The man tipped by many for this task is Fernando Collor de Mello. He currently holds nearly 45 percent in polls of voters who have made up their mind, which is more than all the other candidates put together. At only 39, he was virtually unheard of eight months ago as governor of the tiny northeastern state of Alagoas. His youth, clean good looks and easy manner have charmed Brazil-with its largely ill-educated and impoverished electorate-which requires any successful politician to be a populist. Color, with his slogan “Vamos construir um
Once a playboy of the
But what of the politics Color would pursue? In a recent interview, CE sought his views on some of the main issues he would face.
The external debt is one of our major problems and must be dealt with in a sovereign and realistic manner. We don’t support confrontation, but a negotiated solution. Debt conversion will be welcomed provided that it is linked to a sound program of development and industrial policy. We have a proposal for external debt which supposes the decentralization of negotiation, case by case, linked to vigorous programs of debt conversion and privatization. We are studying various forms of debt reduction based on existing market possibilities as well.
You saw Mrs. Thatcher in
We don’t want confrontation. But we have to make a compromise between the recuperation of economic growth and taking care of our social problems. We believe that it is now possible to pursue a negotiated solution.
Collor’s ideas of debt are indeed among his most original. At the core of his proposal is revoking government sovereign guarantees on
Color has said repeatedly that he does not want to fight with the IMF or confront any external creditor, although his ideas were received coolly by Thatcher and his statement then seemed to recognize that confrontation is inevitable: “The bankers won’t like it a bit-the renegotiation will be tough. We need to split the creditors down the middle and they’re only united because they deal with us in a bloc.” Further, Color sees his own plans as only the beginning ofa renegotiation of debt across all
He has since put these ideas into more concrete terms: repayment over 40 years at 4 percent with a 20-year grace period.
In his book, The Other Path, the Peruvian economist Hernando
I believe in free market forces. But
You discussed privatization with Mrs. Thatcher recently. Could the British experience be repeated in
The British experience is very interesting and we might have a lot to learn from that country. However, I know that we cannot repeat it in
First, we intend to reprivatize some enterprises that previous governments took from the private sector in order to avoid bankruptcy. Second, we want to privatize state companies in sectors like steel, transport and energy by transferring their assets through market channels to private control. The concept that most interests us is that of BOT (build, operate and transfer); that is, the privatization of future investments in infrastructure via concession schemes. In broad terms, Collor’s economic proposals can be seen as having been influenced both by
FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND TRADE
There has been little new foreign investment in
Foreign investment is most welcome and the first step to attract it is to restore confidence in
What will be your policy on import liberalization?
U.S.-Brazil relations are in poor shape, mainly in the trade field. What would you do to get them into good repair?
We think that the
Color sensibly recognizes the need for foreign investment to meet the lack of internal savings and to finance the recovery of economic growth. He believes that
On environmental matters, you seem to favor the principle of the polluter pays. Can you enlarge on your ideas?
We promise a balanced and nonpredatory development with environmental control to protect the world’s ecology and a proposal for an international pollution tax for those who damage nature. I will not allow toxic waste from other countries to be brought to