from 1964 to 1985, when soldiers were implicated in human rights abuses.

The task of preparing soldiers here for missions in Brazil or abroad is largely left up to Lt. Col. Mário Augusto Coimbra, the chief instructor at the jungle warfare center. Colonel Coimbra, a self-described connoisseur of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, recently spent a vacation in Texas hunting feral hogs and displays a collection of combat knives, particularly Nepalese kukris, in his office.

“Rambo couldn’t finish this course,” said Colonel Coimbra, 44, a stocky man whose cellphone ringtone whirls like a helicopter taking off. “It’s because he’s an individualist; to truly survive in the jungle you need to be a team.”

Still, even the teams formed during the course inevitably get whittled down. Of 100 participants who began the course this year, just 53 were left at the midway point. Doctors and psychologists constantly monitor the soldiers, requesting their removal if they appear too fatigued or sick. The last fatality was in 2008, when a soldier fainted while swimming.

In addition to the Senegalese officers, soldiers from Guatemala, Ecuador and France took part in this year’s course. On a recent afternoon, many of the participants looked gaunt, with bags under the eyes, as they were ordered to run in formation under incessant rain. All of them had their name tags removed from their fatigues, and were assigned numbers by instructors.

No. 14, Lt. Caio Nicoli Calggario of Espírito Santo State in southeastern Brazil, looked exhausted when asked about the course. He said a low point came during the survival phase when some soldiers staved off hunger by eating the larvae found on the babassu coconut tree. “I slept 10 minutes last night,” he said, staring at the ground. “It’s hard to hunt when you’re tired.”

Click here for original article.

AS/CA – Brazil Wins Leadership of the World Trade Organization

Brazilian Roberto Azevêdo has been chosen over Mexican candidate Herminio Blanco as the newest director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 7. El Palenque, AnimalPolitico’s debate forum for experts, discusses the effects this win will have on Mexican diplomacy, Brazil’s role in trade liberalization, and the prominence of the BRICS on the world stage. Azevêdo will be the first Latin American to head the WTO.

Find original article here.

MercoPress – Brazil and Argentina agree to jointly build two nuclear research reactors

Friday, May 10th 2013

Atomic power agencies from Brazil and Argentina signed an agreement to build two nuclear reactors for research and production of radioisotopes, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT).

The agreement, signed by the Brazilian National Commission for Nuclear Energy (CNEN) and the National Commission of Atomic Energy (CNEA), is centred on the construction of two reactors: the Brazilian Multipurpose Research Reactor (RMB) and the RA-10 in Argentina, said a spokesman from the MCT.

The action meets the Bilateral Integration and Coordination Mechanism, established in the Joint Declaration of 2008 and signed by President Cristina Fernandez and Brazil’s former president Lula Da Silva, said the source.

To carry out the project, both sides created the Bi-National Commission on Nuclear Energy (COBEN) which will be in charge of the construction of both reactors.

The atomic agencies of the two countries have closely collaborated since 2008. Argentina provides Brazil 30% of the Molybdenum 99 (Mo99) radioisotopes which are indispensable in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Since 2011 both countries agreed to move forward on greater integration, and carry out a joint project to develop multipurpose reactors, demonstrating the mutual interest in increasing the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Both reactors, once manufactured and functioning, will have a total capacity to cover 40% of the world radioisotope market. At present only France, Canada, South Africa, Australia and Argentina have the technology to produce radioisotopes.

FP – Ten Questions for the New BRICS Bank

The great emerging markets want to start their own bank. But it doesn’t seem like they’ve really thought it through.

BY ISOBEL COLEMAN | APRIL 9, 2013

 

The recent BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa concluded with its first tangible outcome since the countries began meeting formally five years ago: The commitment to create a new BRICS development bank. What more do we know about this ambitious project? Not much. So below are ten questions to consider as the bank takes shape.

1. Is the BRICS Development Bank a done deal?

Not necessarily. The joint statement from the BRICS leaders announcing that they “have agreed to establish the New Development Bank” sounded pretty definite, but then there seemed to be some hedging going on too. President of South Africa Jacob Zuma struck a cautious note, saying only that “…we have decided to enter formal negotiations” on the BRICS bank, while Russian officials muttered about the devil being in the details. Newspaper headlines reflected the ambiguity, with the Financial Times declaring “BRICS agree to create development bank [sic],” while on the same day, Voice of America led with the more cautious “BRICS Summit Ends Without Development Bank Deal.” Obviously, there’s still a lot of work to do and a lot can happen.

2. Do the BRICS have enough in common to sustain a shared institution?

Maybe. Maybe not. Some lack of consensus is undoubtedly behind the hedging. The BRICS encompass very different political systems — from thriving democracy in Brazil to entrenched oligarchy in Russia — and their economies are little integrated, inherently competitive, and are different in size by orders of magnitude. In 2011, China’s GDP was over $7.3 trillion, about eighteen times larger than South Africa’s economy, the smallest of the BRICS, and three times larger than Brazil’s economy, the second biggest of the BRICS. It’s also unclear to what extent the BRICS share a vision with respect to economic development, other than not being “the West.” Still, while such differences create challenges, success is not impossible.  Remember, the economy of the United States dwarfed those of its allies when it created the Bretton Woods institutions in the postwar years. And there was no lack of disagreement about the postwar order among the European powers and Washington, but somehow the Bretton Woods system survived.

3. What will the new development bank focus on?

Infrastructure, it seems. The BRICS themselves have an estimated $4.5 trillion in infrastructure needs over the next five years, and coincidently, have about the same amount in foreign exchange reserves. A safe bet is that the new BRICS bank won’t be doing the governance and democratization work that is popular at the World Bank these days, such as the “open data” project to make information about international development easily accessible to anyone. It is similarly difficult to imagine that the BRICS, which are not known for their transparency, would share the World Bank’s enthusiasm for anticorruption efforts.

4. Will developing countries welcome the BRICS development bank?

Probably. China is known for extending loans and resources without conditionality around touchy subjects like governance, and if the BRICS development bank follows suit, it’s hard to imagine many countries saying no to easy money. Still, there’s likely to be some skepticism, in no small part because of China’s inevitably outsized role in the new bank and also because of the mixed reviews China gets from its global south trading partners. Across Africa, various leaders have criticized China’s export of labor to the continent, and bemoaned the onslaught of cheap Chinese manufactured goods that undercut local production. In a particularly pointed criticism, Nigeria’s central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, lambasted China as “a significant contributor to Africa’s de-industrialization and under-development.”  Nevertheless, if the BRICS bank offers economic assistance, most countries are likely to be interested. Money talks, and can even produce changes of heart. Look at the turnaround in attitude of Zambian president Michael Sata, who went from making scathing comments about China in 2006 to encouraging Chinese investment in his country in 2011.

5. Will the Bank be dominated by China?

Pretty likely, given China’s relative economic weight. And that prospect is unlikely to delight the other BRICS. Some speculate that South Africa wants to host the bank and that an African seat for the bank could be one way to reduce China’s influence. But that’s wishful thinking. Even if the bank is physically located on another continent, China will hold the purse strings, and with that comes privilege. Look how the United States, nearly seventy years after the creation of the World Bank, still gets to pick the institution’s president.

6. How will the bank be capitalized?

Not clear. There is talk of each country putting in $10 billion for an out-of-the-gate capitalization of$50 billion. But $10 billion would be an enormous commitment for South Africa. Presumably the other countries — notably China — would have to lend South Africa the money to meet its share. And this gets tricky quickly. China lending South Africa money to lend to Mozambique? In any event, $50 billion doesn’t go very far in the world of global economic development. The World Bankcommitted $52.6 billion in “loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees” in 2012 alone.

7. What currency will the new bank use?

Very possibly the Yuan. China will no doubt want to make loans denominated in yuans, a borrowing option it extended to other BRICS countries in 2012. It has already pushed for lending in its own currency to protect it against currency risk in Africa’s enticing but volatile emerging markets. But making the Yuan the currency of the new development bank might only deepen unease about China’s outsized role.

8. Aren’t the BRICS “doing development” already?

Yes, a lot of it, by some measures, which is surprising given the high levels of poverty that persist across the BRICS. China is the big player; in recent years, it has substantially grown its activities abroad, particularly in Africa.  However, traditional metrics of development aid are difficult, if not impossible, to apply to what China is doing, and estimates of its aid vary hugely, from $1.5 billion to $25 billion. Brazil is also emerging as a more active donor, giving more than $1 billion in various forms of aid to more to sixty-five countries in 2012. Russia, too, is a re-emerging as donor. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union competed with the United States for influence by giving away wads of cash and assistance — in 1986, it gave away a whopping $26 billion. But after the country fell apart in the 1990s, Russia became a net recipient of aid. Today, it is once again a donor, distributing $514 million in Official Development Assistance in 2011 (compared with around $5.3 billion from Canada and $30.7 billion from the United States). India is just beginning to establish itself as a foreign donor. In 2012, it collected its aid programs into the Development Partnership Administration, which has a five-year coffer of some $15 billion. South Africa, meanwhile, is supposed to put an aid agency into action in 2013. How a BRICS bank would interact with these unilateral efforts is not clear.

9. Do the BRICS already invest in each other?

Not much. In 2011, only 2.5 percent of FDI from BRICS countries went to other BRICS, whereas over 40 percent of their FDI went to developed countries. Presumably, one of the purposes of a BRICS development bank is to change this, but such a change would require a considerable shift in current priorities. Meanwhile, the World Bank has recent projects of some kind or another in all the BRICS countries, such as financing for sustainable rural development in Brazil.

10. Will a new development bank pose a challenge to the World Bank?

Perhaps. It is certainly intended by its creators as an alternative to the World Bank, although it’s still a long way from meeting that challenge. Comments from BRICS leaders don’t do much to hide a sense of schadenfreude over the declining economic circumstances of the West versus the rising fortunes of their own countries, and a deepening level of frustration that the rules of the game have not changed to reflect that reality. “We still have a situation where certain parts of the world are over-represented,” declared South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Despite years of promises to give the global South more say in both the IMF and the World Bank, no big structural changes have happened. And stagnating aid budgets among OECD countries only create more openings for the BRICS. So if a BRICS bank does emerge as a challenge, the West has no one to blame but itself.