Military Leaders Present In 21 Government Departments Within Bolsonaro Administration

Brazilian Armed Forces personnel gain a political relevance not seen since the 1980s and will manage massive government budgets

Rubens Valente

The number of high-ranking military officers appointed to senior positions in the Bolsonaro administration is already over 45 people, distributed by 21 departments.

The Army, from where the president and vice-president Hamilton Mourão come from, accounts for most senior cabinet officers. Until Friday, 18 retired generals and 11 colonels have been appointed, and the appointments are not over yet.

Members of the armed forces are heading the department of transportation infrastructure, Manaus Free Trade Zone, the National Foundation for Indigenous Peoples and seven ministries: Government Secretariat; Defense; Mining and Energy; Infrastructure; Comptroller; Institutional Security; Science, Technology and Innovations and Communications.

Retired generals also occupy at least five critical positions with Bolsonaro's inner circle.
At the Ministry of Justice, led by former Operation Carwash judge Sergio More, there is an unprecedented number of military officers inside the National Secretariat of Public Security.

Folha's assessment didn't include state police forces like the military police departments and fire departments.

The departments led by servicemen have budgets, when added up, of hundreds of billions reais. Brazil's largest company, state-owned Petrobras, had revenue of R$ 283 billion (US$ 75 billion) in 2017.

Historians heard by Folha agree that there hasn't been such a landslide of military appointments in the Executive branch since the end of the Brazilian military dictatorship in 1985.

Heloisa Starling, a historian and political scientist at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, says that the phenomenon not necessarily implies in "authoritarian aspirations."

On Tuesday, General Santos Cruz, head of the Government Secretariat, said he didn't see any advantages or disadvantages with the significant military presence inside the Bolsonaro administration.

 Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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