The Latin American left has always used an anti-liberal reasoning as pretext to the socialization of the wealth. The Brazilian left was not different. It has always been repeating as a mantra the motto “The Oil is Ours”. Lula welcomed the supposed self-sufficiency energy reached by Brasil with a similar gesture as Getúlio Vargas: Lula with hands dirty with pre-salt’s oil; the dictator Vargas with the first Petrobras oil, in 1952.
The Fernando Henrique Cardoso (FHC) administration (1995-2002) had privatizations as one of its stronger prints. During the more than twenty years of military dictatorship (1964-1985), a strong system of public enterprises was established as a state capitalism, like the Chinese system. At the end of the dictatorial regime, this system was presenting signs of fatigue and a growing inability to meet the growing needs of the country.
State interference in productive activity favored sectoral corporatism, inefficiency, inability to compete, productive stagnation. Public enterprises suffered from financial instability, poor management, unskilled labor, as top and management positions were occupied by political apointees.
FHC initiated what would be an efficiency revolution in the country. It privatized companies, such as Telebras, that never had been able to provide a good telephony services to the population. The system then provided was was inefficient, expensive and accessible only the rich or to those with influence.
What happened after Telebras privatisation was a real revolution. Within a few years, access turned easier to landlines and still easer to celular mobile phones. But the privatization process of thattime was tainted by corruption. That served as a motto for the Workers’ Party (PT) to deny the value of the entire privatization process, while PT presented itself as the only alternative of moralizing the state and the public sector.
The PT won the elections in 2002, with an euphoric mood anti-privatization, anti-corruption, anti-globalization. Paradoxally, it was success of the Real Plan in controlling inflation and increasing thepurchasing power of the poor, that consolidated the PT government’s triumphalist image.
But had other ideas on mind. It set up a powerful system of control and rigging over the universe of state-owned enterprises. Petrobras, Eletrobras, Eletronuclear, BNDES, all of them have became part of a gear designed to bring illegal resources both to the party coffers and to he pockets of their bosses.
To control the state-owned companies meant maintaining power over the state and providing the necessary resources to fraudulently finance elections. For this reason, a strong ideological campaign against privatization had to be maintained by the PT governments
Current investigations in the Supreme Court show how the PT has co-opted other political parties, including the Michel Temer’s PMDB, for its criminal plan and offer why the left nurtured hatred against privatizations. Now it comes clearer everyday that PT has created the largest corruption plot in worldwide history.
Brazil has to face, courageously, a new phase of privatizations, if the country is again to be focused on grow and to become competitive.