Eduardo Bolsonaro

Good morning! President Jair Bolsonaro set to name his son, Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, Brazil’s ambassador to Washington D.C. Changes to pension reform approved by the House. A security breach in the president’s office. The botched deal to create a meat behemoth.


Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro to be named Brazil’s ambassador to Washington

President Jair Bolsonaro has confirmed he has selected his son Eduardo to man the most important position in Brazilian diplomacy: serving as ambassador to the U.S. The pick underscores the prominent role played by the president&#8217;s family in government and his distaste for protocol. Due to the office&#8217;s importance, it has traditionally been occupied by seasoned diplomats only—with the last pick from outside the Foreign Affairs Ministry&#8217;s ranks coming in 1966.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Eduardo Bolsonaro is in his second term as congressman, and in 2018 was the candidate to receive the most votes in history, amassing over 1.8m votes in São Paulo. The youngest of the three Bolsonaro brothers in public office, Eduardo has had his father&#8217;s ear in international affairs; in fact, he has a higher profile than the current foreign minister, Ernesto Araújo. A similar level of prominence by a member of the lower house in Brazilian diplomacy is unprecedented.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His unofficial diplomatic career kicked off with meetings held with leaders of the world&#8217;s far right, including former White House advisor Steve Bannon, Italy&#8217;s Matteo Salvini and Hungary&#8217;s Viktor Orbán. Eduardo Bolsonaro&#8217;s laundry list of inflammatory statements includes defending an invasion of Venezuela and saying Brazil should have nuclear weapons.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Brazilian embassy in Washington has been vacant since April, when Sergio Amaral was removed from his position. One factor that might explain why it took so long for Mr. Bolsonaro to make his pick is that Eduardo only turned 35 on July 10—the minimum age to serve as a Brazilian ambassador.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The pick could expose the administration to significant political risk. Even leaving accusations of nepotism aside, there is the fact that every ambassador must be confirmed by the Senate. If Eduardo Bolsonaro is blocked, it would be a personal defeat for the president.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper:</b> <a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/05/17/eduardo-bolsonaro-brazil-diplomacy/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazil’s </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">de facto</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Foreign Minister</span></a></li> <li><b>Also: </b><a href="https://brazilian.report/podcast-brazil/2019/03/20/jair-bolsonaro-donald-trump/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Podcast—When Jair met Donald</span></a></li> <li><b>And: </b><a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/02/25/bolsonaro-brothers-government/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Keeping up with the Bolsonaros</span></a></li> </ul> <hr> <h2>Pension reform: few deals, too much lobbying</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The overwhelming vote in favor of the core text of the pension reform on Wednesday may have given its backers a false sense of momentum. Less than 24 hours later, the House began voting on proposals to change (and essentially water down) the bill. Each individual vote demanded enormous negotiating efforts—and deals became tougher and tougher to strike.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the end, the organized lobbies were successful—with the help of the president himself—and law enforcement agents won lighter retirement rules, including a lower age of retirement. Men were also given the right to a pension after a minimum of 15 years of work, instead of 20. On the flip side, lawmakers approved an amendment allowing for pensions below the minimum wage—which would have a very negative social impact in a country as unequal as Brazil.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The vote resumes <a href="https://g1.globo.com/politica/noticia/2019/07/12/camara-inicia-4o-dia-de-analise-da-pec-da-previdencia-entenda-maratona-para-aprovar-texto.ghtml">today</a> at 9 am. Meanwhile, the government is resorting to the old horse-trading politics, financing Congress-sponsored projects and approving to government positions names picked by lawmakers.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper: </b><a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/07/11/pension-reform-rodrigo-maia-power-brokers/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pension reform places Rodrigo Maia as one of Brazil’s main power brokers</span></a></li> </ul> <hr> <h2>Wire-tapping the president?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Weekly magazine </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Veja</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has reported this morning that President Jair Bolsonaro has been exposed to a security breach. A meeting in the president&#8217;s office with cabinet members and businessmen was secretly recorded. In the taped conversations, &#8220;there are embarrassing lines by [Mr.] Bolsonaro&#8217;s aides—but not from the president himself.&#8221;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This new security breach comes while the government&#8217;s most popular cabinet member, Justice Minister Sergio Moro, battles leaks of private conversations he had while serving as a federal judge. The text logs show Mr. Moro failed to act as an impartial umpire in many cases, operating instead as a lead prosecutor.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Bolsonaro&#8217;s predecessor, Michel Temer, was also wire-tapped in two cases. One, during a conversation with then-Culture Minister Marcelo Calero—which exposed influence-peddling by an ally of Mr. Temer&#8217;s—and another when businessman Joesley Batista recorded the then-president agreeing to the payment of hush money to a jailed former speaker—a case which almost brought down the administration.</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper: </b><a href="https://brazilian.report/newsletters/weekly-report/2019/06/15/sensitive-data-breaches-brazil/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brazilian authorities’ poor handling of sensitive data</span></a></li> </ul> <hr> <h2>Beef and chicken: not to be mixed</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One month after reaching an agreement to hold exclusive negotiations for a merger, meat giants BRF and Marfrig have decided not to go ahead, due to a lack of consensus around the governance of the new company, as per a statement presented to Brazil&#8217;s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM). Had the deal prospered, it would create a &#8220;multi-protein&#8221; (beef, poultry, pork) behemoth with a BRL 80bn turnover.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">BRF is the world&#8217;s leading poultry exporter, while Marfrig&#8217;s forte is beef. The merger would give BRF a foothold in the U.S. market, where Marfrig owns National Beef. Together, the duo would have been able to access new markets from a stronger position.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The deal was also expected to reduce both companies&#8217; debt levels—especially BRF, which has faced massive losses in the past two years. Upon taking office as CEO, Pedro Parente announced a restructuring plan, including massive divestments. However, results have been underwhelming. Mr. Parente&#8217;s tenure as head of BRF comes to an end next week, after which he will serve exclusively as chairman of the board.&nbsp;</span></p> <ul> <li><b>Go deeper: </b><a href="https://brazilian.report/money/2019/04/14/evolution-brazilian-beef-industry/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Brazilian beef industry in the 21st century</span></a></li> </ul> <hr> <h2>Also noteworthy</h2> <p><b>Trade.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Alongside Australia and Guatemala, Brazil has requested that the World Trade Organization establish a panel to resolve disputes over Indian sugar subsidies. Per the complaint, the Indian government has intensified subsidies, doubling minimum prices paid for sugarcane since the 2010/2011 harvest. The plaintiffs say the move has pushed sugar prices down.</span></p> <p><b>Musical chairs.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> São Paulo Governor João Doria—a man primarily concerned with his 2022 presidential bid—is trying to lure Congresswoman Tabata Amaral to his Social Democracy Party (PSDB). Ms. Amaral is one of the most popular rookie members of Congress, but has taken heat within her own party for having voted in favor of the pension reform. She has also suffered attacks from the Left, despite her generally critical posture towards the government. For Mr. Doria, the congresswoman would be a perfect face for the rebranding he wants to implement in his party.</span></p> <p><b>Odebrecht.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"> A judge has authorized creditors of the Odebrecht construction group to execute the company&#8217;s debts, taking shares of petrochemical subsidiary Braskem that were given as collateral. Braskem is Odebrecht&#8217;s crown jewel and losing shares of the company would be a major hit to the group, which has recently filed for court-supervised recovery (one step away from bankruptcy).

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BY Gustavo Ribeiro

An award-winning journalist with experience covering Brazilian politics and international affairs. His work has been featured across Brazilian and French media outlets.