Brazil: “Dynastic Succession Struggle at TV Bahia”

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PROJOR study: “Electronic Coronelismo of a New Kind (1999-2004): Broadcast licenses as medium of exchange in political bargaining.” Thorough.

Briga dos Magalhães atinge renovação de emissora: “Strife among the Magalhães clan affects renovation of broadcast concession.” Terra Magazine reports.

One of the more interesting stories to watch here in Brazil is the phenomenon known as “electronic coronelismo.”As the Colombian newspaper owner once said:

“Newspapers are like revolvers: You keep them around so you can pull them out when it’s time to open fire.” — Julio Mario Santo Domingo (El Espectador)

It’s a lot like Rupert Murdochism, only far more crude, grotesque and retrograde  in its antidemocratic perniciousness.

When the late Antônio Carlos Magalhães was the Minister of Communications under President Sarney, he tended to hand out broadcast concessions as political party favors. A legendary episode in a legendary life.
TV Bahia, for example, a Rede Globo retransmitter, is owned and operated by lots of people named Magalhães, as you will read. See also

Residents of Maranhão and Amapá tend to get their news from outlets controlled, directly or indirectly, by people named Sarney. As in the father-and-daughter senators Sarney. And so on.

I was recently working on a pauta (roughly, a story “pitch”) about consultancies here that specialize in helping family-controlled businesses deal with the ways in which the Freudian family romance can interfere with rational business planning and management. This would seem to be a case in point.

A briga dos herdeiros do ex-senador Antonio Carlos Magalhães atinge seu segundo impasse. Depois da derrota do dono da construtora OAS, César Mata Pires (casado com Tereza Helena, filha de ACM), na disputa pelo controle da Rede Bahia, a ausência de rubricas e assinaturas tumultuam a renovação do sinal da emissora TV Santa Cruz, em Itabuna, uma das principais cidades do interior baiano.

The quarrel among heirs to the late ACM has reached a second impasse. After the defeat suffered by the owner of the OAS construction company, César Mata Pires (married to a daughter of the late senator, Tereza Helena), in the dispute for control of the Rede Bahia network, the absence of the proper stamps and signatures is throwing a monkey wrench into the renovation of the concession for TV Santa Cruz in Itabuna, one of the main cities in the interior of Bahia.

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From the PR Newswire: “Brazil Originates Derivatives”

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PR Newswire Brasil has not quite taken off yet — it has not yet signed up a critical mass of businesses to make the thing worth following with great attention — but the attempt to port the service down South America Way is interesting, and probably ought to catch on eventually.

I have actually met some folks trying to get it off the ground here, in combination with promoting a “culture of disclosure” for Brazilian businesses, and I can sincerely say: It seems like a good idea.

Here, at any rate, is an event that I will very likely try to attend, if they let me in. (There is a big venture capital event in Rio earlier in the month I also want to attend.)

A indústria brasileira de fundos de derivativos alcança o ponto de virada

Brazilian derivatives fund industry reaches a turning point.

I was just starting to get that impression myself, even if “turning point” — revolution, apocalypse — is the most frequently abused metaphor in postmodern PR.

This, even as an interesting commentary appeared the other day according to which the unevolved state of complex financial contracts here deserve credit for shielding Brazil from the effects of the subprime crisis.


BN003644 01 de abril de 2008 10:29 HORALOCAL

US$127 bls e crescendo

US$127 billion and growing

NOVA YORK, 1 de abril de 2008 /PRNewswire/ — O Mercado brasileiro de fundos de derivativos manteve um crescimento exponencial na última década. Desde dezembro de 2000, a indústria cresceu um 1.020% extraordinária, alcançando US$127 bilhões de ativos sob gestão. Enquanto os fundos de derivativos sobressaem sobre outros tipos de fundos de derivativos internacionais, o mundo presta atenção.

The Brazilian derivatives fund market has grown exponentially during the current decade. Since December 2000, the industry has grown at the extraordinary rate of 1,020%, attaining US$127 billion in assets under management. And as [Brazilian] derivatives funds pass by other types of international derivatives funds, the world is starting to sit up and pay attention.

Mais de 300 profissionais de fundos de derivativos irão chegar a São Paulo de 28 a 30 de abril no Alternative Investment Summit Brasil — o primeiro congresso de fundos de derivativos do país. Palestrantes notáveis incluindo o presidente do Banco Central, Henrique Meirelles, o presidente e diretor-executivo da Marathon Asset Management, Bruce Richards, e o sócio-fundador da Mauá Investimentos, Luiz Fernando Figueiredo.

More than 300 professionals from derivatives funds will be in São Paulo from April 28 to April 30 for the Alternative Investment Summit Brazil — the first derivative funds congress in the nation. Notable speakers including Central Bank president Meirelles, president and CEO of Marathon Asset Management Bruce Richards, and founding partner of Mauá Investiments, Luiz Fernando Figueiredo.

Esse evento está programado para ajudar os investidores brasileiros e internacionais a pilotar nesse próspero mercado. O congresso irá unir gestores de fundos de derivativos, investidores, reguladores e economistas para discutir os seguintes assuntos:

The event is designed to help Brazilian and international investors navigate this prosperous market. It will bring together fund managers, investors, regulators and economists to discuss the following topics:

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Nassif: Veja’s Deep Throats

Veja’s Mainardi on Globo’s late-night Jô Xô repeats the unsubstantiated rumor that senior government officials have bribe-stuffed offshore bank accounts — defending the exercise in logic-chopping gibberish with a gibbering tautology.

Brazilian political and economic commentators perform their analyses before the fact. Before they know that it actually happened, they have an explanation for it. They present opinion divorced from information. –Ricardo Kaufmann (O Globo: “Chávez Won the Referendum Because He Manipulated the System!”)

A “senior adviser to Bush,” Suskind reports, says to him that “guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’

Rumor is both a process of information dissemination and a process of interpretation and commentary. Shibutani conceives of rumor as a collective activity that tries to make sense of unexplained events, but insists that it depends on two necessary conditions: The importance of the information and its ambiguity. —“Rumors: Voices That Insinuate”

O araponga e o repórter: “The Spy and the Reporter.”

Brazilian business journalist Luis Nassif publishes another installment in his series on the type of “journalism” practiced by Veja magazine (Editora Abril).

My wife and I laughed last week to see the leader of the opposition in the lower house of Congress, deputy Vergilio of Amapá, repeatedly telling the TV cameras that Veja is a “serious and responsible” news publication.

It demonstrably is not. Quite the contrary But as Nassif has pointed out in a number of cases, the ethos argument is an integral part of its “toxic sludge is good for you” marketing strategy.

If you tend to report a lot of nonexistent facts and otherwise perpetrate acts of heinous journalistic incompetence or bad faith, it does not matter. You just keep repeating, “We are excellent journalists,” and get your cronies to repeat it as well. Ad nauseam.

Nassif has made some perceptive comments on the magazine as an importer of what he calls “the neocon style.”

I hope that when he polishes up this series into a book that he will include a chapter that traces the history and characteristics of that “neocon style.”

The infamous remarks of an anonymous White House staffer to Ron Suskind of the New York Times Magazine (above) are perhaps the most succinct state of principles of this contempt for critical collaborative knowledge-seeking, according to which, despite what Sen. Moynihan famously said, one is entitled to one’s own facts, or even to form opinions in the absence of facts.

At any rate, I continue to translate pra inglês ver as I find time. This episode highlights a crucial difference between Brazilian Deep Throats and the Deep Throat source used by Woodstein in Watergate.

Woodstein checked out what their Deep Throat was telling them. The usual procedure: If you cannot corroborate, you cannot vouch for it, and if you cannot vouch for it, you cannot print it in the paper.

Brazilian Deep Throats, on the other hand, are given full editorial control. No fact-checking involved. Fax it in and we will run it. Hillary Clinton performed oral sex with Fidel Castro? Really? Well, okay, if you say so …

A matéria foi bombástica e ajudou a deflagrar a crise do “mensalão”. Uma reportagem de 18 de maio de 2005, de Policarpo Jr., da sucursal da Veja em Brasília, mostrava o flagrante de um funcionários dos Correios – Mauricio Maurinho – recebendo R$ 3 mil de propina (clique aqui)

It was a bombshell of an article and helped unleash the “big monthly allowance” scandal. A report published May 18, 2005 by Policarpo Jr. of the Brasília bureau of Veja showed how Maurinho, an employee of the federal postal service, was caught in the act taking a R$3,000 bribe [URL].

A abertura seguia o estilo didático-indagativo da revista:

The lead graf was typical of the magazine’s [pedantic and moralizing] style:

(…) Por quê? Por que os políticos fazem tanta questão de ter cargos no governo? Para uns, o cargo é uma forma de ganhar visibilidade diante do eleitor e, assim, facilitar o caminho para as urnas. Para outros, é um instrumento eficaz para tirar do papel uma idéia, um projeto, uma determinada política pública. Esses são os políticos bem-intencionados. Há, porém, uma terceira categoria formada por políticos desonestos que querem cargos apenas para fazer negócios escusos – cobrar comissões, beneficiar amigos, embolsar propinas, fazer caixa dois, enriquecer ilicitamente.

“Why? Why are politicians so eager to get appointed to government posts. For some of them, the post provides them with visibility that helps them with their election campaigns. For others, it is an efficient way of getting an idea, a project, a specific public policy, off the drawing board. These are the well-intentioned politicians. But there is a third category composed of dishonest politicians who seek government appointments merely in order to do dirty deals — charge commissions, benefit their cronies, pocket bribes, launder money into slush funds, get rich quick.”

A revista informava que tinha conseguido dar um flagrante em um desses casos na semana anterior:

The magazine reported that it had managed to catch one of the dishonest politicians in the act the previous week:

“Raro, mesmo, é flagrar um deles em pleno vôo. Foi o que VEJA conseguiu na semana passada.’

‘It is a rare thing, indeed, to catch this sort of bird on the wing. But that is what VEJA managed to do last week.”

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Black Gold, Tupi Tea: Petrobras Announces the Carioca Field

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No jokes about the Bacia de Pelotas, please.

And then one day he was shootin’ at some food
When up through the ground came a’bubblin’ crude
Oil, that is. Black gold. Tupi tea.
–“The Ballad of Jed Clampett”

Petrobras descobre outro poço na Bacia de Santos: “Petrobras discovers another hydrocarbon reserve in the Santos Basin.”

Will Paulo Maluf take credit for having the vision to go looking for this one as well?

The, ahem, colorful and reputedly larcenous on a mass scale local politician ran TV ads after the first Santos Basin discovery trying to link the deepwater discoveries to his infamous dictatorship-era (inland) drilling boondoggle, Paulipetro.

My wife laughed until milk shot of her nose when that came on the TV during the mandatory political advertising slot.

A Petrobras encontrou mais um reservatório de petróleo e gás abaixo da camada de sal, em área ultraprofunda, na Bacia de Santos. Foi no bloco BM-S-8, ao sul das reservas gigantes de Tupi, considerada um megacampo de petróleo, com um volume estimado entre 5 bilhões e 8 bilhões de barris.

Petrobras has found another gas and oil reserve below the salt layer in very deep waters in the Santos Basin. It was in Block BM-S-8, south of the giant Tupi reserves, which are considered a megareserve with volume estimated at between 5 billion and 8 billion barrels.

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Nova Bolsa: Brazilian Bourses Joining Forces

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Pregão: Where the grana changes hands.

Gazeta Mercantil (Brazil) puts the story on the wire before we early risers have even had our café da manhã:

SÃO PAULO, 26 de março de 2008 – A Bovespa Holding anunciou hoje a fusão com a Bolsa de Mercadorias e Futuros (BM&F), que resultará na formação de uma entidade provisoriamente denominada de Nova Bolsa. A companhia será uma empresa aberta, registrada na Comissão de Valores Mobiliários, e cujas ações serão negociadas no Novo Mercado.

Bovespa Holding, [which owns and operates the Stock Exchange of São Paulo, Brazil’s principal trading venue] announced today a merger with the BM&F (commodities and futures exchange) that will result in a new entity provisionally known as the Nova Bolsa [ the “new bourse”]. The merged company will be publicly traded, registered with the Brazilian securities regulator and with shares traded on the Novo Mercado.

The NM is a tiered listing segment for shares of companies that voluntary agree to meet corporate governance standards exceeding local legal requirements.

Serão procedidas operações de reorganização societária que resultarão na emissão de ações ordinárias da Nova Bolsa para os acionistas da BM&F e da Bovespa Holding, na proporção de 50% para cada companhia. Adicionalmente, os acionistas da Bovespa Holding receberão pagamento de R$ 1,24 bilhão.

Share restructuring transactions will be carried out whereby shareholders of the two bourses will both receive 50% of the common shares in the Nova Bolsa. Bovespa Holding shareholders will receive an additional R$1.24 billion in cash. 

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The Morning Brief: Guido Stripped to Speedo By Credit Remarks

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Notable subscription package on offer: 12 months of the Valor Econômico daily + 6 months of the CartaCapital weekly for just R$47 (US$27, or some 10% of a minium salary) a month in parcel payments! I find that offer attractive: I already read both of them religiously. The offer seems to imply that someone thinks there are a lot more people out there like me. In other news, the Gazeta Mercantil signs a content partnership deal with the New York Times. As if the New York Times had anything useful knowledge about the price of sausages, chopp and black-market botijões in Itaim Bibi.

If a rumor comes into your possession, better pass it along to the next guy, and quick: It could be lie. –Millôr Fernandes

The Jornal do Commercio (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) reports: The federal treasury minister insists that he never said what the press here spent the last few days screaming loudly that he said, or at least implied!

Rumor was that the government was contemplating limiting automobile financing to a period of 36 months.

Guido “Guns and Butter” Mantega says it just ain’t so.

We have heard such sharp exchanges between government and the press before, many times.

The most striking example, perhaps, was the rumor that President Squid would seek a third term, like Uribe and Uncle Hugo. There were and are no credible indications that this was anything but a gibbering fairy tale.

But Veja magazine’s designated blogger, for example, shrieked loudly and hysterically against this sinister but nonexistent factoid-phantasm, summoning patriotic Brazilians to take up arms and join the “counter-coup.”

This was the top story on New World Lusophone Bloomberg today as well, which ran the minister’s remarks in their entirety.

I think the arrival of Bloomberg-style business journalism here is likely to raise the level of the game quite a bit.

Help make the jogo a little more bonito.

O governo quer evitar que o crédito e o consumo cresçam de forma insustentável ao longo dos próximos anos, mas não cogita restringir os prazos dos financiamentos, afirmou o ministro da Fazenda, Guido Mantega. Para garantir que o ritmo atual de crescimento da economia não tenha que ser “abortado”, Mantega disse que serão concedidos estímulos para investimentos a setores-chave, como o automobilístico, aço e cimento. O objetivo é evitar descasamento entre oferta e demanda, que contribua para aceleração da taxa de inflação.

The government wants to avoid having consumer credit grow in an unsustainable manner in the next few years, but is not contemplating restricting the terms of financing contracts, said treasury minister Guido Mantega. To guarantee that the current rate of economic growth is not “aborted,” Mantega said incentives will be conceded to key sectors, such as automobiles, steel and cement. The objective is to avoid a disconnect between supply and demand, which tends to contribute to inflation.

O ministro pretende também reunir-se com representantes dos bancos para obter garantias de que o nível de alavancagem das instituições é seguro. Os financiamentos alongados de veículos preocupam especialmente o governo. Especialistas já alertaram sobre o perigo de bolha nesse tipo de crédito.

The minister also intends to me with representatives of the banking sector to obtain guarantees that the degree of leverage being used is at safe levels. Extended auto financing are of special concern to the government. Experts have already warned of a bubble in this type of credit.

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Salvador: From the Files of the Anti-Death Squad Squad

Source: Rede TV News, Bahia.

Correio da Bahia (Salvador, Bahia, Brasil) reports:

Apresentados PMs acusados de matar malabarista

Military police accused of killing circus acrobat are [perp-walked] 

Lotados na 39ª CIPM (Boca do Rio), os policiais são suspeitos de integrar grupo de extermínio

Policemen from the 39th CIPM in Boca do Rio are suspected of being members of a death squad.   

See also

Reconhecidos por testemunhas como autores do duplo homicídio, que teve como vítimas o artista circense Ricardo Matos dos Santos, 20 anos, e o assaltante Robson de Souza Pinho, conhecido como “Sapo”, 19, fuzilados em janeiro deste ano na Boca do Rio, três policiais militares foram presos ontem pela manhã na 39ª Companhia Independente, onde são lotados. O caso foi noticiado com exclusividade na edição da última terça-feira do Correio da Bahia.Contrariando informação de que o mandante da execução seria um policial da ativa, a delegada Andréa d’Oliveira Cardoso, coordenadora do Grupo Especial de Repressão a Crimes de Extermínio (Gerce), esquiva-se de fornecer detalhes sobre quem teria encomendado o crime e limita-se a dizer que o contratante seria um policial da reserva. Ricardo foi morto por ter sido confundido com um comparsa de “Sapo”, alvo da ação.

Identified by witnesses as the perpetrators of a double homicide that took the lives of circus artist Ricardo Matos dos Santos, 20, and the armed robber Robson “The Toad” de Souza Pinho, 19, who were shot to death in January of this year in Boca do Rio, three policemen from the 39th Independent Military Police Company were arrested yesterday (March 19), a case reported on exclusively by this newspaper last Tuesday. Contradicting reports that the person who ordered the execution was an active-duty policeman, Oliveira Cardoso of GERCE, the [anti-death squad squad of the state judicial police], avoiding providing details, saying only that the person who commissioned the crime may have been a member of the police reserve. Ricardo was killed after being mistaken for a companion of “The Toad,” who was the target of the attack. 

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