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Brazilian President Dilma Sneaks Out For A Motorcycle Joy Ride Through The Capital

Montage, obviously: Dilma had her helmet on
Montage, obviously: Dilma had her helmet on
Valdo Cruz and Andréia Sadi

BRASILIA “I threw on a helmet and rode the motorcycle through the streets of Brasilia,” a content Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff recently, and casually, told the country’s Minister of Mines and Energy Edison Lobão, who listened in disbelief.

The minister said that he was shocked at first, just like the reporter to whom he recounted the story. “At first I couldn’t believe it either, but when we met Amaro in the elevator I started to.”

Lobão was referring to the head of presidential security, General Marcos Antônio Amaro, whom he and the Brazilian president ran into toward the end of their conversation last week. Rousseff immediately began bragging. “Even he didn’t know,” she said, certain that her breach had been a secret.

But the president was surprised when the security official promptly replied, “I did know, and sent some company,” adding that a team was instructed to follow her from a distance so as to preserve her feeling of a furtive adventure.

When reporting her deed, Dilma told the minister about how she felt riding a motorcycle around the capital. “I experienced Brasilia’s air better,” she said.

That was a poetic compliment because the city has been suffering from its seasonal drought, when air moisture reaches Saharan levels.

It’s not clear whether Rousseff was riding on the back or whether she was driving herself. According to the Planalto Palace, which has not commented on the episode, the president doesn’t have a permit.

Still dazed by the news, Lobão asked the president about the safety risks. “You must care not only about you and Paula (the president’s daughter), but also 200 million Brazilians,” he told her.

Dilma smiled, thanked the minister for his concern, and said, “Life is full of dangers. Everything in life entails risk.”

When Folha reported Lobão’s story to another minister close to the president, he was skeptical. “The president riding a motorcycle? I can't believe it,” he said. But this isn’t the first time the leader has had a turn with motorcyles.

Carlos Gabas, executive secretary of the Ministry of Social Security and owner of a Harley-Davidson, said that the president not only has asked to hop on his chopper but she has also managed to strike a pose.

Capers such as Rousseff’s are not unprecedented. Lobão recalled that the late General João Batista Figueiredo drove his security personnel crazy by fleeing to ride his motorcycle during his presidency (1979-1985).

“The president had an adventure,” Lobão said. “She deserves it. Her position limits a lot of her leisure options. It’s almost impossible for her to go to theaters, movies, restaurants.”

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why Poland's Break With Ukraine Weakens All Enemies Of Russia — Starting With Poland

Poland’s decision to stop sending weapons to Ukraine is being driven by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party's short-term electoral calculus. Yet the long-term effects on the world stage could deeply undermine the united NATO front against Russia, and the entire Western coalition.

Photo of ​Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Lutsk, Ukraine, on July 9

Bartosz T. Wieliński


WARSAW — Poland has now moved from being the country that was most loudly demanding that arms be sent to Ukraine, to a country that has suddenly announced it was withholding military aid. Even if Poland's actions won't match Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s words, the government has damaged the standing of our country in the region, and in NATO.

“We are no longer providing arms to Ukraine, because we are now arming Poland,” the prime minister declared on Polsat news on Wednesday evening. He didn’t specify which type of arms he was referring to, but his statement was quickly spread on social media by leading figures of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

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When news that Poland would be withholding arms to Ukraine made their way to the headlines of the most important international media outlets, no politician from PiS stepped in to refute the prime minister’s statement. Which means that Morawiecki said exactly what he meant to say.

The era of tight Polish-Ukrainian collaboration, militarily and politically, has thus come to an end.

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