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macaé - once a national oil capital

The US Foreign Policies have been affecting Brazil for years and the purpose is always to keep its political and economic dominance upon the country. At current times, US fight against corruption is emerging through all the continent. It is in this latest attempt that the photo essay proposes to investigate the economic and social effects of a small city in Brazil called Macaé.


The city is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro and has its indigenous origin that was inhabited by Tamoios and Goitacás ethnicities. In 1974, with the discovery of oil, the municipality that remained rural and was made up of farms and a fishing village, began to undergo profound changes with the arrival of people from all over the country and the world in search of the promise of prosperity and dignified life. The city became the headquarters of the national oil company, Petrobras, and in the last decade, it has received more than 4,000 offshore companies and has seen its population practically double during this period. The radical turn brought rapid economic development, but also serious social consequences, mainly caused by a bad, but characteristic, urban and social planning.


In fact, despite the problems, things were going well in Macaé. Job offers in droves, wages far higher than the market and a considerable improvement in HDI rates have led the city to be called the national oil capital and considered one of the most dynamic in the country. Until 2014, with the fall in the oil market and cases of corruption involving companies in the industry, the city plunged into a serious crisis. An important fact is that Macaé was among the 10 cities that lost the most jobs in 2017. The feeling of decay and abandonment took over the city. Companies closed their doors. The contrast of what is left is clear and those who remain a balance between despair and the hope of a dreamed up.


A point of attention that links little Macaé to the foreign policy of the North American empire can be seen in what has become the operation against corruption that has shaken not only the city but the whole country. With the name of Operation Car Wash, for the first time, the country saw politicians arrested, which brought a feeling of euphoria in a large part of the population because corruption is one of the country's obstacles and is historically intrinsic to almost any activity. As time went by, questions about this fight against corruption came to the fore, as it practically destroyed two of the most important sectors in the country, infrastructure and energy. Recently, through investigative reporting, conversations have been revealed that prove the direct participation of the United States (through the FBI) ​​as a participant in the operation. The so-called “collaboration” can be made by the FCPA, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, another international law reinforcing US domination. This law can only happen on Brazilian soil when there is knowledge from the Brazilian Ministry of Justice. What did not happen in this case, supposedly making the collaboration illegal. Once again in our history, we have a nebulous US participation that brings back the bonds of a colonial past. The real interests behind all this, are now very clear. Given all the institutional chaos caused, the country found itself immersed in a dangerous political polarity and many point out that Operation Car Wash is one of those responsible for the arrival of the extreme far-right to power.


With an economy handed over to foreign capital, neoliberalism has already shown us that Brazil can have even more serious consequences. Latin America's political and economic sovereignty has never been of interest to the United States, especially in this period of an almost political and ideological war against China. As we watch the structures fall down, the photo essay shows Macaé in a metaphorical cut and conceptual approach that can represent the collapse and sentiment of an entire nation.