Israeli economist Ilan Goldfein has been appointed the president of the Central Bank of Brazil in the wake of the suspension of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff due to corruption charges.
Goldfein—who will succeed Alexandre Tombini as the central bank’s leader—has served as the chief economist at Brazil’s largest private bank, Itau, as well as an advisor to the World Bank and an advisor to the International Monetary Fund. He is a doctoral graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Goldfein—whose appointment was announced just after Rousseff was suspended for hiding Brazil’s deficit to make the country’s economy look better—said that Brazil’s economy “is huge” but “too closed off: we only export 15 percent of our gross domestic product, which isn’t very much,” reported Yedioth Ahronoth.
“We are currently carrying out a very important investigation that deals with corruption. Its trail of money flows from the private sector to public companies, from Petrobras (a state-owned oil company also involved in the scandal) to politicians. For the first time we have billionaires sitting in jail. We have politicians in jail. People might ask, ‘Why is everything happening all at once?’ With an intensive investigation the kind of which we have never seen, the worst recession in our history and the recent suspension. Is it all just a bad coincidence? Obviously, it is not. What happened was that the middle class, which had thought it was going to get rich and whose aspirations were going to come true, must now face the decimation of its dreams,” Goldfein said.
“The government has gone bankrupt, which is why everyone is angry and supports the investigation,” he added. “The next person who might consider messing with the government will tell himself, ‘Well, I can either choose to make money legally or go to jail for 30 years,’ and they will draw their own conclusions. There are already preliminary signs of recovery, so I think things will turn around, even if it won’t last forever.”
Critics of Rousseff’s corruption charges have said that her suspension is in fact a political coup.
“What’s happening in Brazil today is a coup d’etat. A coup sponsored by both internal and external force,” wrote Manuel Barcia, a professor of Latin American History at the University of Leeds, in The Independent.
“White, privileged, wealthy, male Brazilians have led the impeachment charges,” he wrote, adding, “Unlike President Rousseff, many of those who have attempted to impeach her or replace her in this new corporate and corrupt government are being investigated for charges including conspiracy, money-laundering, forging documents, and misappropriating public funds.”