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News > Brazil

Brazil: 20,000 Oil Workers on Strike to Halt Privatization Plan

  • Citizens hold a banner reading 'Oil workers' national strike', State of Parana, Brazil, Feb. 11, 2020.

    Citizens hold a banner reading 'Oil workers' national strike', State of Parana, Brazil, Feb. 11, 2020. | Photo: Twitter / @STIQFEPAR

Published 11 February 2020

Workers perceive the increasing deterioration of Petrobras since Bolsonaro became president in 2019.

Over 20,000 workers of the Brazilian state-controlled company Petrobras are carrying out a national strike in protest against the dismissal of workers and the privatization of public assets.


Brazil: Workers' Party Not to Partner With Bolsonaro's Allies

In mid-January, the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro announced the closure of the Parana Nitrogen Fertilizer Factory, a Petrobras subsidiary in which more than 1,000 people worked. The response of the Brazilian working class, however, was immediate.

On Feb. 1, the Single Federation of Tankers (FUP) and the Workers' Single Central (CUT) began an indefinite strike that is becoming a milestone.

After 11 days in a row, the strike has managed to bring together workers from 43 oil platforms, 11 refineries, 18 terminals, 7 land oil fields, 5 thermoelectric plants, 3 administrative bases, 3 units for gas processing, 1 petrochemical complex, and 1 biofuel plant, among other facilities.

In an attempt to contain the workers' unity process, the Bolsonaro administration tried to hire former employees to replace the strikers but the measure was unsuccessful.

Despite the silence of the mainstream media, almost 20,000 workers have been on strike for 11 days at 95 Petrobras facilities located in 13 states of Brazil​​​​​​.

The Brazilian workers are strongly united because they perceive the increasing deterioration of Petrobras since Bolsonaro became president on January 1, 2019.

This public company, which used to be one of the world's largest exporters of oil derivatives, is now the largest importer of U.S. diesel.

On more than one occasion, former Capitan Bolsonaro has praised Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990), which made the privatization of public assets the basis of Chile's economic model.

Following such guidelines, the Economy Minister Paulo Guedes has committed himself to a large shrinking of the Brazilian State and the sale of at least half of the state companies.

To achieve these purposes, the Bolsonaro administration created the Secretariat for Desestatizations and Divestments​​​​​​​​​​​​​​.​​​​​​​

Teachers are also on strike. It is necessary more than ever to fight for a great unity of all threatened by the neoliberal project. For a large referendum revoking the mandate. Out with Bolsonaro.

As part of his privatization plan, the Brazilian president also offered to increase the presence of mining and agricultural companies in Amazonian territories currently controlled by Indigenous Peoples.

To ensure the success of this task, Bolsonaro appointed Pastor Ricardo Lopes as director of the Uncontacted Indigenous Peoples Department at the Indigenous Affairs Agency (FUNAI).

Previously, this evangelical pastor worked for years with the U.S.-based missionary organization New Tribes Mission.

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