Politics 01-11-2018

Disputes in the environment of Jair Bolsonaro for the control of Petrobras

The military advisers seek to direct the oil company. The future Minister of Economy wants to privatize it.

It was foreseeable that the relationship would be strained between some generals who advise Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on privatizations, and the future Economy Minister Paulo Guedes. The distance of the economist the resolution, nothing less, of who will direct the state Petrobras. During the campaign as a candidate of the Liberal Social Party, Bolsonaro confirmed in interviews, Twitter and Facebook: "We are not going to sell the public oil company. The heart of the company will remain in the hands of the State. " Then it had to transcend, the same Sunday of his victory, that the military of his environment wanted the control of the direction of the company.

The internal intrigues , within the team of the next president, were red-hot when Guedes claimed for himself the appointment of the leadership of that company, which was constituted precisely at the request of the Armed Forces in 1953, when Getulio Vargas was in power . Maybe that's why the oil company went through undamaged governments of the most diverse colors, from the nationalist Vargas onwards.

Now, in the calculations of Guedes, its sale would result in so many hundreds of billions of dollars that would allow overnight to liquidate the internal indebtedness of Brazil. Economists, of all tendencies, said that calculation is unworkable. The truth is that the future minister, who has become the "owner" of several merged portfolios - Finance, Industry and Planning -, now intends to break the military arm in his struggle to bring the economist Roberto Castello Branco to the head of the public oil company. who like him did post doctorates at the University of Chicago. This specialist was director of the Central Bank and also served on the board of the mining company Vale. Among his background are also, having participated in the board of directors of companies linked to the capital market,

The requirement of the generals to stay with Petrobras's management had to do, precisely, with curbing Guedes' privatizing feuds . The own vice-president elect Antonio Hamilton Mourao, pronounced itself against the candidate chosen by the minister of Economy that will have Brazil as of the 1 of January of 2019. According to the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo , Castello Branco denied that it would occupy one of the most relevant positions of the state. "I declined no treat for the fact that nobody invited me," he told the morning paper. He added that "he did not want to comment on that charge, but people close to him (Castello Branco) said that the economist sees the mission with good eyes."

Folha also reported that Bolsonaro "has not yet made any definition" and indicated that Vice Mourao believes that the state should be handed over to the military "because it is a strategic company."

For now, the confrontation "is larvado", but at any moment, said sources consulted by the Brazilian press, "a guerrilla can explode around the management of the public oil company".

This Thursday, Bolsonaro will have to define some issues. First, he must receive Judge Sergio Moro, who was invited by him to occupy the Ministry of Justice. Then comes an interesting streak: at 3:00 pm he will receive the United States Ambassador to Brazil, Michael McKinley. This diplomat is about to leave the country to return to the United States where he will assume the position of advisor to the head of the State Department, Mike Pompeo. The journalists who stand guard at the gates of the condominium where the temporary "presidential" house is located, in Barra da Tijuca, discovered US security by doing a thorough checkup of the place.

General Augusto Heleno, who will be the next defense minister, said Brazil has the best expectations in relation to the US government. "There is no belligerence. There is nothing hidden behind the door. " He also maintained that any negotiation of the military area with the Donald Trump government is "healthy". "Both countries enjoy a lot in the exchange of knowledge. There is no prejudice in relation to the United States Army, as they exist in many Brazilian ideological niches. We have our sovereignty absolutely respected by them. "

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