Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, Covıd-19, Coronavirus

Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil's Bolsonaro overhauls Cabinet amid COVID-19 surge

Brazil's Bolsonaro overhauls Cabinet amid COVID-19 surge

30/3/2021 4:04:00 AM

Brazil 's Bolsonaro overhauls Cabinet amid COVID-19 surge

BRASILIA: Brazil ian President Jair Bolsonaro overhauled his government on Monday (Mar 29), changing six Cabinet members including the foreign, ...

"CRISIS IN THE ADMINISTRATION"Two of the former Cabinet members - defence minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva and foreign minister Araujo - had been in their posts since Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.AdvertisementAzevedo e Silva's exit was unexpected, and speculation swirled over the reason.

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Bolsonaro has been on a purge, amid growing dissatisfaction - including from allies in the business sector - over his handling of a pandemic that has now claimed more than 312,000 lives in Brazil, the second-highest death toll worldwide, after the United States.

"The government is extremely fragile, as demonstrated by the instability at the top," said professor Mauricio Santoro of Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ)."It's safe to say there is a crisis in the administration, beyond one or two ministries."

READ: Rio closes beaches to curb COVID-19, Bolsonaro frets over vitamin DVACCINE ROWBolsonaro, who has long defied expert advice on COVID-19, now appears to fear his attacks on lockdowns, face masks and, particularly, vaccines could be a liability heading into next year's campaign.

Brazil is struggling to deal with an explosion of infections, blamed partly on a local virus variant that is believed to be more contagious, at a time when vaccines are finally helping some other countries bring the pandemic under control.Vaccine shortages have put the government far off pace to meet the health ministry's target of immunising the full adult population by the end of the year.

Araujo, a key member of the government's so-called"ideological wing", admired former US president Donald Trump, and shared his hardline supporters' disgust with"globalism"."Globalists," he said last October,"are taking a disease caused by a virus, COVID, and trying to turn it into a huge prescriptive apparatus to reform and control the entire planet's social and economic relations."

His vaccine diplomacy, or lack thereof, had come under attack, including during an appearance before Congress last week.The administration faces questions over its rejection of an offer last August to buy 70 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine - which Bolsonaro joked could"turn you into an alligator" - and its tense relations with Brazil's top trade partner, China.

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Chinese-developed CoronaVac is currently the most-administered COVID-19 vaccine in Brazil, but only because the government of Sao Paulo state defied resistance from the Bolsonaro administration to acquire it.Araujo, who took up the foreign minister post vowing to"resist Maoist China" and its plan"to dominate the world", had repeatedly provoked squabbles with Beijing.

Read more: CNA »

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