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Rousseff Appoints New Commanders of the Armed Forces

01/08/2015 - 09h41

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MARIANA HAUBERT
FROM BRASÍLIA

President Dilma Rousseff announced on Wednesday (7) evening the appointment of new commanders to the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, the first such changes in eight years.

Admiral Eduardo Bacellar Leal Ferreira, currently head of the Higher War School, will become commander of the navy, taking over from Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto.

The current head of the army, General Enzo Martins Peri, will make way for General Eduardo Dias da Costa Villas Bôas. Villas Bôas was a military commander in the Amazon region and is currently head of the Command of Land Operations (Coter, in its Portuguese acronym), coordinating all military operations in national territory.

In 2013, when he was based in the Amazon, Villas Bôas told Folha that the region "is not integrated with the rest of the country", and that government investment in the region's armed forces was not sufficient.

He also criticised indigenous policy, labelling it as "poor" and "geopolitical", but denied that he was a critic of the government.

When asked about the National Truth Commission, he said, "As a professional and a soldier, I am interested, yes. However, in my case, institutionally, there are no implications for us."

Rousseff named Brigadier Nivaldo Luiz Rossato as head of the Air Force, who will take over from Brigadier Juniti Saito. Rossato is currently Chief of Staff and was the first name of three on a list presented to the Minister of Defence, Jaques Wagner.

Brigadier Hélio Paes de Barros Júnior, currently responsible for Air Force logistics, was also nominated for the position, but Rousseff vetoed the appointment as he was the third name on the list. The second name was the commander of the presidential jet, Joseli Camelo.

The three outgoing commanders were appointed in 2007 by ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and kept their posts during Rousseff's first term.

The appointments announced on Wednesday (7) were negotiated by Wagner with Rousseff this week. Wagner met Rousseff on Tuesday (6) night, and three times on Wednesday (7).

The nominations were signed by Rousseff, and will be published in Thursday's (8) edition of the Diário Oficial da União, the Brazilian equivalent of the American Federal Register.

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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