The Nerve of Odebrecht

Thursday, July 10, 2014
According to The Miami Herald, the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht has sent a letter to Miami-Dade County threatening to sue if the Commission doesn't present for consideration -- and approve -- the controversial Airport City project.

Thus, not only does Odebrecht feel entitled to Miami-Dade taxpayer money, but it also feels entitled to control the agenda of the democratically-elected County Commission.

Can you imagine the uproar if Exxon-Mobil or Halliburton threatened to sue the U.S. Congress if it didn't consider federal projects it had an interest in? Or if the Fanjuls threatened to sue the U.S. Congress if it didn't pass a Farm Bill?

Who elected them?

In the letter, Odebrecht claims it has spent $11 million preparing for the Airport City project.

That's quite presumptuous considering the fact that the Miami-Dade County Commission hasn't even voted to approve the project.

Did Odebrecht think that Miami-Dade County was a rubber stamp? Or has Odebrecht gotten unduly used to so many hand-me-outs throughout the years?

The irony here is that Odebrecht is a company notorious for costing Miami-Dade taxpayers millions in chronic cost-overruns and reimbursements.

To wit: What do the MIA South Terminal, Miami Intermodal Center, MIA North Terminal and the Carnival Center all have in common?

They were tens of millions over-cost and behind schedule -- all courtesy of Odebrecht.

Let's not forget the $25.5 million in cost-overruns that Odebrecht cost Miami-Dade taxpayers for the Performing Arts Center.

Yet now it wants to sue taxpayers?

Perhaps Miami-Dade taxpayers should sue Oderbecht to recoup all of their wasted money.

But we can't really expect too much from a company that partners with some of the world's most brutal dictators, which is being investigated for corrupt practices, and engages in slave labor and human trafficking.

And please spare us the line that Odebrecht USA is a separate subsidiary. Odebrecht USA is wholly-owned and controlled by its Brazilian parent company.  Odebrecht USA's CEO answers directly to headquarters in Salvador. Moreover, the documents presented for the Airport City project were signed by its parent company, not by Odebrecht USA.

Adding insult to injury, in a last ditch effort to save their boondoggle, Odebrecht is resorting to divisive racial politics -- pitting Cuban-Americans vs. African-Americans.

In the past, we have clearly outlined the reasons why every Cuban-American (and Venezuelan-American) should be repulsed by the behavior of Odebrecht.  Click here for more details.

But African-Americans have just as many reasons to be outraged.

Just take a closer look at the degrading, exploitative practices that Odebrecht has employed against black Africans and Brazilians.

Odebrecht is currently under investigation by Brazilian prosecutors for slave labor, inhumane conditions, international human trafficking, curtailment of freedom, retention of documents and other violations. These violations stem from a construction project in Angola and involve some 500 workers. Click here for more details.

And spare us the line that Odebrecht has hired African-American subcontractors and is a big charity contributor. Yes -- and Donald Sterling hired African-American basketball players and was a major contributor to the NAACP.  But it's how they behave when they think no one is watching that matters.

Odebrecht's illegal, insulting and immoral behavior has no place in the 21st century. Nor should it be tolerated by Miami-Dade County.