Opinion: Milking Brazil’s Most Sacred Cow

Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - The most sacred cow in Brazil is Petrobras. When calved in 1953, its birthright included a monopoly over the exploration, production, development, refining and distribution of oil and gas. It lost most of that monopoly in 1995, but it’s never lost its monopolist mentality.

Worse yet, during their terms as President, Lula and Dilma treated Petrobras as their own private political preserve. Lots of their machinations involve refineries, where Petrobras still has over 95 percent of the national capacity - that's the one monopoly the government never relinquished.

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