How will Bolsonaro’s cabinet be formed?

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The president-elect has chosen to reduce the portfolios of his government, so he will have 22, seven fewer than in the outgoing government

How will Bolsonaro’s cabinet be formed?

On Monday, December 10, the elected president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, announced his last minister and completed his team of 22 for the government that begins on January 1. His cabinet has 5 members of the Army, a nationalized Colombian, a Christian pastor, two economists from the Chicago School and representatives of the interests of large landowners and the business sector.

Leer en español: ¿Cómo estará conformado el gabinete de Jair Bolsonaro?

Media such as Excelsior and El Comercio describe this cabinet as one of a "civic-military" court. It is not an exaggeration, because the presence of 6 soldiers in government portfolios is an anomaly within a democracy.

The first of these is the retired general Hamilton Mourao, who will be Bolsonaro's vice president. During the presidential campaign, Mourao declared himself to be "indigenous", despite the fact that, according to the Terra Brasil portal, the elected government has been critical of the measures to protect the territories of these peoples.

Among other designation are:

  • Secretary of Institutional Security: General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro
  • Ministry of Defense: General Fernando Azevedo e Silva
  • Ministry of Energy and Mines: Admiral Bento Costa Lima Leite de Albunqueque
  • Portfolio of Science, Technology, and Innovation: Marcos Pontes
  • Secretary of Government: General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz

Four of these five designations do not present problems of experience since their professions are according to their occupations. However, General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz have high military experience.

According to the BBC, he was the head of the UN peacekeeping forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo between 2013 and 2015 and in Haiti between 2007 and 2009. According to the UN, he has also served as Special Adviser to the Minister of the Secretariat of Strategic Issues for the Presidency of Brazil. Your responsibility is to be the link between the government and the Congress.

Why is a military in charge of these functions? A man of his experience is fully qualified for some of the other ministries in charge of the military, but his election is confusing, especially when his role is to mediate as a military between the government and the Congress.

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Other elections

Regarding the Ministry of Agriculture, Tereza Cristina Correa (deputy of the Democratic Party) will be responsible for this portfolio. According to RPP Noticias, the future minister was part of a group in the Congress that watched over the interests of the large landowners. Policies aimed at favoring large landowners could mean the concentration of land and the destruction of small agricultural property.

Women, Family, and Human Rights

The extinct ministry of Human Rights, now called Women, Family, and Human Rights will be headed by evangelical pastor Damares Alves. According to the Russia Today portal, she declared as anti-feminist and anti-abortion, in addition to seeking comprehensive protection for early childhood and avoiding the increase of indigenous reserve lands. His appointment is worrisome since it is a message to Brazilian society that the values of family, the concept of women and of the same human rights must be thought from Christianity. It is an attack on the diversity of this country of almost 210 million people.

This taking into account that, at least 7% of the population declares as a non-believer, that is 14.7 million according to the Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Also, the family structure in Brazil turns out to be more diverse than previously thought, taking into account that up to 64% of families are traditional, according to the article "Family structure, family size, and performance in mathematics and reading " A reported by Página 12 website, an NGO headed by Damares is accused of "inciting hatred toward indigenous people."

Ministry of the Environment.

On the other hand, Ricardo Salles will be in charge of the Ministry of the Environment. In the past, he was the environmental secretary of the São Paulo Governor's Office. According to the Emol portal, Salles left this position because he favors private interests in environmental management plans. However, does Salles represent a threat to the environment? Bearing in mind that Brazil has a significant portion of the Amazon which will not be protected under guidelines that obey the reality of climate change; the region could face an environmental disaster without proportions.

The Bolsonaro government's chancellor will be Ernesto Araújo, a lawyer who has sworn to clean up the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of "all cultural Marxism" and "globalism." According to the newspaper El Espectador, it is a nationalist who projects his anti-globalist struggle as "hunger for God". Araújo will be the face that Brazil shows to the world. Likewise, cultural Marxism is the equivalent of the fear of communism and socialism that has permeated the region, but on a global scale. It is the typical scapegoat used in ultraconservative circles to explain the changes in society and Brazil will have a chancellor who is convinced of it.

It is clear that the international community has reason to worry about the government of Bolsonaro, but the military portion of his cabinet is shown as the most prepared to take on the challenges of each of the ministries in charge of members of the armed forces.

Both the elections of the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights and the Environment generated more questions and answers. The fact that an evangelical woman who is against abortion is responsible for human rights in Brazil can be problematic for some sectors of Brazilian society. Also, the struggle for the rights to the ancestral lands of indigenous people will be under the influence of Damares Alves. On the other hand, the Environment will be in the hands of a man who has been accused of favoring private to the detriment of the natural heritage.

The fact is that the cabinet of the future president of Brazil may have to be qualified. Although there is a strong military presence, the majority of those appointed have experience and expertise in their respective fields. However, there is still suspicion about the approach of the military to power, something that does not happen since the dictatorship that ended in the 80s.


LatinAmerican Post | Iván Parada Hernández

Translated from: '¿Cómo estará conformado el gabinete de Jair Bolsonaro?'

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