Brazil's suspended president, Dilma Rousseff, on Wednesday accused interim head of state Michel Temer of intending to privatize the oil discovered in recent years in deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean and thus deprive the nation's education sector of funding.
Rousseff said they're wanting to do away with the model put in place in recent years that sets aside part of the royalties generated from oil production for education projects and ensures that state-controlled oil company Petrobras has a stake in all pre-salt operations.
The pre-salt region, so-named because its reserves - estimated at tens of billions of barrels of crude equivalent - are located under water, rocks and a shifting layer of salt at depths of up to 7,000 meters below the surface of the Atlantic, lies off Brazil's southeastern coast.
We know where this oil is, we know its quality and they want to privatize it. Well, that's what it means to assign it to a handful of economic groups, Rousseff said in an online chat with her supporters.
Rousseff was impeached and suspended from office earlier this month for allegedly purposely delaying the repayment of loans from state-owned banks and carrying out other fiscal maneuvers in 2014, when she won re-election, and in 2015 to disguise the size of the budget deficit.
Temer, a former ally turned foe who had been Rousseff's vice president before she was suspended from office for the duration of the impeachment trial, has proposed among other things that companies other than Petrobras be allowed to operate pre-salt fields and be able to develop those areas without joining with the state-controlled firm.
That would be nothing other than privatizing the pre-salt, Rousseff said.
Temer on Tuesday also announced austerity measures aimed at reducing the nation's large budget deficit and eventually lifting the country out of recession, including plans to cut spending in all areas, including health care and education.
Rousseff said Temer's plans, if enacted, would amount to the biggest setback in Brazil's history in the social sphere.