Forest Stumps

An Activist’s Bulletproof Vest May
Save Neither Her Nor the Amazon

‘They’re going to kill me.’ Nilcilene Miguel de Lima, who heads a group of small producers deep in Brazil’s Amazonas State, sounds pragmatic when speaking about how she expects her life to end. Given Brazil’s sad record protecting the lives of activists in the region, her words have a sobering, prophetic ring to them. She also sounds undaunted, despite the already many attempts on her life.
Wearing a bullefproof vest 24/7 and having a personal security detail, Nilce’s determined to defend the people of her village, Lábrea. She’ll need lots of luck, better than many like Chico Mendes, the legendary rubber-tapper leader born in Acre State like her and assassinated in 1988, and environmentalists João Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and wife Maria do Espírito Santo, ambushed and killed a year ago next May.
Those who contracted their killers remain for the most part at large. Along with the world’s greatest flora and fauna diversity and its largest rainforest, the Amazon is littered with the bodies of many who stood up to illegal loggers, land grabbers, big landowners and drug traffickers. So the odds are not particularly stacked on her favor.
Neither they are on the side of preservationists and those who advocate for the estimated 20 million people who make the jungle their homes, Continue reading

EconoView

Brazil & Mexico,
a Bipolar Outlook

Brazil and Mexico, Latin America’s largest economies, tend to polarize investors’ perception about the region. Economic growth has alternated between the two countries in the past decades. After a period of prosperity in Brazil, the pendulum now seems to swing towards Mexico.
The Brazilian American Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce brought together a panel of economists to discuss commonalities and distinctions between the two regional powerhouses. Thomsom Reuters co-sponsored the event.
Speakers included Nomura’s Latin American strategist Benito Berber, NWI Management’s Hari Hariharan, Mauro Leos, Moody’s Credit Officer for Latin America, and Tony Volpon, Nomura’s head of Emerging Markets Research. Tandem Global Partners’ Paulo Vieira da Cunha moderated the panel.
Geographically and culturally, Brazil and Mexico couldn’t stand farther apart, a condition that may date as far back as their past as colonies of Portugal and Spain, which also determined the fundamental distinction between the two countries: their different languages, Portuguese and Spanish.
But even long before the influence of Portugal and Spain over them had faded, both nations remained identified with each other. If at first, such Continue reading

New Continuity Leader

Dilma Rousseff Becomes First

Woman to Preside Over Brazil

There was no spooky surprise and 190 million Brazilians elected President Lula da Silva’s protegee from the Workers’ Party, Dilma Rousseff, as the country’s first female president, in today’s runnoff. She won with an estimated 56% of the votes, beating Social Democrat José Serra without the endorsement of Green Party’s Marina Silva, who came in third place in the first round, a month ago.

A VOTE SEEN AS ENDORSEMENT OF

LULA AND SUPPORT FOR HIS POLICIES

Rousseff, a first generation Brazilian who survived cancer, and a Continue reading