BERLIN/BRUSSELS/BRASÍLIA | | brasilien

BERLIN/BRUSSELS/BRASÍLIA (Own report) - The German export industry hails the free trade agreement between the EU and South America's Mercosur trade block. The agreement concluded at the end of last week, following 20 years of negotiations, will drastically lower the tariffs that have been protecting the industries of the four Mercosur member nations, including Brazil. Exporters from the EU will thus obtain access to these countries. According to the EU Commission, this will save €4 billion in tariffs benefiting, largely, German enterprises, the EU's major Mercosur suppliers. Conversely, the agreement opens the EU's agricultural markets to the South American agro-industry - to the detriment, in particular, of French and Irish farmers. In fact, Berlin has imposed the agreement in spite of resistance from Paris. Protest is also being raised in South America, with trade unions warning that it could be a "death sentence" for the local industry, reducing Mercosur to a colonial status of raw materials supplier for the EU and sales market for European companies. more…

BERLIN | | brasilien

BERLIN (Own report) - With a Latin America-Caribbean Conference, the German Foreign Ministry is launching a new political offensive in the struggle for influence in Latin America. Germany and the EU's influence on the subcontinent has been stagnating, while China's importance is growing. The government hopes to counteract this development by helping German companies to increase their opportunities in Latin America - and this at a time when massive protest is being raised against German companies' activities, for example, in Brazil. The Brazilian judiciary has currently taken action against the Technical Control Board (TÜV) South, for its alleged complicity in a dam burst in January of this year, killing more than 250 people. Brazilian activists are also accusing the Bayer and BASF companies of selling agricultural poisons in their country, which are banned in the EU. Over the past decade, more than 2,000 people have died in Brazil from agrochemicals. Berlin is also envisaging the inclusion of Latin American countries into NATO structures. more…

BERLIN/BRASÍLIA/BOGOTÁ | | kolumbienbrasilien

BERLIN/BRASÍLIA/BOGOTÁ (Own report) - Under pretext of rallying "allies for human rights," Germany's Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas (SPD) will meet the two most right-wing presidents of South America. His interlocutor on Tuesday, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, is an avowed supporter of Brazil's military dictatorship. Already within the first month of his incumbency, police murders have drastically increased in his country. Columbia's President Iván Duque, whom Maas will meet thereafter, opposes the peace treaty with the FARC insurgents. Over the past two and a half years, more than 300 government opponents have been assassinated in that country - in most cases with impunity. While the foreign ministry is speaking of having a "foundation of shared values" with Bolsonaro and Duque, Berlin is actually seeking to rally allies in its struggle against China and Russia and to strengthen its position in Latin America vis-à-vis Washington. It is also striving to obtain access to sanctions-proof markets for Germany's export industry. more…

BERLIN/BRASÍLIA | | brasilien

BERLIN/BRASÍLIA (Own report) - The German Ministry for Economic Affairs is calling for an expansion of business with Brazil since the inauguration of its rightwing extremist President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro's government will probably "facilitate investment and trade conditions for foreign companies," therefore "the time to bet on Brazil is now," according to the ministry's written invitation to business initiation trip in the "civil security" sector. Brazil offers the best opportunities, since that South American country has one of the highest murder rates in the world and the government has announced additional expenditures to combat crime. The current president took a stand during his election campaign in favor of police murder of criminals. Military officers make up more than one-third of his cabinet, and his vice president has called for the military to take power, on various occasions. In fact, the armed forces have already begun to correct official presidential decisions to concord with their concepts. more…

BERLIN/BRASÍLIA | | brasilien

BERLIN/BRASÍLIA (Own report) - German business circles are placing high hopes on Brazil's President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro pointing to the economic program of Paulo Guedes, designated to head a super ministry. During Augustino Pinochet's military dictatorship, he was a professor at the University of Chile and his program resembles the economic policy of the Chilean Junta. Since about a year, Guedes has been Bolsonaro's advisor. The Brazilian business community is hailing Bolsonaro, particularly the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), where German businesses hold strong positions. CNI is the Brazilian partner of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). German companies had already cooperated with the Brazilian military dictatorship. Bolsonaro's victory is a deathblow to the policy of cautious redistribution in favor of impoverished segments of society, pursued by Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. This policy was essentially ended with the May 2016 cold putsch - under applause of German business representatives. more…

BRASÍLIA/LIMA/BOGOTÁ/BERLIN | | brasilienkolumbien

BRASÍLIA/LIMA/BOGOTÁ/BERLIN (Own report) - The West's power struggle with Russia has led also to tensions during the German foreign minister's Latin America tour, which ends today. Last Friday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Brazil, which has a "Strategic Partnership" with Germany. However, the country not only refuses to join the sanctions against Russia, it is even intensifying its economic and political cooperation with Moscow. Current relations have therefore become "difficult," according to observers, even though they are good with Peru and Colombia, next on the Foreign Minister's schedule. Both countries are members of the "Pacific Alliance" that is directed against the Venezuela and Cuba inspired ALBA Alliance. The alliance also seeks to enhance its economic activities in East and Southeast Asia, thereby falling in line with Western efforts to position its forces against China at its periphery. Germany was given observer status at the Pacific Alliance and is intensifying military cooperation with its members. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW | | russische-foederationindienbrasiliensuedafrika

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) - The EU and the USA are having little success in inducing friendly nations to join their sanctions against Russia. Following a visit by the EU's Foreign Policy Representative, Federica Mogherini, Ankara announced, Monday, Turkey will not support these measures, but rather continue its cooperation with Moscow. In India, as well, one hears in the lead-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit - which begins today - that cooperation will be continued, because of common interests, for example to defuse Cold War-like tensions. India, along with other countries previously particularly close to the West - such as South Africa and Brazil - have a differentiated view of the Ukrainian conflict, a view, which does not exclude the West's role. For example, in the Indian debate, "the argument that Russia had re-drawn internationally recognized borders in Europe," is not taken seriously - after all, the West had done the same in destroying Yugoslavia, according to a report by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. A Norwegian think tank notes that Brazilian foreign policy makers are no longer inclined to remain silent on western countries' human rights violations, while loudly criticizing those of others. Observers find that the world "order" under western domination is beginning to crumble. more…

BRASILIA/BERLIN | | brasilienmexiko

BRASILIA/BERLIN (Own report) - The German foreign minister is using his current trip to Latin America to implement a new strategy for Berlin's policy as a global power. The strategy foresees Germany forging closer partnerships with so-called regional leading powers throughout the world, to expand Berlin's global influence. In Latin America - the focus of the German foreign minister's current visit - Germany sees Brazil and Mexico in this role. According to experts in Berlin, Brazil is the subcontinental country with "a clear leadership aspiration," which it will be able to fulfill, in the long run, thanks to its "hard power" and its very effective foreign policy. Therefore, it is a highly suitable ally for Germany. Mexico is viewed more skeptically. It places too strong an emphasis on the "doctrine of non-interference" in the affairs of other countries and is too dependent on the USA, according to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). Therefore, extensive groundwork will be necessary. As usual, Berlin camouflages its power policy ambitions with feigned apolitical initiatives. As the foreign minister announced, next year Germany will initiate a "Year of Germany" with comprehensive cultural and scholarly activities. more…

BERLIN/MADRID | | usamexikobrasilien

BERLIN/MADRID The European Union wishes to intensify its economic and political relations with Latin America and the Caribbean region. The German federal government and parliament had previously pressed for the common strategic policy, agreed under the German presidency of the EU in 1999 to be advanced and to overcome the opposition to it in various EU member states. US analysts saw in this co-operation a new ,,solidarity"or ,,common front"against Washington's interests in the region. more…

BERLIN/MEXICO CITY | | mexikobrasilienecuador

BERLIN/MEXICO CITY Germany is now seeking to extend its policy on minorities to central and south America and offers itself as a ,,Protecting Power"to ,,indigenous peoples"of the subcontinent. According to the theme of a conference organised by the Foreign Office, south America must ,,open itself"to permit its peoples to exercise their ,,human rights". Several south American states felt that the conference was a ,,provocation". The ambassador of Ecuador spoke of a German ,,affront". more…