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Unprecedented Presidential Decision Puts General in Charge of Defense Ministry

06/14/2018 - 12h21

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GUSTAVO URIBE
BRASÍLIA

President Michel Temer chose not to follow a recommendation from his aides and on Wednesday (the 13th) appointed Army General Joaquim Silva e Luna as Defense Minister.

This decision marks the first time since the post was created in 1999 that a member of the armed forces has held the position. The general has been serving in the position since February as interim minister. With difficulty in finding a name, Temer decided to opt for an in-house solution.

In February, Governmental Secretariat Minister, Carlos Marun, affirmed that the position is "typically occupied by a civilian". At the same time, former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso said that putting a civilian in charge of the structure in the past had always been a symbol of which power was prevalent in the country.

AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File
Brazil's Defense Minister, Army Gen. Joaquim Silva e Luna
Brazil's Defense Minister, Army Gen. Joaquim Silva e Luna

In recent months, the president had been counseled to choose a civilian name which wouldn't be interpreted as a strengthening of the military leadership during his tenure nor cause resentment in the Navy or Air Force by opting for someone from the Army.

Since the beginning of his tenure, Temer has given high ranking military members control over sensitive areas of his government. In an unprecedented fashion since re-democratization, they have held positions at Funai, Abin and the Office of the Chief of Staff, among other areas.

Temer's affinity with the Armed Forces dates back. During the impeachment of Dilma Roussseff, he received quiet manifestations of support from high-ranking generals and ever since he assumed the Planalto Palace (Presidency) he has made a priority of attending military ceremonies and events.

Translated by LLOYD HARDER

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