Moderates Convince Bolsonaro Not to Dismiss Brazil's Health Minister

In a clash with the president, Mandetta leads federal government actions against the coronavirus pandemic


President Jair Bolsonaro almost dismissed Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta in order to replace him with someone who is an advocate for the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of patients with coronavirus. But a group of ministers intervened and convinced him otherwise.

Members of the so-called moderate government nucleus, which includes the military, spoke on Monday (6) with Bolsonaro to change his mind about firing Mandetta in the short term. In reserved conversations, the president even said that the situation was untenable.

Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta (Foto: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress, PODER) - Folhapress

Mandetta, however, said at night that he would remain in office. "We will continue to face our enemy, whose name and surname, COVID-19. We have a society to fight and protect, a doctor does not abandon a patient, and I will not abandon," he said at a news conference after meeting with Bolsonaro and other ministers in the Plateau.

At first, it appeared that Mandetta would be let go. Ministers outside the Planalto Palace were apprehensive about the ministerial meeting convened by Bolsonaro for the end of this Monday afternoon, fearing that he would announce the departure of the incumbent of Health.

The meeting had a tense atmosphere, according to reports, but the president showed no signs dismissing Mandetta.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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