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Coup D’État And Crisis Investing In Brazil

“Kathleen, is Brazil’s recent coup d’état worrying you? I hear that it is implementing a leader worse than what it replaces and it’s nothing but old rich white men taking over through anti-democratic means.

“It’s important for me to live somewhere with strong democracy.

“Thank you kindly for keeping me informed.”

–Wanda M., United States (soon Brazil)

Latin America Correspondent Lee Harrison replies:

I believe that the impeachment of President Rousseff was carried out in accordance with Brazilian law.

It appears to me that the situation is not unlike the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998, which left the United States with a stable democracy. The main difference is that in Brazil the president steps down during trial, while in the United States the president continues to serve.

For me, the more relevant question in the context of Brazil is when is the best time to re-enter this market?

The bargains in Brazil right now are incredible, and the dollar is strong.

I believe Brazil is near the bottom. As an investor with some tolerance for risk, I see this as a crisis-investing opportunity.

***

“Kathleen, I was reading Lief Simon’s article ‘Frankly, The Real Estate Investor Is Better Off Looking Elsewhere‘ published recently, and I would like to give you two pieces of good news.

“According to Receita Federal do Brazil (the Brazilian IRS), a non-resident is not now obliged to file a tax return. He must file one only if he owes Brazil tax.

“In addition, non-residents, individuals, and companies are now able to open bank accounts in Brazilian banks. After a long and tiring negotiation with banks in Brazil, which strictly follow the Brazilian Central Bank regulations for the case, we finally succeeded in getting a unique and special authorization to open bank accounts for our clients who live abroad.”

— Flavio Pinto, our preferred Brazil attorney (April 13, 2010)

***

“Kathleen, I read with interest the comments from the reader who was so defensive about investing in Brazil. I have my own Brazil experience.

“My story is that we opened an office in Brazil expecting to do business because of the sheer number of people living in this country. And we did very well in terms of total sales. Our problem occurred when we tried to take the money out of the country and were told that we could not wire the funds to our headquarters in Florida.

“The next surprise occurred when we were assessed a huge customs fee for a US$16,000 shipment from our office in the States to Brazil. The US$16,000 worth of goods was assessed a US$40,000 customs fee.

“After these and many other similar experiences, including excessive bribes demanded down the line, we decided to close our office in Sao Paulo and forget that we ever had the idea of going to Brazil for business.”

— Randy R., United States (April 13, 2010)

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