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Toucan Detente | “Never Will Have So Few Stolen So Little”

 

«An e-mail from Paulo Roberto Costa to Dilma Rousseff in 2009 indicates that she and Lula ignored [were unaware of] alerts about irregularities in Petrobras projeccts used by defendants in the Car Wash case»

«An e-mail from Paulo Roberto Costa to Dilma Rousseff in 2009 indicates that she and Lula ignored [were unaware of] alerts about irregularities in Petrobras projeccts used by defendants in the Car Wash case»

 In the midst of an ongoing moral panic campaign over corruption in Petrobras — a story mostly ignored by the Anglophone and European news media, or treated by stock pickers as a positive case — a dissident voice of the PSDB published a much remarked-upon appeal to partisan detente.

The guest column comes on the heels of an unfortunate tirade by Globo radio journalist  Alexandre Garcia last week, when he stated that |”the 53 million voters” who selected Dilma Rousseff are  “accomplices” of corruption at Petrobras, because the accusations against the state-owned oil company have been known since early this year. At Globo, the commentary was viewed as aggressive, exaggerated, and inopportune.

Globo has a history of calling its audience idiots, like the time Willian Bonner of the primetime news program Jornal Nacional said that his program had to be dumbed down because “our target audience is Homer Simpson.”

By: *RICARDO SEMLER, senior partner, Semco Partners

Source: Viomundo.

Translation: C. Brayton

As a Toucan and not a militant of the PT, I feel perfectly free to declare that the recent wave of arrests targeting executives is a historic step for Brazil.

My company stopped selling equipment to Petrobras in the 1970s. It was impossible to sell directly to the company without paying a bribe. We tried against in the 1980s, 1990s and more recently as well. Forty years of persistent effort and nothing doing.

No one in the business world is not aware of this, and the same is true of the 86 thousand honorable civil servants who gain nothing from sleazy dealings in the executive suite.

The percentages have fallen, however. It is this that has changed. The infamous “cochons des dix pour cent” are well known in Paris: The “piggy banks” that charged 10% of the total importation of petroleum in past decades.

Now we have people in the streets calling for the return of the military to power and an elite scandalized by the diversion of funds from Petrobras.

Holy hypocrisy!

Where were the shame-faced elite during a decade in which tax evasion reached R$ 1 trillion — 100 times the figure involved in the Petrobras case— by public works contractors?

It has become fashionable to escape to Miami, but it is precisely the Miami crowd that buys in Miami using money embezzled here. How deceitful is that?

I hear people speaking in tones of resentment against the impoverished Northeasteners who guaranteed the electoral victory of President Dilma Rousseff. But guaranteeing income for those who have been passed over for decades should be an article of pride for every good Brazilian. No matter what the party.

As a Toucan, and not a PT militant, and having worked with pride for Franco Montoro, Mário Covas, José Serra and President Cardoso, I feel I have the right to declare that the wave of arrests of senior public works executives is a historical step forward for Brazil.

It is naïve to think that this process could have occurred under just any president. Without the expansion of its activities, the Federal Police would never have had the autonomy or means to address corruption schemes whose tentacles reach into the government itself.

But Dilma governs us now, presiding over a nation that is passing through a moment of great pride and hope. Let us not be hypocrites. Let us recognize that we are all on the front lines, and acting swiftly against corruption.

The affair is not over for Petrobras. And there are dozens of other state-owned firms with similar skeletons in the closet. It is rare to obtain a concession or build a road without tangling with the local octopus.

What most do not know is that it is equally difficulty to sell to automakers and countless multinationals without first bribing a director of supplies.

Naturally, the defense lawyers of these executives will reapply for habeas corpus, and some will be released, but there is no taking back the shock and great leap forward the case represents. From here on, Brazil will move forward, and not backward.

The global consultants who monitor corruption estimate that 0.8% of Brazilian GDP is stolen. In the past, this number rose to 3.1%, and in recent decades to 5%. The take from these robberies are falling, but like the Cantareira Dam, in São Paulo, the depth of the mud – “the dead volume” – needs further measurement.

Quite a bit of these funds have always been spent on political parties through cash loans, and votes have been bought in the Congress for decades. And these are the major parties that Brazilians return to power again and again.

We all have a big toe in the mud. Who of us have not accepted a payment without a receipt for a doctor, or brought the building super a beer, or worked from home for a smaller salary?

Let us not be hypocritical. The antidote for this systemic toxin is homeopathic. Let us apply the cure, not to a particular party, but nationwide.

This poison can be counteracted, with determination and serenity, without moral panic or cynical rejection. Let us not wait until we sink to the level of the the emergency reserves. Let us not permit the mud to triumph once again. No one needs to be alerted to the problem. Each of us know that we must act rather than complain.

I personally voted for an end to the long political cycle of the PT, because Dilma and her party made enormous errors in terms of its posture , its acceptance of the corrupt system, and its economic policies.

 

I personally voted for an end to the long political cycle of the PT, because Dilma and her party made an enormous error in terms of its posture , its level of acceptance of the corrupt system, and its economic policies.

But Dilma governs us now, presiding over a nation that is passing through a moment of great pride and hope. Let us not be hypocrites. Let us recognize that we are all on the front lines, and acting swiftly against corruption.

The affair is not over for Petrobras. And there are dozens of other state-owned firms with similar skeletons in the closet. It is rare to obtain a concession or build a road without tangling with the local octopus.

What most do not know is that it is equally difficulty to sell to automakers and countless multinationals without first bribing a director of supplies.

Naturally, the defense lawyers of these executives will reapply for habeas corpus, and some will be released, but there is no taking back the shock and great leap forward the case represents. From here on, Brazil will move forward, and not backward.

The global consultants who monitor corruption estimate that 0.8% of Brazilian GDP is stolen. In the past, this number rose to 3.1%, and in recent decades to 5%. The take from these robberies are falling, but like the Cantareira Dam, in São Paulo, the depth of the mud – “the dead volume” – needs further measurement.

Quite a bit of these funds have always been spent on political parties through cash loans, and votes have been bought in the Congress for decades. And these are the major parties that Brazilians return to power again and again.

We all have a big toe in the mud. Who of us have not accepted a payment without a receipt for a doctor, or brought the building super a beer, or worked from home for a smaller salary?

Let us not be hypocritical. The antidote for this systemic toxin is homeopathic. Let us apply the cure, not to a particular party, but nationwide.

This poison can be diluted, with determination and serenity, without moral panic or cynical resignation. Let us not wait until we sink to the level of the the emergency reserves. Let us not permit the mud to triumph once again. No one needs to be alerted to the problem. Each of us know that we must act rather than complain.