In Brazil, the Ministry of Defense has announced the change at the top of the Navy, Army and Air Force. The announcement after that, in the maxi-government reshuffle implemented by President Jair Bolsonaro, the Minister of Defense had also been changed. The decision was made after the meeting between the new Defense Minister, Walter Braga Netto, the former holder of the department Fernando Azevedo and Silva and the heads of the Armed Forces. The mass replacement of the three military leaders is an unprecedented fact and has been interpreted as a response to the “gestures” of “solidarity” towards General Azevedo. This is the heaviest crisis since 1977: according to Folha de Sao Paulo, the three wanted to resign to protest against Bolsonaro and announced during the meeting that they would not support the president’s coup adventures. There were moments of tension in the meeting, the three made their posts available to the new minister; and in the end, in the note released by the Ministry of Defense, we read that the commanders have been replaced (and not that they wanted to leave).
Brazil: Covid drama, Bolsonaro government reshuffle
Maxi reshuffle in the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, under pressure for the disastrous management of the pandemic. Six ministers left in a single day, including those of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Justice. A turnover with which Bolsonaro beats all records of the previous governments of Dilma Rousseff, Luiz InacioLula da Silva and Fernando Henrique Cardoso: his administration thus totaled 24 cabinet changes in just over two years.
The far-right leader, who is preparing to run for re-election in October 2022, is grappling with the new and devastating wave of Covid-19 in an already hit Brazil. The number of weekly deaths has almost quadrupled since the beginning of the year, pushing hospitals to the point of collapse: in the State of Sao Paulo, the most affected by the coronavirus, there was a daily record of deaths (1,209) and 25 public hospitals have run out of ICU beds. The political earthquake comes the week after Bolsonaro replaced former health minister, Eduardo Pazuello, an army general, with cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga, his fourth health minister since the start of the pandemic. It was known that Bolsonaro was about to fire the head of diplomacy, Ernesto Araujo, accused by congressional leaders of compromising the purchase of vaccines against Covid-19 due to his frictions with China on issues such as agribusiness and 5G. ; but many of the other changes came as a surprise. The president has appointed Ambassador Carlos Alberto Franco Franca as the new head of diplomacy, General Walter Suoza Braga as Minister of Defense, General Luiz Eduardo Ramos as the new Chief of Staff (he will replace Braga who had previously held that position) and Police Commander Anderson Torres Minister of Justice.
He also appointed a new attorney general and a government secretary. The reasons behind the reshuffle were not immediately explained by the government, but analysts point out that Bolsonaro has faced increasing pressure from his allies in Congress, who have called for changes in his questionable handling of the pandemic, the severity of which. he always downplayed. In the case of Araujo, “the most important cause of his downfall was Brazil’s difficulty in accessing vaccines,” said political scientist Mauricio Santoro, of the Rio de Janeiro State University. “But his difficulties in dialogue with Brazil’s main trading partners also weighed: China, the United States, Argentina, the European Union”, added the analyst. Meanwhile, even if he does not want to talk about politics and candidacy, former president Inacio Lula da Silva has denounced that now in Brazil, with over three thousand deaths a day from Covid, the pandemic is “the greatest genocide in our history”. Lula added that he intends to devote his remaining time “to helping the country” and asked to suspend patents on Covid vaccines: “Everyone needs access to vaccines. We must remove the patents of pharmaceutical companies.”