By Beatrice E. Rangel
At long last after an excruciating decade in the wilderness, Latin America seems to be finding the way to righteousness again.
This time Brazil provides the stage for the century welcoming play.
Brazil is unique in the Americas.
First, it does not share with the rest of the countries in the hemisphere the Spanish culture or heritage.
Descendants of the Portuguese who were great maritime innovators and managers, Brazil was much better organized and run than the rest of the Latin hemisphere.
Having been the siege of power during Napoleonic wars in Europe, Brazil has inherited a much better sense of nation than most countries in Latin America whose populations continue to experience great difficulties abandoning tribal cultures.
And while Brazil has yet to fulfill the promise of development, recent events indicate that it is in the process of creating the single most important asset for this to happen: rule of law!
Change came in an unexpected way.
Back in 2014, an investigation was started on grounds of money laundering against Roberto Costa, Petrobras Chief of Refining.
Mr. Costa, who was supported in his business dealings by a money manager closed to a jailed mafia boss, saw the handwriting on the wall and decided to cooperate.
Rodrigo Janot, a young prosecutor with a Masters in Law (LLM) from the U.S. was appointed to the case and the rest is history.
These days, Brazil follows the developments of the Petrobras investigation closer and with even more passion than its soccer team.
Led by Mr. Janot, the probe on the oil giant has been conducted in the best U.S. prosecution style.
Cases have been carefully built, advice has been sought and obtained from law enforcement agencies throughout the world, and the U.S.A.'s FinCen and the DOJ have facilitated information exchanges to help unveil evidence.
And as the investigation progresses, Brazilians have been able to see live the destructive powers of corruption.
The vanishing of $7 billion -- the equivalent of the cost of the Brazil stock market and/or the child support program. Economic contraction, inflation and unemployment have all taken hold from Averno in the wake of the Petrobras scandal.
As a result, young deputies have rebelled against their party leadership to put pressure to expel the 141 members of the lower chamber that are either being investigated or have suspended sentences for their involvement in the corruption.
Young Senators are doing the same with respect to 20 colleagues also under investigation for diverse corruption cases.
Electoral Tribunal members met with their Chair and decided not to process the government instructions to watch elections in Venezuela. According to the tribunal membership, conditions are not warranted for a transparent process in Venezuela, thus the body will not participate in the UNASUR mission.
Young entrepreneurs are getting ready to raid corporations that had corruption as the main ingredient of their value chain.
And the prospects of President Rousseff being able to hand over the mantle of power to a chosen successor seem to dim every day.
In the end, a young and law abiding generation seems to be climbing to the top. And this will differentiate Brazil from the rest of its peers as the rule of law is the secret ingredient to unleashing the full power of economic creation.
The ugly was this week portrayed by the Wall Street Journal
revelation on the probe underway of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) for money laundering and collaboration with organized crime.
Corruption was, of course, only mentioned en passant as for the current Venezuelan regime that seems to be a misdemeanor.
The truth of the matter is that current Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.N. and former Minister of Energy, PDVSA CEO, and Finance Minister, Mr Rafael Ramirez will make history for having turned a Fortune 500 company into a bankrupt corrupt organization and a RICO target.
Soon the application of the RICO law principles will lead the U.S. to prevent any U.S. bank from doing business with PDVSA. And while there will of course be many Middle Eastern, European, Russian & Chinese banks in line to pick up the account, PDVSA will eventually collapse under the pressure of unsustainable debt and decapitalization. That outcome will perhaps not play wrong for the future of a country that desperately needs private initiative to rebuild its future. Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas
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