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In the Book Shops | “The Prince of Privateering”


Source:  Conversa Afiada.

Arriving in bookstores today, August 30, is The Prince of  Privateering *, by journalist Palmério Dóriaauthor of the best-seller Honoráveis Bandidos — < Honor Among Thieves >– which has already sold 130,000 copies.

There is no play on words in English that I can think of to capture the combination of  “privatizing” and the aspersions cast on the “privatization” policies of the PSDB federal government in the late mid- to late 1990s.

What would the noun form be? Privateerization?

“The Prince of  Privateering” is Fernando Henrique Cardoso, so often referred to as the “Prince of Sociology.”

“Privateering” also appears in the title of the best-seller from the Generação publishing house, Privateering Toucans, by Amaury Ribeiro Junior.

Of the 25,000 copies of The Prince already printed, 17,000 will arrive in bookstores throughout Brazil today.

Operation Fog Bank

To accomplish this, the publisher Geração had to mount a veritable military operation.

It had to maintain secret the print shops that would produce the physical exemplars, vary its normal distribution routes and, with those precautions avoid leaks prior to the official launch of the book –- and law suits seeking to impose judicial censorship.

Geração editor Luiz Fernando Emediato recounts in his  “Note from the Editor” that a Toucan friend had called him, asking him not to publish the book and telling him that a law suit had already been prepared.

The fact is that the publishing house suspected that news of the book’s release was leaked by a handful of São Paulo book shops, all of them Toucan in orientation,  as soon as these were informed of the arrival of the first shipment.

For example, Toucan Privateering  was boycotted by some São Paulo booksellers despite its rapid ascension to the best seller list. Attaining best-seller status is the ambition of those behind The Prince of Privateering as well.

Among the revelations of the book is the identity of Mr. X, a source allegedly used by Folha de S. Paulo reporter Fernando Rodrigues.

I am unable to track these down using the Folha integrated search engine, which returns 4 soap opera critiques and spoilers and the like.

Mister X Games

This Mister X recorded the conversations of federal deputies before the vote that approved Cardoso’s reelection in 1997, then passed the conversations on to Rodrigues.

In a series of articles, after the accusation of vote-buying brought by the National Conference of Bishops (CNBB), Rodrigues reproduced the wire transcripts he had received from Mister X.

The story ran on May 16, 2006 and was headlined: “CNBB criticizes candidates supported by campaigns that facilitate “vote-buying. The story runs to about three curt paragraphs

Mister X was never identified.

Not even the PiG — the “coup-plotting mass media” — ever interested itself in who this source really was.

Foi o que fez Palmério.

In his Editor’s Note, Emediato relates that one day,during a conference in San Francisco, as part of a conversation with Fernando Henrique, in a conversation with colleague Bolivar Lamounier, Emediato mentioned the scandal of the slush fund run by PC Farias:

No party or candidate can afford to do without illegal resources.

“But there is a difference between “us” and “them” — said FHC – in that we spend on our campaigns while they put a lot of that money in their pockets.

The book describes in painstaking detail the “privateerization” process — with special attention to the sale of Vale do Rio Doce for a third of its market value.

With that, it turnsits attention to the decisive role played by Ricardo Sergio de Oliveira.

There was irrestible pressure from Padim Pade Cerra [José Serra], as FHC admits in this recorded conversation.

Ricardo Sergio de Oliveira – a name which good manners demand not be uttered in the presence of Toucans — reappears latter … in the privatization of the telecom companies: “Only an idiot would hand over the telephone concession to foreigners,”Bresser-Pereira, just before leaving the .

Ricardo Sérgio is “Mr Big”, the brains behind the maneuvers of the Serra faction as Amaury writes in Toucan Privateeringy.

Palmério also describes the effort to sell Petrobrax.

With an x and not an s

He deals with financial relationship between FHC and one of his main fundraisers, José Eduardo de Andrade Vieira, who owned Bamerindus at the time.

Palmério demystifies the Prince of  Sociology as well: FHC failed in his first two attempts to be admitted to the military college, and failed again in trying to gain admission to the  USP school of law.

Palmerio publishes a table that shows all of the state assets sold by  FHC.

Another table refelects the performance of FHC with that of Lula:. Lula wins by a knockout, as João Sicsú says.

The book also details the complicity of Globo with Serra and his ambition, suppressing any negative details that obstructed the career of PHC: His daughter with a Globo report in Rio, with details,and his rapid flight to Lison and Barcelona when the story broke.

The author of this review — Paulo Henrique Amorim, a partisan blogger and self-identified Huffington clone, who divides him time between private activism and journalism on the Rede Record — goes on to interview the author of today’s release. I am going to skip that.

I am finding barely any book reviews on this latest bit of muckraking. A measure of online sales: neither Saraiva nor Livraria da Vilahave the book in their database yet, but FNAC does, and priced to move.


Site note: My personal difficulty with this Battle of the Books — Some day soon I should survey the anti-government scribes as well –is readibility in its several forms, such as that I need glasses, deeply idiomatic language is used, and a lot of time is required to get through them.

For example, I have FHC’s autobiography  right here next to my copy of Toucan Privateering — and I often find myself getting lost or falling asleep. This gives me no right to criticize on the merits, so I won’t.

You may speak of your Irish gift of gab, but no one manages to equal the “falação pelos cotovelos” — a blabby neighbor “talks through his elbows” —that Brazilian authors so adore.

Another factor: books are shamefully expensive.