Soros Boasts in Brazil, 'I Am a Speculator in Ethanol'
June 6, 2007 (LPAC)--Billionaire George Soros, who is pouring millions of dollars into Brazil's ethanol industry, along with many other big-name speculators, private equity and hedge funds, admitted June 4 to a conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil that "I am a speculator" in the field. Soros was addressing the Sao Paulo Ethanol Summit 2007, entitled "The New Frontiers of Ethanol--Challenges of Energy in the 21st Century."
Brazil's outmoded "regulatory environment" is preventing it from increasing production ten-fold, which it could do easily, Soros said. Moreover, he lamented, U.S., European, and Japanese insistence on maintaining tariff barriers to Brazilian ethanol could discourage production as well.
But this hasn't stopped the mega-speculator from putting $1 billion of his own money into three sugar mills, with 370,000 acres in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul through his company Adeco-Agro. The Lula da Silva government plans to base all of its ethanol production on sugar-cane, the production of which, in Brazil, has a sordid history of colonial-style exploitation and abuse of the virtual slave labor of cane cutters. This may explain Soros's wild enthusiasm for using sugar cane as the feedstock for Brazilian ethanol. It has a great "competitive advantage" over U.S. biofuel production, he argues. A large percentage of Brazilian cane cutters live in abject poverty, denied housing, medical care or job security.