Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro replaces the three most senior soldiers of the Brazilian armed forces. The decision comes barely a day after Bolsonaro also replaced six ministers.
The right-wing populist president has come under heavy fire for the sky-high daily corona deaths and the economic slump in his country.
Monday’s resignation of the six ministers was the most sweeping reshuffle of Bolsonaro’s government to date. Especially the resignation of the Secretary of Defense came as a surprise to many. The Ministry of Defense announced that the heads of the army, fleet and air force units would also be replaced. The ministry did not provide further details.
The resignation of the military top underscores the seriousness of the current political crisis in Brazil. This has now also reflected on the previously close ties between former army officer Bolsonaro and the South American country’s military establishment.
Since Bolsonaro came to power in 2019, he has placed numerous soldiers in government positions. There is now concern in Brazil that the military’s close ties with the Bolsonaro government could damage its image.
Relations between the military top and the president would have been severely damaged because Bolsonaro wanted to force open political statements of support from the army command. According to insiders, this is also the reason for the wave of layoffs in the highest Brazilian government circles this week.
According to sources, there is still great dissatisfaction in the army top over the role of former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, an active general who is held by many responsible for the poor vaccine procurement and the high number of corona deaths at the moment. Pazuello was already replaced last week.
Although Bolsonaro has long been criticizing lockdown measures, raising doubts about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and systematically downplaying the severity of the corona pandemic, the Brazilian army is taking the lung virus seriously, according to insiders.