General Political Climate in Brazil

Now that the elections are over, was wondering what the general political tone in Brazil is now that Lula was elected. Will it have an effect on expats or laws? I know that Brazil is divided like it is in the US. It has always been a very "interesting" situation with corruption and such, but in the big picture will it change anything? I know this is a general question, but the reason I am asking is after witnessing some rather strange behavior in relatives (Bolsonaro followers) I got this "sky is falling" and "we're becoming "Venezuela" Not sure if it is an over-reaction to their guy losing or not. Most likely will not change our plans of retiring there. Like everywhere, Brazil has its blemishes, but the opportunities as we see it outweigh any downside. Simply asking a general question and not looking for any political bantering. Thanks!

I have posted earlier about this if you scroll you will find all the answers you are looking for. Take care

@56tbourne I am interested in moving back to Brazil with my Brazilian wife, so we have been watching the politics fairly closely. My personal feeling as an American, is that I want the best for the people in the country into which I might move. What I know is that previously under Lula, millions were lifted out of poverty and thousands were able to get a college education. Bringing even the poorest into an arena where they can compete in the world is something I hope for everyone, both here in the US and in Brazil as well. The state-of-the-art social medicine is also largely due to Lula. Due to the current presidents policies, the real has dropped like a rock in comparison with the USD, and that may change under Lula if the economy improves significantly. From what I read, if you love the Amazon, indigenous people, and the diverse fabric that is such an integral part of Brazil, you will be very happy about the administrative change. If the real strengthens against the USD (it was somewhere around 2:1 under Lula and is now roughly 5:1) your USD will not go nearly as far as it does now, but IMHO I am more than willing to pay my fair share towards a healthier Brazil.

11/10/22 @56tbourne. Nobody's ever said it better than Douglas Adams, "DON'T PANIC 😛"


The incredible (in every sense of that word) thing about the "sky is falling, we're becoming Venezuela" hysteria is that we don't have to guess what kind of president Lula will be. We KNOW, because he was president for eight years in the not-too-distant past.


Between 2003 and 2010, Brazilians became richer. The poor certainly became richer; in fact, a whole huge new class, "The New Middle Class" came into existence. My husband and his whole family belong to it. But the rich became richer, too. Lula benefited from a worldwide commodities boom, but he facilitated it where he could, and was smart enough to get out of the way when he had nothing to contribute. There was constant, low-level friction with the military -- as there will be for any Brazilian government that insists on civilian control -- but there were no political prisoners, no disappearances, no coordinated attacks on the media, no massacres by heavily armed SWAT teams in the favelas, no mobs assembled to intimidate the Congress or the Supreme Court. And no Brazilian refugees flooding over the borders to get away, as we in the North are all too familiar with from the real Venezuela. Anyone pushing the New Venezuela narrative really should be put on the spot to explain why the guy who didn't do it through eight years in power would suddenly do it now. To any reasonable person that should be an implausible charge.


Of course, Lula HAS changed, but not in that direction. The new Congress will be less centrist and more rightwing than the current Congress, or any Congress during Lula's last presidency. That will certainly limit his freedom of action. He's leading a much broader coalition than he ever has before, which will limit him too. And he's older. In fact, my biggest concern is that he'll work himself to death and die in office. But since his Vice President, Geraldo Alckmin, is a distinguished politician of the center-right, that's not a "sky is falling!" scenario either.


As I've written elsewhere, I don't expect much to change for expats. For visitors, I think that the visa waiver that the current Administration extended to countries, like the US, that don't reciprocally waive visas for Brazilians will end. This isn't specific to Lula, but reciprocity is a VERY old Brazilian policy, and I expect it to return. But it won't be high priority, so it will probably take a year or two.


I expect the Digital Nomad visa to come under scrutiny, maybe intense. My reading of the tea leaves is that some powerful groups, like the Justice Ministry, were never fans right from the jump. The advocates of the visa will probably have to show some concrete economic benefits pretty soon, or I think that its days will be numbered.


For holders of VITEM XI Family Unification visas, and maybe VITEM XIV Retirement Visas, things may eventually improve somewhat. I think that I'm seeing some "green shoots", with the Polícia Federal accepting the VITEM XI and the protocolo from the Consulate as sufficient proof to issue a CRNM, without requiring all the documents that were already submitted to the Consulate to be translated and resubmitted after arrival in Brazil. I hope that people who have been through the process can confirm or refute this. If it's so, that would be a return to the pre-2017 sitution, and would make things a lot easier. I hope that it would eventually apply to retirees, as well.


Like @sjpetzold, I'm happy to pay my fair share and don't spend a lot of time thinking about taxes -- although I complain like anyone else. I just give my Brazilian accountant my US return, all the supporting docs, and my Brazilian bank statements, she tells me what I owe, and I pay it. I'm not expecting much, if any, change. Like him or hate him, Paulo Guedes is the most powerful Economics Minister since Delfim Netto under the dictatorship. If Guedes couldn't get meaningful tax reform through the Congress in four years -- and he couldn't -- neither Lula nor his Finance Minister is going to be able to do it in a less friendly Congress during the next four. So for taxes, the advice is the same that I always write: get a Brazilian accountant that you feel comfortable with, and follow that person's advice. It probably won't change much over the next four years.

I am also interested in what sort of changes Lula is going to try and implement. I traveled there a lot under his administration and never had any trouble.

You never know. I have heard all sorts of wild rumors. Everything from financial assets being seized to property owners being forced to allow low income renters. I take it all with a grain of salt as they say.


At least for now the dollar is bouncing back. A couple of days ago it was around 5.05. Right now it's at 5.375

but it changes constantly.

@56tbourne,


Brazil is a great place to retire to and, yes, it has all kinds of quirks. But that is part of the trip. Brazil is much more than a destination.


"...rather strange behavior in relatives..." isn't just a Brazilian phenomenon in today's world. The Wisconsin that I am from isn't today's Wisconsin, I feel great discord in both Wisconsin and Brazil. I wish that we were in a better state than we are given that the real issues that we (the world) needs to deal with today are big enough to merit all of our attention - I speak of the sad state of our planet.


I'm an old guy and have been around this Brazilian political mess for more decades than I care to admit to but I love it here and wouldn't move back to Wisconsin for anything. I love being retired here - probably would find having to survive in the world of work a lot more challenging but I'm still very appreciative for all that Brazil has given me....... just as I am incredibly appreciative of all that Wisconsin afforded me.


Give it a spin and if it doesn't work out you can always pull anchor.


MattB


PS - Brazil under Lula (2003-2011) you can research online and you'll probably find that economically it was a period of positive change in the whole country. Where I live, especially in rural areas, people will attest to great changes that they never dreamed of under previous administrations. I'm not a believer that "PIB" necessarily defines all factors of economic health in any country BUT if you do that simple search - BRAZIL PIB - in Google and look at the resulting graph you'll see what happened from 2003-2011.

A lot of division erupted in one of our family WhatsApp group regarding the election. Many family members are devote evangelicals which mean they are Bolsinario devotees, but others  (including pastors) supported Lula. Therefore the rather 'lively' debate. One family member in federal government admitted that Bolsinario is 'crazy', but at least he didn't seem to be corrupt and did appoint decent ministers (I don't know). Their biggest objection was the pervasive corruption during the Lula years across the political spectrum (Car wash scandal). Their consolation is that the Congress will be in the hands of Bolsinaristas. There are some accusations of election fraud in the second round, but it was interesting that those same people don't think there was fraud in the first round when Bolsinaristas reaped wins in the first round.

I will also add that there is lots of debate about the automated Brazilian voting system allowing for fraud. As an IT person, I would say that in a transparent society,  software forensic is not that difficult to perform to detect fraud. I do agree with some of my Brazilian family that it would give more peace of mind if they also had a paper trail. That is the way it works in Virginia and other states in which I fed a paper ballot into a scanner to record my vote.  This provides for redundant records.

A lot of division erupted in one of our family WhatsApp group regarding the election. .
[email protected]


Eric, this was exactly the situation on my  in-laws' family WhatsApp group, as well.  I finally dropped out of the group, because I was sick of having my phone clogged up with crazy Bozo videos.  These are some of the nicest people I've ever known, and have never been anything but kind and welcoming to me; some of them were just bitten really BAD the the Bolsonaro bug.  Fortunately, nobody seems to have said anything that anybody else would find impossible to forgive.  I said that I'd return after the election and I did this week, to warm welcomes and no (or at least very little) political propaganda.

11/13/22 I will also add that there is lots of debate about the automated Brazilian voting system allowing for fraud. As an IT person, I would say that in a transparent society, software forensic is not that difficult to perform to detect fraud. I do agree with some of my Brazilian family that it would give more peace of mind if they also had a paper trail. That is the way it works in Virginia and other states in which I fed a paper ballot into a scanner to record my vote. This provides for redundant records.
[email protected]


I'll admit to a certain amount of skepticism with an all-electronic voting system, but I attribute that mostly to an American cultural affinity for paper ballots.  This is ironic in my case since, as a native New Yorker, all of my earliest votes, all of my parents' votes, and probably most of my grandparents' votes were cast on analog voting machines that generated no receipts and have only recently been completely phased out.  Some of my earliest memories are of watching my mother disappear behind a heavy blue curtain with a bank of little metal windows with printed names, a little lever under each of them, and a huge lever in front to operate the curtain and record all the votes as the curtain opened by mechanically shoving all the little levers back up.  Voting in New York really let you exercise your franchise!


I'm a dual national, so I voted in the last two Brazilian elections.  The machines are designed to be extremely simple, simple enough for a functionally illiterate person to express his/her preferences with just a "cheat sheet" with the numbers of their preferred candidates on it.  It's just a number pad, a screen to show the candidate whose number the voter enters, a big red button to cancel and redo the vote, and a big green button to accept and record it.  The machines are sealed, and there's no way to connect them to the Internet.  Every voter has a picture ID, on paper or on their phone, that's matched against the voter list for that section.  Biometric data is collected when voters register, and only the voter' finger on a fingerprint reader unlocks the actual voting machine for him or her. 


It would seem like the only practical place to falsify the results would be at the Electoral Court facilities where the results are tabulated, but security seems high there, chain of custody controls are rigorous and, unlike the US, elections are conducted by and under the control of the Judicial, not the Executive Branch.  So far, some people have been able to blue-sky scenarios in which fraud could occur, but no one has yet come close to demonstrating that it was seriously attempted, much less accomplished.

@abthree, I smile. I too remember that mysterious ritual of my folks voting the same way in Connecticut! Thank you for envoking that memory. Very interesting how the Brazilian machines work.  They do seem rather fool-proof. I didn't delete the WhatsApp group that was most acerbic politically. I would just blow through it. I have noticed that it is starting to have more birthday parabens now than political comments.

@abthree


As a recent Retirement Visa recipient, I did not have to have ANY documents translated and re-submitted to obtain my RG Registro Geral card (General Registration Card).  I just had to complete the required application online, pay the fee, and arrive for my appointment with the Policia Federal.  That appointment took about an hour, including them taking my foto for the RG Card.  This all seemed relatively easy compared to the hassles I had dealing with the website for the Chicago Brazilian Consulate!  We are in João Pessoa, in NE Brazil.


Thanks so much for all your help in guiding me through various parts of this confusing and frustrating process. 


Martin

11/14/22 @MA22 Thanks Martin! That's really good news, first that the documentation part went so smoothly, and second -- but more importantly -- that you're settling in so well.


It sounds like we're back to a world where the Polícia Federal accept the vetting that the Consulate did in granting the visa, and don't demand to go through all the documents again themselves. That make sense and I expected it eventually, but it's great news and well worth the wait. I'll change my advice from now on to say that people with a VITEM visa should have their supporting documents available for review if asked, but don't need to have them translated or apostilled. People who are trying to bootstrap a tourist visa into permanent residence, though, will need those extra steps.


So, how is Brazil measuring up to your expectations? You're just down the road from your fellow Wisconsinite, @mberigan. 👍🏻

What part of Wisconsin?

56tbourne - GoinG to DM..... @mberigan

it will come to pass.   


True, there is polarization in the air , but again, I was not a grown up in the 60's to compare how it was.  My educated guess, it was probably worse then, by other folks' accounts.


If helps you, just talk to Japanese Brazilians and their descendants if you can.  They were always known to keep their head in the grindstone, nod and move on. Sanseis, Nisseis, if you can find them, chat it up to them.  They are seldom every talking politics. 


A lot of it might just amount to noise. 


Just focus on what you can control, your outcomes,  the rest, leave it to be sorted out on its own. Mostly amounts to "water cooler conversation". That and the fact that arguing with Brazilians is low brow out of focus waste of time.


And let me remind you you ain't James Woods in a "Salvador Motion Picture".   The most drama you will ever encounter will be with Brazilian Bureaucracy.  Now, that's a drama.


Ebbs and Tides.  That is all there is to .

@mberigan


Really like Santa Catarina. I have relatives in Joinville. Nephew in Floripa. Yea Curitiba is at 1000m.Really like the vibe. Are you in SC then

Looking to buy an apartment there.


Apostle Islands are nice too up North. Things have really changed though. Lots of lakes, but the industries like paper mills are dying.


Nice place to be “ from”😜

Apartment in Curitiba. Have relatives there already. Not too hot/ cold. Perfect for me. Also not as much crime

Cost of living is the key. Not sure how people are going to retire comfortably here.

As to abthree's question on Vitem XI/PF, I just went through this. 


The PF didn't ask for anything else that the consulate didn't want, aside from my wife's Brazilian cell phone bill as I recall.  I didn't need anything translated, nor a apostilled FBI background check (local police check was fine for the consulate as I've lived at my US address for 18 years).


The only real issue I had was trying to schedule the PF appointment on-line.  Tried multiple times with no luck.  So, just went to the PF in Niteroi (1st in line) and they processed me (as someone was available). 


The other issue (my fault) is it appears I only needed to pay one fee, instead of two that I noted from this site (or perhaps elsewhere).  I only needed to pay the one that was ~200 reals.  The ~168 reals one wasn't required, according to the PF, and they told me to go get my money back at Banco do Brasil.  This is in the works - paper work started (we'll see if that happens as the process appears very bureaucratic).

From an International Finance point of view,


There are indications that the USA dollar may have reached its peak and be starting into decline ....in particular the renmimbi and yen are starting to recover from dramatic falls.

Brazil as one of the BRIC 's is an extremely attractive investment option .....large and growing oil exports, large and growing soybean exports and metals, notably iron ore and gold.

Brazil's debt to GDP ratio at 75% is sometimes frowned upon, but it sure is better than the USA, China, or Japan, by a wide margin.  Current inflation eased to 6.5% last month, also considered to be high but better

than the USA or any European country......

If the current bounce turns into a trend change, there could develop a massive flow of foreign investment money coming in to Brazil ....this will have more (positive) impact than any name of any politician.......

@56tbourne

FWIW.

I am married to a Brazilian and we have different takes on their politics.  I am generally pretty Centrist American.  My Wife would call herself liberal, but when it comes down to it she and her family, from the South, all supported Bolsonaro.  They are really socially liberal,.as in 'live & let live'.  But conservative in all other aspects actually if you (try to) equate it to the American scales.



Let's get this clear:  I wouldn't call them Fascists at all, but the 'us vs. them' thing has been growing since I first went to Brasil.   I do think that a lot of the US 'conservative' rhetoric has unfortunately influenced a lot of political dialogue.  Even worse, with Bolsonaro, there is more fascination with 'trumpism'.


Conversely. LULA, the PT, aka more socialist of the parties, has been stirring up a lot of crap as well.   There's a lot of resentment towards him:. "He's corrupt'.  How can we elect an 'ecx-con'?". "He's a Commie".  He'll turn us into Venezuela.'. 'He only panders to 'hiw base' of poor, uneducated people.". Etc.


Now, pull out 'to 40000ft & view it as an outsider who has had business dealings, family relationships & a pretty decent first-hand understanding of Brasil (at least in the South).  Here's my overall take:



Brasil will be fine. 


When I first started my experience with Brasil, in 2004, things were OK.  We bought our 1st Apto & did great with that.  Bought another & did some investing in a family business (agriculture is a good one, BTW).   All made good money, taxes weren't ridiculous for us (but we're not the norm, remember) & we saw our part of Brasil flourish during the LULA years.


There were a couple of high inflation years, but overall they we saw things improve consistently.


The Dilma years seemed OK, but I think that Brasil had some harder times then.  When Bolsonaro came along, things seemed to be going at a healthy pace again.


My general takeaway, politically,  is that both sides' rhetoric is just way too extreme.   They don't seem to have a viable Cenrist, if you wanna call him/her that, to unite both sides & shut off all the nonsense....but, that's the nature of political 'discourse.'.  Dig down, & you'll find that there's more in common, than not in Brasil


I will also say this, as a tangent:. Over the past 18 years, we've benefitted a lot from a strong USD.  We first bought there when the USDBRL was 1.67....today it's around 5.40.


Not sure if any of that had a thing to do with who was president...but it tells me this:.  Brasil is a good investment for an American regardless if who's in power (so far).

There is a thing Brazilians could take and learn from American they seldom ever see through ( which makes all the current hysteria pointless ).....


When the J W Bush administration gave way to the Obama administration, Obama's economic team was the same as Bush's economic team. 


Further back, when Bush Senior gave way to Clinton's administration, NAFTA, which was devised under Bush, went to become law under Clinton's. 


And now, with Biden, you have some Trump's policies that are given continuity ( despite the critics during the campaign trail ). 



What they forget to say is that continuity on domestic and foreign policies is what makes the US an attractive option to investors from the world over.  Investors vie for a stable and favorable business climate, which is only functional when the political environment is stable. 


Taking into account some term administration's mistakes ( and you can go through the whole gamut since LBJ to nowadays ), which means, some were rather less effective ( a lot of folks can't get over Jimmy Carter's fiascos ), on the whole, and you had your share of winners and losers.


With direct investment coming in, a lot from abroad, there were jobs, opportunities as a direct result.  People still complaint about Reagan being an Union buster, and over spending in defense, but some new industries were created as result of his policies. And some bad moves too ( the Savings and Loans scandal comes to mind ).


Clinton's Telecom de-regulation ( spearheaded by his FCC boss,  William Kennard at that time )  could be accounted as a disaster in the works, but he presided over a boom in the tech sector. One slight policy change after Clinton was to reverse Telecom De-Regulation ( thanks to Rep Bill Tauzin ) brought a lot of bad investment in telecom to a string of bankruptcies ( mostly on the wire line last mile, for your bell heads, the CLECs ). So, once again, continuity.


Jimmy Carter airline de-regulation was the main cause to the demise of Eastern Airlines. But trucking de-regulation on rates  became a boon for freight  supercarriers ( hello Fedex) .


Aside from these blips, continuity was the norm. 


The often said thing on US politics was that both isles dial from the same dollar, phrase coined by Ralph Nader.  All it meant was, economic interests, not social unrest, dictate what the policies will be.  There will always be dissenters and losers, but in the overall scheme of things, there are wholesale improvements. 


Folks who ask for a coup, have short memory. A coup brings in loss of civil liberties. They want branches of military to do their bidding ( typical from Brazilians to expect Government to do their bidding, and not solving their issues on their own ). When these folks take over, forget about a functioning Congress, on Civil Liberties. The whole complex and intricate set of mechanism as to what a civil society functions is dumbed down to their version of how things work within their ranks. It can regress as severely as a state of siege.


And it means nothing if you are pro or against of who is in power. You are doing better than your neighbor, or got promoted from your peer rank, there is no saying the person who envied you won't send you to the mat on false allegations of being "unpatriotic".  During Spain's Franco  and  Portugal's Salazar regimes, snitches were to be found everywhere.  Being sent under false pretenses was not uncommon.


The elected victor is 77 years old. How far you think is going to last until someone else takes office ?

Besides, you don't last in office much too long if you don't do the bidding of the powers to be. Economics dictates the politics nowadays. Not the other way around.


At best, the elected can correct a few  excesses from the previous incumbent. Wholesale changes, very unlikely.

Inubia, Archlab and Sprealestatebroker, you folks are spot on. It is refreshing to read realistic, objective, and common sense opinions.