Mother Threatens to Take Away Their Toys

Dilma Rousseff, Lula´s Chief-of-Staff
Dilma Rousseff, Lula´s Chief-of-Staff
Antônio Cruz/ABr

Like a stern mother scolding disobedient children, President Lula´s Chief-of-Staff Dilma Rousseff has threatened the Madeira dams consortia that if they go to court to contest the terms of project concessions, the Brazilian government will build the dams itself.

The maternal comparison is fitting because Rousseff, being groomed as the Workers Party candidate in the 2010 presidential election, has been declared by Lula to be "the Mother of PAC", the government´s Plan to Accelerate Growth, based upon building large-scale infrastructure projects.

Analysts questioned mother Dilma´s disciplinary approach. David Walternberg, a specialist in electric sector law called her threat "unenforceable", which I guess is kind of like telling a child they can´t watch TV when you´re turning on the tube to catch the latest episode of your favorite soap opera. He said cancelling a hydroelectric concession already awarded could mean even a broader battle in the courts, slowing down even further the construction of the dams .

The raging Madeira River has frayed a lot of nerves, from environmentalists and social activists to the electro-bureaucrats, and now Lula´s usually unflappable, but now petulant right-hand woman.