Petrobras CEO resisting pressure from Bolsonaro to resign: Sources

(Reuters) – The chief executive of Brazil’s state-led oil company Petrobras is resisting pressure from President Jair Bolsonaro to resign following tensions over rising fuel prices, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Roberto Castello Branco was appointed CEO of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the state-controlled firm is known, when Bolsonaro took office at the start of 2019.

While the president has expressed sympathy for truckers threatening to strike over higher diesel prices, Castello Branco has said their complaints are not the company’s problem and insisted that Petrobras will set prices independently of political pressure.

Brazil ‘isolated’ by silence over Biden win

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has faced a barrage of criticism from the media for his failure to congratulate Joe Biden on his victory in the US elections. Prominent commentators said this left the right-wing Brazilian leader “isolated” at home and abroad.

“Isolated in Brazil and in the world, Bolsonaro maintains silence about the USA,” Brazilian news website UOL said. In the months leading up to US election, Brazilian media had widely reported on Bolsonaro’s open support for President Donald Trump.

Daily Folha de Sao Paulo noted that Bolsonaro was accompanied by the leaders of Russia, China and Mexico in not formally congratulating Biden, but it said that the other three presidents “at least presented justifications”, while Bolsonaro’s silence was complete so far.

However, Vice-President Hamilton Mourao said he believed the president was waiting for what he called the post-election “imbroglio” (a fancy word that means “a confusing situation”) in the US to end before taking a position. This “imbroglio” involved “discussion, if there were false votes, or if there weren’t false votes”, Mourao was reported to have said.

Brazilian news website G1 reported that “political advisers and also military members of the government” were recommending that Bolsonaro “recognise Joe Biden’s victory as soon as possible”. “The worry is, increasingly, that Brazil might be left isolated in international diplomacy,” the website said.