Author Archives: Cecilia Vaccari

On portraits and the Saab trial – Following the largest bankruptsy in Sweden

Former Saab Automobile's CEO, Jan Åke Jonsson, in trial suspected of gross tax obstruction. Photo: Joachim Nywall

Former Saab Automobile’s CEO, Jan Åke Jonsson, suspected of gross economic crimes. Photo: Joachim Nywall / TTELA

I have just started studying a new course at Uppsala University, The Mask of Beauty. The course will provide me with tools to study the various ideals that has characterized the perception of the human body, the dress and beauty ideals in different historical eras. Even though the course has just begun it has already made me wonder if a news photo, like the one above, could be considered a portrait.

Through history it has been debated if portraits are to be considered as art or not. The Art History Professor, Shearer West, argues in Portraiture that this type of artistic representation is about both body and soul (West 2004, 37):

It represents the “front” of a person – their gesture, expression, and manner – in such a way as to convey their distinct identity as well as to link him or her to a particular social milieu.

The trial against seven former executives and directors of Saab Automobile, suspected of gross economic crimes, began today in Vänersborg, Sweden. The car manufacturer declared bankruptcy five years ago and the trial is the beginning of the closure of this nightmare. I was reporting live from the first day in court today. The former Saab officials face long prison sentences, if they are convicted. One of the accused is the bankrupt company’s former CEO, Jan Åke Jonsson.

A man worthy of the media’s attention

I would like to argue that the photo above could be regarded as a portrait. Even though it is taken on the run one can decipher quite a lot about Jan Åke Jonsson from it.

The picture reveals that this is an important person, worthy of the media’s attention, besides from myself trying to interview him one can see a tv camera filming him, a person photographing him with a cell phone and of course the photographer that took the photo. One should also bear in mind that one can sense motion in the picture and that the above mentioned media personell were the ones present at this particular framing.

One can also discern that this important man is refusing to dignify the Reporter (i.e. me) attempting to interview him with an answer. The Reporter’s jaw clenching indicates frustration over being ignored. His gaze is set afar, not even looking at the Journalist addressing him, and the apparent movement indicates flight. These signs indicate a man under distress.

His attire is proper with an aire of casual elegance. The type of scarf and the way he has tied it give a hint of a posh expression. One can also tell he is wearing a blue blazer under his jacket. His hair is properly cut and neetly arranged. It is not possible to determine his age, but his gray hair indicate that he is probably a few years past middle age.

 

Good life endangered

The mentioned symbols combined with the subject’s expressions in this particular environment manage to convey the “front” of this man. He is in fact a prosperous 65-year-old man who’s reputation and life as a free man is hanging by a thread.

READ MORE: Former Saab Officials in trial now (Swedish)

His only option is to defend himself against the allegations upright and hope to be acquitted, in which case he can continue to lead a comfortable life. Knowing that this picture was taken in court further conclusions can be drawn by the fact that he is not hiding his face from the media, this trait is also associated with the previous mentioned fact that his future career depends on the dismissal of the charges.

 

The Saab trial

Seven people were ultimately charged accused of gross economic crimes. The charges include gross tax evasion, gross obstruction of tax inspection, gross racketeering, misrepresentation  and gross forgery. Each separate crime is punishable by between four to six  years in prison.

READ MORE: From Independence Day to Judgement Day (Swedish)

READ MORE: Former Saab Officials charged in Sweden (English)

The investigation has taken five years to be concluded. It has ben conducted by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority. The trial is scheduled for 23 days, the final negotiation day is March 29th. The same date that the production was halted for the first time in 2011 at the Saab Automobile factory in Trollhättan, Sweden. The verdict is expected later this year in May or June.

Saab and Brazil postpone Gripen finances

A miniature of what the Swedish-Brazilian Saab Gripen NG fighter will look like, if the plans go ahead.

A miniature of what the Swedish-Brazilian Saab Gripen NG fighter will look like, if plans go ahead. Photo: Agência Brasil

Worlds collide when the masters of spontaneity are aiming to do business with the center of Nordic Noir. At the very last minute the Brazilian Defense Ministry and the Swedish company Saab agreed to postpone the signing of the contract that will define the financial details for Brazil’s buying Swedish Gripen fighters.

The deadline for signing the contract was Monday July 6th 2015, but it is now to be signed in late October instead. The adjourning required President Dilma Rousseff to call her Swedish colleague, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and beg for time. However, the compromise comes with a catch. Until late October, the contract and its terms are to be approved by the Brazilian National Congress.

The Brazilian Air Force Commander, Nivaldo Rossato, and Saab executives met with the Brazilian Defense Minister, Jaques Wagner, to come to an agreement. Wagner claimed that there is not possibility of Brazil backing out of purchasing the Gripen fighters. He promised that an effort will be made to determine the financial details.

Brazil bargaining

The Brazilian Air Force signed a contract in October last year to buy the Swedish fighters to a cost of US$ 5,4 billion. However, Brazil is determined to renegotiate the interest that was agreed upon in the contract, since the economy in the country is suffering a recession.

The Brazilian Minister of Finance, Joaquim Levy, claims that a renegotiation of the interests will save the country over US$ 300 million in 25 years. Furthermore, the Minister wants to use the renegotiated Saab contract as a model to revise other international contracts that have been signed by other Ministries. Since the interests have fallen in Europe, the Brazilians see an opportunity to improve their stakes. In an informal ambient this kind of behavior is called “jeitinho”, a Brazilian way of rearranging a done deal so that the benefits increase.

On the opposite side of the globe, the Swedes are great fans of rules and efficiency, tending to arrive at least five minutes early to meetings. Behind the scenes there are claims that the Swedes have argued that a renegotiation of the interest is a violation towards the OECD’s Export Credit Arrangement. A breach of the arrangement could lead to reprisals from the World Trade Organization (WTO). Accordingly, the Swedes insist that the interest was defined the day the contract was signed in 2014.

In Brazil’s 2015 budget, R$ 1 billion (approximately US$ 320 million) have been reserved for the buying of the Swedish jets. However, since a long-term plan to pay off the planes is being structured, the Brazilians do not expect to apply all of the money that has been set aside.

Economy collapsing

With an increasingly tense domestic situation ignited by the Petrobras corruption scandal which has generated demands to impeach President Rousseff and inflation hitting 8,89% it is alarming that Brazil chooses to suspend the Saab contract. Not to mention the financial blow after the most expensive FIFA World Cup ever and the Olympics coming up next year, which are also bleeding money and are as late as the preparations for the World Cup.

To samba your way around your own country, wasting your proper means is one thing. But when you ask a Gringo for a dance, you cannot expect them to fall for you charms. Certainly not in a world concerned enough as it is with Grexit and the future of Europe.

Venezuela: President Maduro granted power to govern by decree

Maduro supporters celebrating the "anti-imperialist" law. Photo by AP

Maduro supporters celebrating the “anti-imperialist” law. Photo by AP

The Venezuelan parliament approved the proposed law on Sunday giving President Nicolás Maduro the power to legislate by decree for the rest of the year. The President requested the exception after the U.S. issued new sanctions against Venezuelan officials.

The measure is called the “anti-imperialist” law and will  be valid from the time it is published in the Venezuelan Official Gazette until December 31, 2015. Maduro’s Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela is in the majority in the nation’s parliament. Critics claim that this is a tactic that is meant to disturb the parliamentary elections that are due later this year and to divert attention from the economical crisis the country is facing.

After the President had received the decree thousands of Venezuelans joined him and his party on an “anti-imperialist demonstration”. Maduro declared that he was happy that they had won the people’s support and the support from neighbors.

After yet another UNASUR meeting in Quito, Ecuador, Saturday (March, 14th)  the foreign ministers of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela unanimously denounced US sanctions and military intervention. However, underlining that they look forward to accompanying the parliamentary elections scheduled for December. Cuba’s government has added that the sanctions are “arbitrary and aggressive.”

– They may have the power of the dollar, the power of the media and a murderous military force, but we have something they don’t have: the power of integrity,” said President Maduro.”This legislation gives me the power to defend peace and sovereignty.”

The seventh Summit of the Americas will be held next month in Panama. Maduro and Obama will meeting face to face. The U.S. was most certainly hoping for this event to be an opening to speak of the changes in the relationship to Cuba and consequently the possibilities of restoring economic growth across the region. But with the increasing provocations between the U.S and Venezuela in combination with the support the South American nation is getting from its neighbors, the expectations on the Summit are changing dramatically.

Brazilian Ministry investigates price of Saab Gripen

Brazil joins Sweden in becoming the launch customer for the next-generation Gripen. Photo by Saab.

Price of the Saab Gripen New Generation questioned. Photo by Saab.

The final contract that was signed by the Brazilian Air Force and the Swedish Defense company Saab was US$ 900 million dollars more expensive than the initial estimate. The Federal Public Ministry of Brazil (MPF) is now examining if there are any irregularities behind the final pricing of the Saab Gripen NG.

36 Saab Gripen NG fighters were ordered by the Brazilian Air Force at a total sum of US$ 5,4 billion and the contract was signed in mid October 2014. Brazilian congressmen questioned that the price had gone up with approximately 20 percent of the original price of US$ 4,5 billions. Since then media have continued inquiring the matter.

The press stab at the Federal Public Ministry of Brazil confirms over the telephone that a preparatory investigation was initiated on February 19th of this year:

–       We are at the first stage of the investigation process, examining if there are any irregularities involved in the pricing of the fighters. It is not yet a judicial process. We are evaluating if there are any reasons for us to initiate a proper legal process.

Since there had been many speculations on the topic an investigator at the ministry decided to initiate the process. A new investigator is to be assigned to the case next week, taking over after general inspector Eliana Pires Rocha.

 

Brazilian demands caused price elevation

Saab’s CEO Håkan Buskhe was questioned by the Brazilian TV channel Globo on the final pricing in November last year, approximately a month after the deal was closed:

– Basically the price went up because of the requirements of the client. We offered a product and they has additional claims, such as the Wide Area Display (WAD), according to Buskhe.

The alterations are the reason that the price was increased US$ 900 millions compared to the original proposal presented in 2009, according to both Saab and the Brazilian Air Force. The competitors for the deal were the American Boeing F-18 and the French Rafale, produced by French Dassault.

 

Brazilians take to the streets Sunday

On March 15th protests have been scheduled in over 200 cities all over Brazil, calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rouseff. The largest corruption scheme ever in the country, Operação Lava Jato where the state owned oil giant Petrobras is accused of laundering money to politicians at a sum of at least US$ 10 million and the overall weak economy in the country have cause the support for the President to plummet.

A Datafolha poll in February shows that 52 percent of the Brazilians believe that Dilma not only knew about the corruption scheme but that she also let it happen. Moreover, 44 percent disapprove of her administration. Thus the protesters are calling for the impeachment of the President.

The measure leans on the historic background of the country where President Fernando Collor was impeached in 1992 after involvement in a corruption scandal. The oppositional party PSDB and former presidential candidate Aécio Neves are supporting the protests planned for Sunday. However, Neves claims that he does not support the impeachment of the President.

Critics claim that the protest movement is in fact orchestrated by the opposition and the commercial media to overthrow the government. The elections were concluded by the end of last year and the will of 54 million Brazilians then was that the country remained in the power of the Worker’s Party (PT) and President Dilma.

 

Fear of Venezuela or the US?

 

Women protesting on the International Women's day in Caracas against the use of military weapon against protesters and for the resignation of President Maduro. Photo by AFP

Women protesting on the International Women’s day in Caracas against the use of military weapon against protesters and for the resignation of President Maduro. Photo by AFP

The string of a relation between Venezuela and the US is about to burst. It is a consequence of the increasingly strained economy and discontent from the population towards the Venezuelan government. Politicians of the opposition are being imprisoned and censoring of the media is increasing. As if that was not enough provoking the government has close ties to some of the US most despised enemies, other Communist states.

Venezuela and the US have both imposed sanctions against each other. They blamed each other for the economic and social problems in the Latin country. The US is now accusing Venezuela of being a threat to their national security. On the other hand Venezuela is to seek decree powers from the National Assembly to defend the country against imperialism.

The underlying reason for the increased tension between the countries is the plummeting oil price. Since oil is Venezuela’s largest industry the cut backs have been made to the extent that people are fed up. Maduro’s response to the latest US sanctions is to incriminate the Yankees of planning an invasion. The accusation might provoke unity of the Venezuelan people against the neighbor in the North or on the contrary fraction it even more.

By cartoonist Latuff.

By cartoonist Latuff.

The Union of South American Nations (USAN) condemn the US sanctions against Venezuela, insisting that the Venezuelan’s should take care of their own affairs. For over a year people have been taking to the streets, building up. The discontent is more wide spread than ever and only 20 percent of the Venezuelan’s confide in their President Nicolas Maduro, Chávez political son.

 

Nicolas Maduro

Only 1 out of 5 Venezuelans support President Nicolas Maduro. Photo: AP

It is being questioned if Maduro is trying to cause disturbance to provoke the postponing of the parliamentary elections that are to take place in Venezuela by the end of the year. The USAN has agreed to surveying the primary and general elections.

Even emptier stores, more power shortages and increasing violence against protesters intensify the sense that collapse is looming near. If the build up of the Venezuelan and US conflict continues at this speed it is only a matter of time before the other states of Latin America start positioning either as afraid of Venezuela or of a US invasion on a neighboring country.

 

Building up for the summer

This is a time of build up for the summer. The fruits I have planted are slowly ripening and I am on a roll preparing. Summer is the most opportune period to try on working in new places and I hunger for new challenges.

Work took me to Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, and according to many the most sociable one. People are friendly in the streets and you always meet new acquaintances. That is not the norm in Sweden since most Swedes are shy. One could claim that Gothenburg is where you get the friendly Swedes a bit faster and in more unpredictable ways.

Swedish Television’s Gothenburg office is by far the best working place I have been in. The job has been fantastic, I have given of my knowledge and learned a lot. I planned and carried out a trip with stops in four different countries. Solving the unexpected situations was by far the best, it always is.

I have gotten two scholarships from The Swedish Union of Journalists. One is to study Business Journalism at Sweden’s oldest Journalism school, Poppius. The other is to attend the annual seminar of The Swedish Association of Investigative Journalism. To top it off, after so much build up, I am studying a distance course on Foreign Affairs and Globalization.

There’s a time to ponder new impressions and there’s a time to start getting back in the heat. The world is calling.

 

Have you got any interesting news or investigative tips? Send me a mail at ceciliajournalist (at) gmail.com

Walking towards Stockholm's Central Station after my first day of class at Poppius. Spring in Stockholm.

Walking towards Stockholm’s Central Station after my first class at Poppius. Spring in Stockholm.

Democratic Sweden collapsing

Exit to the left: Red-Green. On top: Sweden Democrats. Hungry underdogs looking up: the Blue Alliance.

Exit to the left: Red-Green. On top: Sweden Democrats. Hungry underdogs: the Blue Alliance.

New elections have been announced in Sweden today. The reason is that the right-wing populist party, the Sweden Democrats, have voted on the opposition’s budget instead of the new minority government’s. The newly announced Prime Minister Stefan Löfven chose to renounce from his new post and let the people of Sweden decide their future yet again at the urns.

Sweden has until today been seen as an example for Democracy. But today the Democratic example has seen its parliament collapse. The budget proposed for 2015 by the Social Democrats, the new leading party of the country, was not approved because the Sweden Democrats refuse it. They consider it to focus more money on immigration than the extreme right wing-party desires.

Elections were held in Sweden in mid-September 2014. The Social Democratic Party received the largest number of votes together with its partner the Environmental Party. The Swedish people voted for the coalition that had been promised between the Reds and the Environmental Party, leaving their tradtional partner the Left Party to simply support their politics but not be an offical partner in government.

The Sweden Democrats got less than 13 percent of the votes in the election, but in spite of that they have managed to rearrange the entire political map of Sweden. Now it is up to all parties to prepare for a new round that will settle the future of the country. The Sweden Democrats have promised to vote against any budget that is opposite to their demands for lowered costs on immigration.

 

The right-wing populist parties support among voters in Scandinavia: Sweden Democrats 12,9%, Norway's Fremskrittspartiet 16,3% and Høyre 26,8%, Finland's Sannfinländarna 19,0% and Denmark's Dansk Folkeparti 12,3%.

The right-wing populist parties support among voters in Scandinavia: Sweden Democrats 12,9%, Norway’s Fremskrittspartiet 16,3% and Høyre 26,8%, Finland’s Sannfinländarna 19,0% and Denmark’s Dansk Folkeparti 12,3%.

Right-wing populist power in Scandinavia

In Sweden’s neighboring countries the right-wing populist parties have already gained large influence. In Sweden, their confirmation of power comes with a boom. The crouching Prime Minister complained on the Sweden Democrats lack of morals at knowing their plans a day before the voting: “This is a breach against the code of conduct at budget negotiations”.

But the Sweden Democrats do not care about anybody else’s morals. They have their objectives and will not back. The Rightist Alliance, right-wing and liberal parties, led by the Moderates say they welcome the challenge to see who will win the people’s confidence after a failed democratic project.

The Alliance has led Sweden the past eight years but were voted away this year. The government has been very successful in maintaining Sweden economically stable even though a crisis is affecting the rest of Europe. But they have been increasingly criticized for worsening key parts of the Swedish society such as Health and Education.

A reelection has not been held in Sweden since 1958. The new elections will be held March 22nd 2015. This is a historic moment that the country is experiencing, where the new Prime Minister has to continue ruling the country on the opposition’s budget. From the new year Red will be Blue.

 

 The Daily Show report on how Sweden used to be seen before today

The last eight years of Alliance rule Sweden has moved further and further away from its “Communist Sweden” days. What color the country prefers after a quarter of a year of contrariwise rule is yet to be discovered: Red, Blue or Brown.

Over 100 Gripen fighters to Brazil

 

Brazil joins Sweden in becoming the launch customer for the next-generation Gripen. Photo by Saab.

Brazil wants a next-generation air force with the Swedish Gripen. Photo by Saab.

A highly positioned source has confirmed that the Brazilian Air Force will buy a total of 108 Gripen fighters from Swedish Saab. According to the aviation magazine Flightglobal the batches will be delivered in three rounds.

 

Brazil signed the contract with Saab to buy Gripen just before President Dilma Rousseff was reelected in mid October. Just about a month later the source claims that 36 fighters was only an initial order. The Brazilian Air Force is in need of renewal and everything indicates that it will be partly Swedish.

 

The contract requires that the vast part of the fighters will be produced in Brazil. Therefore an extended deal will accordingly result in more work for the people in the country. It will also lead to more jobs in Sweden as well as a lowered production cost to the country itself which has already decided to buy Gripen for its own Defense.

 

At this point there are several exchange programs between universities and organisations in Brazil and Sweden. This tendency will increase even more if the rumours are right.

 

 

The Falklands ghost end Argentinian Gripen dream

The Falklands War ended June 14, 1982 efter the death of 655 Argentines, 255 Britons and three islanders.

The Falklands War ended June 14, 1982 efter the death of 655 Argentines, 255 Britons and three islanders.

Only three weeks after Argentina signed a contract of intention with Brazil to buy 24 Saab Gripen fighters the future deal is cancelled by the British. Politics have won over the will to cash in.

Many were surprised to see the Argentinan Defense Minister Augustín Rossi sign the contract with the Brazilian government to buy Swedish planes. Brazil had not yet signed the contract with Saab that they want to buy 36 Saab Gripen for its own country at that point, Oct. 21.

“Even if Brazil will build most of their own fighter at home they do not own the rights to sell new planes to somebody else. Alternatively, they would have to sell the majority of the planes they intend on buying for themselves, if they close the deal properly” contrasts Christina Zander, reporter at the Wall Street Journal in Stockholm to the blog.

However, it was not Saab, the Swedish company that actually invented Gripen that objected to the South American dream of co-operation, it was Argentina’s long time rival Great Britain. The Saab fighter is not only Swedish but made up of technology from other countries, among which it is 30 percent British. Parts such as the radar, landing gear and electronic system are all produced in Great Britain.

The sale of British military and dual-use technology for use in Argentina has been banned by the British government since 2012: “We are determined to ensure that no British-licensable exports or trade have the potential to be used by Argentina to impose an economic blockade on the Falkland Islanders or inhibit their legitimate rights to develop their own economy,” said a spokesperson for the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to Defense News.

Saab has no plans of pulling out of their cooperation with Great Britain, which leaves Argentina to finish their discussions with Spain to buy their old Mirage F1s. The Argentinians have managed to deepen the Falkland Islands conflict, proving to the Brits that they are set on re-equipping. Britain is now bound to rethink their strategy to defend their outpost in the South Atlantic.

Shooting documentary on Sámi women

Shooting the marking of the reindeer calves in Guorbak, Sweden.

Shooting the marking of the reindeer calves in Guorbak, Sweden.

 

A month and a half ago I got to experience the Sámi’s slaughtering of reindeers in Guorbak, situated in the extreme north of Sweden. I had no idea of how much I would fall in love with the Sami culture, the animals and the nature. It was the start of one of the most important journeys I will make in my life. My thanks to the indigenous people of Sweden will be given through the documentary I am shooting, a tribute to the Sámi culture and some of the people who are taking it to the future.

Being indigenous in the 21st century is an enormous challenge in a world that focuses on cash flow and the following consumption. The Sami culture is built around a unique way of life that is a part of and inseparable from the natural world.

Me and Nadja Levin building her house and shooting my documentary in Nautijaur.

Me and Nadja Levin building her house and shooting my documentary in Nautijaur.

One of my best friends from high school and nowadays neighbor in Uppsala is Sámi. She got in touch with her roots during her university studies since she undertook her classes at a distance from her mother’s cottage in Laponia. Today I am helping her to build a house next to that cottage because everyday that passes her heritage calls out even stronger to her. But ever since she finished her studies she has done a sky rocket career at a multinational corporation. That is another dream and it is her constant challenge to spend 15 weeks a year up in the north and still keep the pace that is required for her to keep climbing the career latter. When it all comes down to it: will she be able to live the life that the whispers of her ancestry are calling for or will she become a global leader at an enterprise?

This is one of the stories I will tell in my documentary. A lot more is to come from this treasure chest that is Sápmi, the land of the Sámis.

 

Shooting mountains and the Sápmi nature at Sörberget, right off Nautijaur. Photo by Pettan Johansson.

Shooting mountains and the Sápmi nature at Sörberget, right off Nautijaur. Photo by Pettan Johansson.

Do you want to know more about the documentary? Or do you want me to write or produce a tv report for you on this subject? Send me a mail at ceciliajournalist (at) gmail.com

Brazilian-Swedish Gripen secures future fighters and economy

Saab and the Brazilian Airforce sign the $5.4 billion contract. Photo by Brazilian Airforce.

Saab and the Brazilian Airforce sign the $5.4 billion contract. Photo by the Brazilian Airforce.

Hours after President Dilma Rousseff was reelected in Brazil, Saab announced that the $5.4 billion contract for selling 36 Gripen NG fighters to the Brazilian Air Force has been signed. It is currently one of the most valuable defense contracts negotiated in an emerging market. The conclusion of the deal is a turn point for Brazilian industry, Saab and for the new Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.

After a week of strengthening due to the suspected submarine, the Saab stock now continues rising due to the closing of the contract with Brazil. Since the suspected submarine was first spotted October 17th until today when the Brazilian contract was confirmed, the stock has increased with 10 percent.

The contract requires that 80 percent of the Gripen fighters are constructed on Brazilian soil. Igniting the aerospace industry is exactly what President Dilma needs in a Brazil where increasing inflation, stagnation and diminishing investments are a fact.

Brazil joins Sweden in becoming the launch customer for the next-generation Gripen. Photo by Saab.

Brazil joins Sweden in becoming the launch customer for the next-generation Gripen. Photo by Saab.

Collateral deals and thousands of jobs

“We will transfer technology and the capacity to project and construct fighters” Håkan Buskhe, President of Saab affirms. The Brazilian company Embraer will lead the local fabrication of the planes but other Brazilian companies will also participate, such as AEL, Akaer, Atech and SBTA. The development and production of Gripen NG will generate thousands of employments directly and indirectly in Brazil.

“This will be a leap, not only for Embraer, but for our industry as a whole”, declares Lieutenant General Alvani Adão da Silva, Director of the Department of Science and Aerospacial Technology in Brazil. The Southern American giant will participate in the development of the Gripen NG and will be responsible of the version for two pilots. The Brazilian contract includes 28 single-seat and 8 two-seat Gripen NG.

The Gripen fighters are to be delivered between 2019 and 2024. This also implies that Brazil will need to rent older Gripen C/D jets from the Swedish Armed Forces before the delivery date to cover defense needs, such as the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s Mirage 2000 jets were retired in December of 2013 and currently the even older F-5EM are being used.

Impact in Sweden

This deal is of importance to the country of Sweden that recently declared that it will buy 60 new Saab Gripen jets. With the Brazilian contract the costs for developing the plane will drop since they will be split between the two countries.

“The real financial winner in this case is Sweden. Saab, of course, as well but primarily Sweden and the Swedish Defense. I cannot say exactly how much money the Swedish state will earn with the deal because of secrecy of the contract. However, I can say that it’s a considerable amount of money due to the division of costs and development”, says Saab’s President Håkan Buskhe.

I have personally, in confidential discussions with another Swedish Minister, been made aware that there are plans of broadening the Brazilian-Swedish collaboration. These intentions involve other areas of cooperation than the industry market. The aim is to increase a cultural and social interchange, beyond the commercial relation.

Sweden’s new Lula

Sweden and Brazil have a long history of successful industrial cooperation and history might just intensify the cooperation in the future. The new Swedish Prime Minister Stefen Löfven is an old friend of the creator of the Brazilian Worker’s Party, ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Both were welders before becoming active labor unionists and after years of struggle both reached the posts as Presidents of the Steel Worker’s Union in their respective countries. During a visit to Sweden Lula even slept at Löfven’s couch.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Brazil's ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photos by Mattias Vespä and Ricardo Stuckert.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Brazil’s ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Photos by Mattias Vespä and Ricardo Stuckert.

“We cannot live on conflict, we have to try to find solutions as well. Going about and fighting others is not my thing.” Comments as such have so far established Löfven as a “nice” politician, unable to beat his rival to the post as Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, in debates before the elections. On the other hand he stirred up quite a conflict declaring that Sweden will recognize Palestine as a state.

Löfven is now the leader of one of the weakest minority governments in Swedish history with merely 40 percent of the seats in the parliament. Therefore it would be wise to take this opportunity and develop a strong collaboration with Brazil, built on former contacts and cooperation. With the right media strategy Löfven could become an equivalent to Lula in Sweden, maybe not the sharpest politician but by building strategic business alliances the economy will grow and the people’s love will flourish as a consequence.

The future of Swedish fighters secured

Buskhe has not commented the fact that Brazil and Argentina have signed a contract where Argentina says it intends to buy Gripen from Brazil. However, with the Brazilians buying Gripen the fighter’s future is secured until 2050.

Regardless of Argentina’s next move, the Brazilian deal increases the possibilities of further exports. The competition on the fighter market is heavy but Saab is now certain that it will continue in the fight of developing next generation’s fighters.

 

 

Do you want me to write a story for you on this topic or something else?

E-mail me at ceciliajournalist (at) gmail.com