Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Curmudgeon offers a few predictions on what will happen in Brazil during 2012. The first is regarding Ethanol. The “good news” is that the U.S. has now lifted the surtax on imported Brazilian ethanol, which means that a number of Brazilian cane producers will have yet another incentive for not making sugar, but making ethanol.
The bad news is that the producers will sell to the U.S. rather than to Petrobrás, unless Petrobrás pays more than world prices. That means more ethanol available for automobiles in the U.S., at lower prices.
It also means less ethanol available for automobiles in Brazil, which in turn means the government will have to reduce the percentage of ethanol in gasoline from its current twenty to ten percent or less. This means more gasoline will have to be produced and refined, and during 2012 this refining capacity does not exist. Petrobrás will import more and more gasoline and the price of filling up your car’s gas tank will rise at least twenty-five percent.
Truth or Consequences. (A) The Presidential commission on violations of human rights during the military dictatorships of the past has been formed, and it will continue to have opponents in the military, particularly those who remember fondly the days when a non-corrupt military government presided over Brazil’s “economic miracle”.
But the Commission will have a limited sphere of action, because the military have long ago destroyed most of the material that might be helpful to any inquiries into their activities. Moreover, the Brazilian Supreme Court has already declared that the amnesty law, which covered both sides of the conflict between military and leftists, is constitutional even though it was passed by a military government to benefit itself.
So, no prison terms for anyone found to have tortured. In other words, some truth, no consequences.
Truth or Consequences. (B) The Brazilian Congress has passed the equivalent of a Freedom of Information Act, in an effort to encourage more transparency. However, sensitive materials can be kept secret for twenty-five years, and super sensitive materials for 50 years.
The two principal opponents of the law were former Presidents and current Senators José Sarney and Fernando Collor de Mello, both of whom are well known as having encouraged corruption and a complete lack of transparency. Anything they determine is “super sensitive” will be held for the fifty year limit, which means there will be no truth and no consequences whatsoever.
Sports. (A) The 2014 World Cup will face calls to be relocated out of Brazil, as everything that was promised to happen in terms of infrastructure falls further and further behind schedule. This is the consequence of the time-honored system in Brazil for the feathering of political nests, as the politicos exact their ten percent (low estimate) in return for permitting projects which have been based upon blatantly fraudulent practices to have huge cost overruns.
The Ministry of Sports will continue to be the private fiefdom of PCdoB, the Brazilian Communist Party, which will continue to siphon off funds to finance its election needs.
Sports. (B) The row will continue between FIFA and the Brazilian Congress over such “important” topics as who gets discounted seats to the football matches and whether beer can be sold in football stadiums. As of this writing, people who hand in their illegal guns will be entitled to receive tickets for half price, as will oldsters, but not “students” between the ages of fifteen and thirty. Beer seems to be a winner.
Michael Royster, aka THE CURMUDGEON first saw Rio forty-plus years ago, moved here thirty-plus years ago, still loves it, notwithstanding being a charter member of the most persecuted minority in (North) America today, the WASPs (google it!)(get over it!)