BRAZIL: Oil & Nationalism

The No. 1 propaganda success of Brazil's outlawed Communist Party was the slogan O Petróleo é Nosso (The Oil Is Ours). Under that Communist-devised battlecry, Brazilian nationalists have blocked any foreign participation in the development of the nation's oil. A product of the-oil-is-ours nationalism was Brazil's 1953 law, which set up an oil monopoly, Petrobrás, and forbade ownership of shares by foreigners—or even Brazilians married to foreigners.

Currently producing only about 3% of its oil consumption, inflation-plagued Brazil has to pay out much of its desperately needed dollar income for...

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