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Brazil set for "free-market perestroika" as economy minister promises mass privatisation

BRAZIL’S economy minister Paulo Guedes plans a “free-market perestroika” in a radical privatisation programme based on the disastrous model forced on Chile after the US-led imperialist coup of 1973.

He claimed his plans were necessary to fix the Brazilian economy and warned there were no “sacred cows” with the country’s state assets up for grabs.

Mr Guedes was speaking to the Financial Times when he promised to deliver a “market-driven economy.”

This would entail breaking from the state intervention and rolling back the social programmes that lifted millions of Brazilians out of poverty.

These were the policies brought in under the governments of former Worker’s Party (PT) presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff.

Mr Guedes, who is the co-founder of the investment bank BTG Pactual and a University of Chicago graduate, claimed that under their leadership Brazil was characterised by corruption and vowed to end the PT “socialist burden.”

“We were a one-legged democracy. The system is corrupt. I mean why did Lula, Brazil’s most popular politician, just get 13 years for corruption?” he asked.

He ignored the claims that the popular former leader has been jailed on trumped-up and politically motivated charges.

In a warning as to what lies in store for Brazil, Mr Guedes insisted the economic model forced on Chile after a US-led coup against the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende was a success.

This claim was made despite the mass disappearances of tens of thousands of people, the crushing of trade unions and unemployment reaching as high as 21 per cent in 1983.

“I saw Chile poorer than Cuba and Venezuela today, and the Chicago boys fixed it. Chile is now like Switzerland,” he claimed.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is an open supporter of military dictatorship, came to power after a campaign marred by violent attacks on his opponents and promises of the biggest purge of the left in Brazil’s history.


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