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Professor says increased Bolivian immigration to Brazil is due to crisis there

Brasília - The increase in Bolivian immigrants in Brazil is one of the social consequences of the political crisis affecting that country. This observation was made by Gunther Rudrit, political science professor and specialist at the University of São Paulo (USP). The Bolivian crisis culminated Monday (6) night in President Carlos Mesa's second renunciation request, still to be appreciated by the Congress.

According to Rudrit, many Bolivians live chiefly in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. "There is a large number of Bolivians entering Brazilian territory without training and without jobs. Many of them in Campo Grande [capital of Mato Grosso do Sul] are in the streets begging for handouts, which elevates the social pressure here," the professor explains. He warns that the situation could lead to an increase in urban violence in Brazil.

Another aspect of the Bolivian crisis that is already being felt in Brazil and other South American countries has to do with the gas and petroleum hydrocarbons market. For the specialist, the possibility of an interruption in gas supplies could have serious consequences for the Brazilian economy. The solution, in his view, would be to seek alternatives in countries such as Peru or in other parts of Brazil, such as the Santos basin.

"Petrobrás - Brazilian Petroleum - has already declared that it has halted all investment plans in order to reevaluate the situation. In technical terms, this means that we shall invest no more and shall look for alternatives. Petrobrás, which has made heavy investments, runs the risk of having its gas stations nationaized and not being able to invest there any more, because the taxes will be so high that there will be practically no financial return," he observes.

Irene Lôbo
Reporter - Agência Brasil
Translation: David Silberstein

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