OPINION: Every four years during presidential elections in Brazil, the topic of an eventual privatisation of state-controlled oil company Petrobras enters the debate agenda.

Unlike previous cycles, however, the subject no longer seems to be a taboo among voters and it is sticking around.

In the past, a simple mention of selling Petrobras to foreign capital would be considered political suicide due to the perception that the company was a national treasure — as embodied by “The Oil Is Ours”, a campaigning slogan created in the 1950s when the company came into being.