ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
35°
Sunny
H 47° L 30°
  • clear-night
    35°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 47° L 30°
  • clear-day
    52°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 47° L 30°
  • clear-night
    43°
    Evening
    Clear. H 57° L 31°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

World
Brazil future unclear amid opposing ideologies of ministers
Close

Brazil future unclear amid opposing ideologies of ministers

Brazil future unclear amid opposing ideologies of ministers
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File
FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, right, and his Vice President Gen. Hamilton Mourao attend a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Brazil's constitution at Congress in Brasilia, Brazil. Mourao, a retired general, has made several polemical statements, such as defending torture during Brazil’s dictatorship. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

Brazil future unclear amid opposing ideologies of ministers

With his inauguration just weeks away, Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is assembling a Cabinet of ministers with starkly different views on key issues like climate change, the economy and China that is raising questions about the direction the far-right leader will take Latin America's largest nation.

Since being elected in October, Bolsonaro has appointed a finance minister schooled in neoliberal economics, a foreign minister who describes globalization as "an anti-human and anti-Christian system," supporters and critics of China's role in the region, several retired military generals and a justice minister who is arguably the world's most renowned corruption fighter.

Analysts say the eclectic choices made by the former army captain who takes office on Jan. 1 portend clashes not only within his Cabinet but possibly with Bolsonaro himself, since some of their views are at odds with his campaign promises.

"We are already seeing clear signals of tensions," said Oliver Stuenkel, an international relations professor at the Fundacao Getulio Vargas university and think tank.

Numerous requests for comment from Bolsonaro and his incoming ministers were not answered.

Arguably the incoming government's most antagonistic figure is the future foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo, who has never served as ambassador or in a top position in the foreign ministry in his nearly 30 years of public service.

On his blog, Araujo wrote that he wanted to "help Brazil and the world liberate itself from the globalist ideology," and globalism was "an anti-human and anti-Christian system" piloted by "cultural Marxism" to promote China.

Like Bolsonaro, who campaigned on a nationalist anti-crime, anti-socialism, pro-"traditional Brazilian values" ticket, Araujo sees China and the billions of dollars it has invested in Brazil's energy, infrastructure and oil and gas industry as threats to the country's sovereignty.

But Latin America's largest economy clearly needs China for more than investment: the Asian giant was Brazil's top destination for exports, amounting to US$47 billion, according to Brazilian government data.

Araujo's antagonism toward China will meet resistance not only from Brazilian companies but from other powerful ministers who see China very differently, especially future finance minister Paulo Guedes.

Guedes, who holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago, rallied much of the business community behind Bolsonaro's campaign with promises to cut government spending, privatize many industries and increase foreign investment. Early in the campaign, Guedes was introduced to Bolsonaro by Brazilian businessman Winston Ling, who is the son of Chinese immigrants.

Another issue that could spark clashes is Brazil's position on climate change. The world will be watching how Brazil deals with the topic since it is home to much of the vital Amazon rainforest.

Bolsonaro has threatened to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and vowed to help large mining and agribusiness companies expand their activities in protected areas, including the Amazonian forests. His foreign minister has also expressed skepticism toward climate change, calling it a "dogma" used by the left to foster China's growth.

But an overhaul of environmental policies and Araujo's protectionist views could come at a high cost. Observers say that abandoning the Paris Agreement could lead foreign markets, such as the European Union, to boycott certain Brazilian products.

Guedes and future Agricultural Minister Tereza Cristina are likely to oppose any measure that would imperil Brazil's relationship with key trade partners.

"An exacerbated nationalism cannot be justified in a globalized world," said congressman Alceu Moreira, who leads the powerful farming lobby that backed Bolsonaro's campaign.

Moreira argued that protectionism ended up hurting the efficiency and competitiveness of Brazil's industry.

"We want the people who represent us, at the foreign affairs ministry, to be more qualified," he added in an apparent reference to Araujo.

Jose Alfredo Graca Lima, a former consul-general in New York and Los Angeles, says he believes Guedes will be the predominating voice among Cabinet members.

"But what I keep wondering is who will conduct, who will play the leading role (in Brazil's diplomacy)?" said Graca Lima.

And some of the ministers may even clash with their boss.

Guedes' free-market, pro-privatization vision has at times appeared at odds with that of Bolsonaro, who waxes nostalgic for Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship, a time when the state played a significant role in the economy.

Sergio Moro, who as a judge oversaw the "Car Wash," one of the largest corruption investigations in history, may also clash with Bolsonaro despite the president-elect's promise not to meddle with his decisions.

With the backdrop of 63,880 homicides recorded in Brazil in 2017, Bolsonaro was largely elected on promises to improve worsening security by confronting street gangs. He has proposed loosening gun laws, bringing back the death penalty and lowering the age of penal responsibility from 18 to 16 or 17.

Moro is unlikely to agree with such proposals, and has already expressed reservations about loosening gun laws. Since being appointed as a super minister in charge of both the justice and public security, Moro has outlined plans to tackle white collar crime but been mum on security.

So far, the seven retired members of the military appointed by Bolsonaro are positioning themselves as wild cards in the future government.

Vice President-elect Hamilton Mourao, a retired general, has made several polemical statements, such as defending torture during Brazil's dictatorship. However, many observers also see him as the adult in the room.

On various occasions, Mourao has tempered Bolsonaro's most contentious positions, such as moving Brazil's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following the footsteps of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Brazil is one of the world's top halal meat exporters, and Iran and Egypt are its third and fourth biggest beef buyers, according to data from the Brazilian Beef Exporters Association.

"Obviously, it's a question that will have to be well thought out," Mourao told newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. "We have an important commercial relationship with the Arab world."

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS
  • Police were called to the Broken Arrow High School on Thursday after a threatening message was found on a bathroom mirror. Officers say the message referenced a shooting set to happen on Friday. Police interviewed a student, 18-year-old Hipolito Hernandez. Hernandez was then arrested on a complaint of Threatening a Violent Act.  Officers decided that the threat was not credible, but the timing was alarming. “The threat was made one day prior to the anniversary date of the Sandy Hook school shooting,” said BAPD Major Scott Bennett. “We will do everything in our power to prevent chances of a similar event happening here in Broken Arrow. This includes strictly enforcing existing threats laws.”  
  • Journalists were kept away from a secret federal appeals court hearing on Friday in Washington, D.C., as officials sealed off an entire floor for arguments in a mysterious grand jury case which some believe could be related to the Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The case – known officially as “In re: Grand Jury Subpoena” – has been sealed in its entirety when it comes to public records, as it moved from the district court to the appeals court level in recent months. Reporters at the courthouse – which is just down the hill from the U.S. Capitol – at first tried to gather outside the courtroom where the secret arguments were going to take place, but then security officials sealed off the entire fifth floor of the building, making it nearly impossible to find out who was involved in the matter. “We have spread out across the building,” tweeted Darren Samuelsohn, a reporter for Politico. “No sightings yet to report of note.” Reporters kicked off the 5th floor entirely for a sealed appeals hearing that may involve #Mueller on s grand jury dispute. They are even searching stairwells for reporters. We have split up and trying to cover all entrances and exits…. — Sarah N. Lynch (@SarahNLynch) December 14, 2018 Arguments in the sealed Mueller case are ongoing. Everyone was booted out of the Court of Appeals and the entire floor was cleared. — Charlie Gile (@CharlieGileNBC) December 14, 2018 The possible tie to the Mueller investigation was reported by Politico earlier this year, when one of their reporters observed someone asking for a secret court filing to take to a law firm involved in the matter. There are two different sealed case involving an unknown grand jury which have attracted attention at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals – as the relatively speedy nature of the cases – and then today’s sealing off of an entire floor – has prompted intense interest. “To this day, I can’t fathom what the heck it could be that would move this fast and get this much secrecy,” said national security lawyer Bradley Moss. Several media folks have asked me and colleagues for weeks what we can imagine this case being, assuming Trump's people are telling the truth and it's not them. To this day, I can't fathom what the heck it could be that would move this fast and get this much secrecy. https://t.co/EH6X08KDq8 — Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) December 14, 2018 Here’s the docket on the case – as you can see, it offers little in the way of information. But with officials sealing off the entire courthouse floor to deal with it – the case certainly raises questions about what’s going on.
  • This is horsepower in its rawest form. >> Read more trending news  A Facebook video of two Belgian draft horses pulling a tractor-trailer up an icy driveway in southeastern Minnesota went viral this week, the Star Tribune reported. The truck driver took video of the 13-year-old horses -- Molly and Prince -- after his truck got stuck in the snow, the newspaper reported. Lizzie Hershberger, who owns the horses, told KARE that the animals were not harmed when they pulled the truck. Her husband, Jacob Hershberger, admitted the horses had never attempted such a weighty task, but he said they handled it well, the television station reported. “It’s quite amazing how a video can go viral from little Minnesota,” Lizzie Hershberger told the Star Tribune. The couple, formerly Amish, bought the horses six months ago, Lizzie Hershberger told the newspaper. The horses are trained and Jacob Hershberger uses them weekly, KARE reported. “(Jacob is) semi-retired from the trucking, so he bought himself these Belgians and he just loves them. He uses them multiple times a week,” Hershberger told the Star Tribune. The Hershbergers were not surprised when a truck driver spun out as he attempted to return an empty trailer, which is usually used to haul livestock, KARE reported. A second truck was waiting at the bottom of the driveway, so Jacob Hershberger hitched up the horses. “It’s a neat story,” Lizzie Hershberger told the Star Tribune. “We just like the idea that horses still get used and I think that people just aren’t really aware of that.”
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken is trying out a new tradition, just in time for the holidays. The chain is offering a new way to enjoy the aroma of the Colonel's secret recipe in your own home: A KFC yule log.  It's called the KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog and it smells like chicken. KFC partnered with Enviro-Log to create the new product, which lasts up to three hours and is made of 100 percent recycled materials.  KFC officials said, 'the smell of the Colonel's original recipe is unmistakable' and 'it may result in a craving for fried chicken.'  >> Trending: Del Monte recalling more than 64,000 cases of Fiesta Corn in 25 states It's only available for a limited time at   www.KFCfirelogs.com. It costs $18.99, but there’s a limit, only one per customer.  
  • Facing outrage from voters that taxpayer money was being used to pay for sexual harassment settlements against members of Congress involving employees on Capitol Hill, the House and Senate on Thursday approved a package of reforms designed to force members of Congress to pay for any such judgments with their own money in the future. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), the head of the House Administration Committee, noted that the bill will rightly hold “members of the House and Senate personally liable for unlawful harassment and retaliation.” “Time is finally up for members of Congress who think they can sexually harass and get away with it,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who last year told of being harassed on Capitol Hill when she was a young Congressional staffer. “They will no longer be able to slink away with no one knowing that they have harassed,” Speier told reporters. House Democrat Jackie Speier said men and women who sexually harass others will have to pay back the U.S. Treasury for any settlements made. It will be done through a lump sum, garnishing savings or wages, or even digging into their social security if necessary pic.twitter.com/q7RLQpgcKh — POLITICO (@politico) December 13, 2018 Click here for the details of the 80 page bill. The bill gives lawmakers 180 days to pay any harassment award; if that has not happened, then Congressional officials are authorized to garnish the pay of lawmakers, or take money from the member’s retirement savings account. If the accused member leaves the Congress, the law would give Congressional officials the power to garnish the wages of that former lawmaker in their new job, as well as taking money from an annuity or even out of that member’s Social Security benefits. Negotiations had been in limbo for several months as Senators resisted some of the changes approved by the House – Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi has said the House will move to strengthen its own rules dealing with other workplace discrimination issues, even if the Senate will not. JUST IN: The bipartisan sexual harassment bill I'm leading with @RoyBlunt has passed the Senate & House and will soon be signed into law! This will fundamentally change the way sexual harassment cases are handled in Congress and protect victims instead of protecting politicians. — Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) December 13, 2018 Another change in the bill removes the requirement that staffers who say they’ve been sexually harassed, will not have to deal with a 30-day ‘cooling off period,’ in which they are not allowed to bring a lawsuit, after they make a harassment complaint. It’s the first major change in sexual harassment policies in the Congress since the “#MeToo” movement began. The bills were passed quickly in both the House and Senate; no votes were taken, as the plans were approved by unanimous consent.