Brazilian election: Ciro Gomes rails against privatizations

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Brazilian presidential candidate Ciro Gomes (pictured) of the democratic workers party (PDT) has been railing against privatizations in the country.

Polling 7% in voter surveys for October's general election - behind Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jair Bolsonaro - the nationalist keeps saying he will expropriate oil fields sold to foreign companies if he is elected to be the next president.

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He claims there is no need to accelerate the development of oil reserves in Brazil, as the country is "more than self-sufficient" in oil, and that it is not wise to do this at a time of low hydrocarbons prices.

"This is an asset that belongs to the children and grandchildren of the Brazilian people," he stated in a video posted on social media.

Gomes basically refers to the pre-salt assets auctioned off under the production-sharing regime, where Petrobras gave up its priority operatorship - an option enabled by the end of the single operator rule, approved by President Michel Temer's government in 2016.

The candidate strongly criticized the sale of Petrobras' Carcará prospect (block BM-S-8) to Norway's Statoil. "These bastards gave away Carcará to a Norwegian state-company for US$1.35/ barrel, which is cheaper than a can of coke!"

The author of the book " Próximo Passo: Uma Alternativa Prática Ao Neoliberalismo" (The next step: a practical alternative to neoliberalism) is also a staunch opponent of the privatization of federal electric power holding company Eletrobras, which he considers to be a strategic asset for the country.

"Will we really hand over our water system to foreign companies? Which country in the world does that? Our energy matrix is hydroelectric," he underscored during a recent presentation.


Despite his relatively radical stance, Gomes has a robust curriculum in Brazilian politics, having occupied high-ranking positions in federal, state and municipal authorities.

Born in 1956, he began his career as a lawmaker for Ceará state in 1982 and was reelected four years later, promising to put an end to local corruption.

In 1988 Gomes was elected mayor of Ceará capital Fortaleza but interrupted his term to take over the state government in 1990.

Six years later, he was invited by then-president Itamar Franco to become minister of economy in the midst of a crisis that threatened the nascent Plano Real currency plan.

After failing to become president twice, in 1998 and 2002, Gomes was summoned by election winner Lula to head the national integration ministry, where he remained until 2006.

That year, he was elected lawmaker for Ceará state and, since then, has been a champion of interconnection of the São Francisco basin to dry rivers in the northeast region.