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the three army chiefs submit their resignations in the midst of a political crisis

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                The heads of the three forces of the Brazilian air force, land and navy have collectively resigned after the eviction of their supervisory minister for a personality closer to Jair Bolsonaro.

                                    <p>In Brazil, the main military leaders are leaving their posts, following the Minister of Defense.  The heads of the air, land and navy forces will have to be replaced by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is under strong political pressure in the midst of a health crisis.

“For the first time in history, the heads of the three forces of the army are presenting their resignation collectively, in disagreement with a president,” the daily Folha de Sao Paulo noted Tuesday (March 30).

The Defense Ministry did not specify the reasons for the departure of the senior officers. This was announced at the end of a meeting Tuesday in Brasilia, in the presence of the new Minister of Defense Walter Braga Netto and his predecessor, Fernando Azevedo e Silva.

According to the Brazilian press, the surprise departure of Fernando Azevedo e Silva was very badly experienced by the commanders of the three forces, General Edson Pujol (land army), squadron admiral Ilques Barbosa (navy) and the chief of Antonio Carlos Bermuda Air Force.

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Generals uncomfortable with the Bolsonaro method

In the brief statement announcing that he was leaving his post as minister, General Fernando Azevedo e Silva, former Chief of Staff, assured Monday that he had been “entirely loyal” to President Bolsonaro. But he also recalled the importance of “preserving the army as a state institution”, a phrase noted by all commentators.

For Merval Pereira, political columnist for the daily O Globo, the outgoing minister was “uncomfortable when Bolsonaro used the army for political ends”. This unease was also significant among the main military leaders, in particular the commander of the army, General Edson Pujol.

In May 2020, as the Covid-19 health crisis began to take on serious proportions in Brazil, the president wanted to shake his hand during an official ceremony, but he preferred to extend his elbow, following health recommendations to avoid contamination.

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A reshuffle to strengthen control over the army ?

Many generals also disapprove of the attitude of Bolsonarist militants nostalgic for the military dictatorship (1964-1985), who last year called for an “intervention” by the army against Parliament and the Supreme Court.

Most analysts believe that the ministerial reshuffle was intended to strengthen its control over the army, which occupies a third of its government’s portfolios and many posts in the administration.

But Vice-President Hamilton Mourao, also a general, insisted that there was no risk of “institutional rupture”.

A total of six ministers were replaced on Monday, including those for Justice and Foreign Affairs.

President Bolsonaro is more than ever under fire from criticism because of his chaotic management of the health crisis which has left more than 313,000 dead in Brazil.

With AFP


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