Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, appointed an army reserve general to lead state-owned energy giant Petrobras, after criticizing several successive increases in the price of fuel.
“The government decided to appoint Joaquim Silva e Luna to fulfill a new mission, as… president of Petrobras, after closing the cycle, exceeding two years, of the current president Roberto Castello Branco,” said a brief note from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, published by the president on his Facebook account.
Silva e Luna, formerly the defense minister under president Michel Temer, had been serving as general director of the Itaipu Binacional dam.
His nomination will have to be confirmed by the Petrobras board of directors.
Earlier Friday Bolsonaro had announced that there would be “changes” at Petrobras.
“We will never interfere in this great company, nor in its pricing policy, but people cannot be surprised with certain increases,” Bolsonaro said during a morning event in the northeastern state of Pernambuco. He did not give further details.
His statements were followed by a sharp drop in the oil company’s share prices. They closed down 7.92 percent Friday, with preferred shares down 6.63 percent.
Petrobras has increased fuel prices four times so far in 2021, a cumulative rise of nearly 35 percent.
The price of gas cylinders, widely used by poor families, has also increased considerably this year, a new blow to people already severely affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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