Opinion, by Michael Royster

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The media are having a field day with one of President Dilma’s recent remarks concerning the “bos sacrosanctus”. She recently insisted that the entire fault for the current “Petrolão” scandal can be laid at the feet of former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.
The Curmudgeon, aka Michael Royster.

Why is FHC to blame? Because, quoth La Presidenta, the politically oriented corruption began in the late 1990s, during FHC’s second tenure as President. Had he decided to eliminate that practice, root and branch, it would not have been able to thrive and flourish.

FHC was succeeded as President by Dilma’s former mentor turned tormenter, her wannabe Gepetto, who for eight (8) years… did absolutely nothing at all. It’s not Lula’s fault too? No, she burbles, because he didn’t know about it.

Corruption and Petrobras have been synonymous ever since Getúlio Vargas granted it a monopoly in 1953. Monopolies only run on well-greased wheels. In fact, FHC was responsible for eliminating the Petrobras monopoly on (almost) everything oily and gassy in 1995.

Where FHC failed was the area of refineries, because Petrobras had already gobbled up 99 percent of all capacity in Brazil. It’s no coincidence that the biggest rip-offs in the Petrolão scheme occurred at refineries (Pasadena, Abreu e Lima, Premium I and II) where Petrobras has a monopoly.

What Dilma fails to realize is that in 2002, FHC tried the same tactic she has just adopted — appoint a banker as boss of Petrobras. FHC’s banker had previously been president of the Central Bank, and of BNDES, and of securities watchdog CVM — an honest and capable outsider.

Petrobras insiders, of course, hated him and his banking ethics, because he wasn’t part of any of their schemes. One of Lula’s first acts as President was to fire the banker.

Guess what happened then.

The Curmudgeon will emit more bovine Smidgens opportunely. Stay tuned.


  1. I haven’t the past few weeks as I haven’t known where to begin.

    1) Dilma blames FHC. Dilma will participate in a march against those destroying this national treasure.
    Is she totally out of her mind? Has she totally and finally lost ALL sense of reality?
    2) Petrobras is now JUNK status says Moody’s. Must also be FHC’s fault. He’s been out of office 12 years.
    3) I want to understand how a company that has lost 50% of it’s assets (50% on Oil in the ground and the 75% over valued refineries) and has it’s Dollar denominated debt increase DAILY can remain solvent. And why should it? So it can sell more products to Brasilians at inflated prices? This national treasure needs to be liquidated.
    4) Will someone explain the “Justice” system? The Judge in Eike’s insider trading trial loves speaking about the defendant publicly. The defendants cars, which were seized a couple weeks ago, instead of being sold are being used the Judges for their personal use. Do they have absolutely no shame?
    5) Brazil yet again wants to renegotiate the Auto treaty with Mexico. After the last renegotiation, this year the market was supposed to be totally open. Imagine that! Brazil would have to learn to be competitive!
    But Madame President, rather than change archaic labor laws and cut taxes, wants to shelter “national” companies at the expense of…. The Brazilian Consumer!

    If I weren’t at work and more occupied with other things, I’d list another 10 things that have me pissed off!


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