15/04/16

DILMA FACES IMPEACHMENT VOTE IN BRAZIL, MORE ON THE BNDES AND ROSA BOOK LAUNCH

Dear LAB Supporter and Friend,

The big news in Latin America this month comes from Brazil, with the political fate of President Dilma Rousseff hanging in the balance. Her impeachment, which even as little as a year ago seemed outlandish, is now looking increasingly likely.

We have plenty of analysis of the crisis in Brazil; the rest of Sue Branford’s series of articles on the BNDES; the second part of her series of blog pieces from Pará in the Brazilian Amazon; more on LAB’s latest book launch as well as news from Mexico and Bolivia.

DILMA STARES INTO THE ABYSS

Having lost a vote on Monday at the special congressional committee for impeachment, Dilma’s fate now depends on a vote at a plenary session of Congress on Sunday. In two articles, one published before Monday’s vote, one afterwards, Jan Rocha reports on the rapidly unfolding events from Brazil, analysing the PT’s frantic last-ditch attempts to block impeachment as well as the complex and highly dubious political machinations going on behind the campaign to remove the President.

A DUMMIES’ GUIDE TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS

With events in Brazil moving at bewildering speed, and many of the figures and institutions involved having no clear equivalent in Anglo-Saxon legal and political parlance, the country’s constitutional crisis may seem baffling and impenetrable to non-Brazilians. David Lehmann offers a succinct analysis of the roles of the government and the judiciary, the campaign to impeach the President, and the corruption scandals that have plagued the country in recent years. (Read more…)

THE GOOSE THAT LAYS THE GOLDEN EGGS: PARTS 3, 4, 5 AND 6

The rest of Sue Branford’s six-part series of articles on Brazil’s National Social and Economic Development Bank (BNDES) is now online. In Part 3, Sue looks at so-called “Four Sisters”: Brazil’s four biggest construction firms, their chequered history and their relationship with the BNDES; in Part 4, she analyses the role of the BNDES in the construction of the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam and in Part 5, she looks at similar projects financed by the BNDES elsewhere in the Amazon basin and in the Andes. In Part 6, Sue interviews the bank, which provided lengthy responses to her questions.

RIVERSIDE COMMUNITY UNDER THREAT IN PARÁ

In the second part of her series of blog piece from the Brazilian Amazon, Sue Branford reports from Terra do Meio, in Pará, where a small group of beiradeiros (riverside dwellers) are hanging on to their land despite threats from Kayapó Indians, grileiros (land thieves) and even the Biodiversity Conservation Institute which protects their land. However, the local public prosecutor is sympathetic to their plight and has commissioned a study on their impact on the local environment. If the findings are positive, she will request that the courts allow them to stay. (Read more…)

BOOK LAUNCH: ROSA OF THE WILD GRASS

Today sees the launch of Rosa of the Wild Grass, written and illustrated by Fiona Macintosh. This is the true story of Rosa, and her fight for survival through decades of dictatorship, war and political turbulence in Nicaragua. She also had to overcome barriers common to many women from impoverished backgrounds: she was denied the chance to finish her education, became a mother young and had to cope with the alcoholism of her partner. Rosa is an inspiring story of courage and resilience and is now available in paperback and e-book format from the Development Bookshop. (Read more…)

IN OTHER NEWS

Mexico: Relatives of the 43 students who disappeared in the state of Guerrero in September 2014 are threatening to pull out of talks with the government, claiming that the Attorney General’s Office is attempting to stonewall the investigation. (Read more…)

Bolivia: Evo Morales suffered a setback in February when Bolivians narrowly rejected his attempt to amend the rule limiting him to two consecutive presidential terms. Coromoto Power Febres assesses what effect this will have on Morales and his Movement Towards Socialism (MAS). (Read more…)

With best wishes,

The LAB team