Wednesday, February 26, 2020

a general appointed head of government

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From left to right, General Walter Souza Braga Netto, President Jair Bolsonaro and General Luis Carlos Gomes Mattos, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in November 2018. FERNANDO SOUZA / AFP

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced on Twitter on Thursday (February 13th) the appointment of a general as minister of civil affairs, a post equivalent to that of prime minister, thereby strengthening the presence of the military in his government.

General Walter Souza Braga Netto, 62, replaces Onyx Lorenzoni, relegated to the Ministry of Citizenship, a portfolio that includes most social affairs, but also sports. With this reshuffle, the Brazilian government has nine out of 22 military ministers.

Now, the four closest collaborators of Jair Bolsonaro to the government, with their offices located at the presidential palace of Planalto, are soldiers, like the very influential general Augusto Heleno, head of the institutional security cabinet.

At the head of the military command in 2018

Walter Souza Braga Netto became known to the general public in 2018, when he took over as head of the military command under which all the security forces of the State of Rio de Janeiro were placed. The placement under army command was decided by ex-president Michel Temer, Jair Bolsonaro's predecessor, in an attempt to stem an unprecedented wave of violence.

Read also Brazil: an extraordinary ministry of public security created

The eleven-month military intervention ended in mixed results, with a drop in some indicators of violence, but a noticeable increase in deaths during police operations.

The appointment of a general to the most important post of government is considered a victory for those whom the specialists designate as "The military wing" government, more pragmatic than"Ideological wing", composed in particular of disciples of the sulphurous philosopher Olavo de Carvalho.

Osmar Terra, predecessor of Onyx Lorenzoni in the Ministry of Citizenship, will resume his term in the Chamber of Deputies.

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