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Expand chart
Data: EIA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Brazil's markets tumbled on Monday, with state oil company Petrobras losing 19% of its value, after president Jair Bolsonaro announced he was firing the company's Chicago-educated CEO and replacing him with a former general.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro pledged to "put a finger on electricity" — to keep prices at artificially low levels, worrying investors who had previously been counting on him to have more of a laissez-faire approach to industry.

Flashback: The headlines coming out of Brazil are reminiscent of the way in which Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez dismantled his country's oil-production infrastructure after he came to power in 1999, starting with the forced resignation of Luis Giusti, the head of the state-owned oil company.

By the numbers: Venezuelan oil production has reached formerly unthinkable lows, given that the country sits on the largest oil reserves in the world.

  • Venezuela's 300 billion barrels of reserves now produce less than half a million barrels a day of oil.
  • Brazil's reserves are tiny in comparison — less than 13 billion barrels — but the company is producing far more oil, about 3 million barrels per day.

Between the lines: Technocrats tend not to fare well under populist presidents, be they of the right-wing or left-wing variety. Venezuela's PDVSA was an extremely well-run company before 1999, and Petrobras has been reasonably well-run until now.

  • But when an ex-military president takes over and puts generals in charge, loyalty to the regime tends to be rewarded more than professional competence.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.

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