Brazilian Chiefs of Armed Forces abruptly resign from cabinet

RIO DE JANEIRO – Three commanders of the Brazilian armed forces resigned jointly on Tuesday, a day after President Jair Bolsonaro fired his defense minister as part of a larger cabinet shake-up.

The departure of military leaders on Monday following the unexpected replacement of five other cabinet members, speculation of a breakdown of the relationship between the president and the country’s military in the capital, sparked a central role in the Bolson administration.

“The sacking of the chiefs of the army, navy and air force is unprecedented following a sudden change in leadership in the Ministry of Defense,” said Rape Rodrigo de Castro, a legalist, in a statement. . “This shows the real crisis between the army and the government.”

Brasilia faces political unrest as the government faces criticisms, including calls for impeachment of Mr. Bolsonaro, Cavalier and chaotic Dealing with the Kovid-19 epidemic, which has More than 313,000 Brazilians were killed.. Infections have increased in hospitals across the country, causing death of patients. Waiting for a hospital bed.

Mr. Bolsonaro, former army captain, Has given a major role to the army In politics and policy-making in Brazil, handing over to their leaders Most power They were there since the country’s military dictatorship ended in the mid-1980s. He chose a retired army general as a running mate and usually appointed top military leaders for senior government roles occupied by civilians.

Retired generals and military analysts in Brazil struggled to make sense of this week’s changes, which neither the president nor the outgoing commanders explained.

“It makes no sense from a political or administrative sense,” said Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, a retired army chief who until June 2019 held a senior role in Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration. “There is a need to clarify why this happened.” , Otherwise it disregards individuals and roles. “

Mariana Kalil, professor of geopolitics at Brazil’s National War College, said the president appeared to enjoy stronger support at the lower rung of the military than brass. He said the chiefs may have cut ties with the politically embattled president to send a clear message that the armed forces would not do their bidding.

“There has always been the hypothesis of a military commander who supports more repressive government policies, things outside the bounds of the law,” Ms Kalil said. But she said Brazilian military leaders played a “moderate” force in a brutal and militant presidential-led government that turned many allies into enemies.

Prominent opposition figure Senator Tasso Jeresati said that Mr Bolsonaro has become entangled with the Congress and is facing scrutiny in the courts, “He has always insisted that the Armed Forces have their backs.”

As the president picks up new fights with other elected officials in the proposed lockdown, military leaders may have decided to jump ship, as can be seen as helpful in dealing with a ruin of an epidemic, Mr. Said Gerissati.

“We are paying the price to elect a person who is not fully prepared for the job, who is clunky and loose,” he said.

Since taking office in January 2019, Mr. Bolsonaro has given tremendous power to military agencies in government agencies – and has tied his reputation to doing so. Military leaders have failed core missions. Deforestation in the amazon.

According to analysts, relations with President Vice President, Retired General, Hamilton Mauro, and his late Defense Minister General Fernando Azivedo e Silva have become tense in recent weeks due to the country’s coronovirus crisis.

Last week, the president replaced his health minister, Eduardo Pazuelo, an active-duty general who failed to lead a pervasive response to the pandemic or negotiate the purchase of substantial amounts of the Kovid-19 vaccine.

In his resignation letter, General Azivedo e Silva stated that he had sought to “preserve the armed forces as the army of the state”. The phrase expresses a belief that Mr. Bolsonaro sought to politicize the armed forces.

Resignation of three military commanders – Army General Edson Pujol; Lieutenant Brigadier. Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez of the Air Force; And Adams Ilbus Barbosa Jr. of the Navy – announced in a brief statement issued by the Ministry of Defense. It did not give any reason.

Monday’s cabinet changes include the departure of the Foreign Minister, Ernesto Ara├║jo, a hard-line conservative who has been involved in fights with China’s government, Brazil’s top trading partner and government. Head passenger Kovid-19 vaccines are currently available for Brazil.

Lawmakers criticized Mr. Araujo for the country’s failure to secure access to a large number of Kovid-19 vaccines.

Mr. Bolsonaro replaces his Minister of Justice, his Chief of Staff, and the lawyer who represents the executive branch in cases before the Supreme Court.

Rape The legislator, Hugo de Araujo Almeida, a legislator close to the president, stated the importance of the changes.

“We are living through an epidemic, so all efforts should focus on saving lives and saving jobs,” he said. “I think it’s natural that he must be making a change.”

Mr. Bolsonaro began laying the foundation stone for electoral bidding again the following year. He has raised doubts about the legitimacy of the election system, which has led critics to ask if he can try to stay in power if he loses.

Amy Erica Smith, a professor of political science at Iowa State University who specializes in Brazil, said the president could seek to appoint loyalists to key military positions.

“If Bolsonaro uses this opportunity strategically and plays the game well, he can replace the heads of the three branches who will be ready to go along with their political projects with men.”

But he said it can be difficult to find military leaders who are willing to join a president who has so alienated the political establishment.

“The Brazilian military is not just eager to support an unpopular president who is facing a large number of other elected leaders,” Ms. Smith said.

Ernesto Londo reported from Rio de Janeiro, and Leticia Casado from Brasilia.

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