Brazil's Interim Health Minister Improves Relationship with States, but Covid Data Crisis Ensues

Information blackout affects image of military personnel as 'moderate wing' of government in fighting coronavirus


Since being named interim Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello has already exhibited mixed results in his administration. He may have won the sympathy of state secretaries to remain in the portfolio, but he also contributed to an unprecedented crisis of reliability for the Brazilian government in managing the coronavirus pandemic.

The blackout of official data from the ministry's websites generated strong repercussions in the national territory and abroad. It caused Brazil to temporarily disappear from the ranking prepared by respected universities such as Johns Hopkins.

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro talks with Brazil's interim Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello before a national flag hoisting ceremony in front of Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil June 9, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo - REUTERS

In the midst of this, the military is concerned with the impact on the image they were trying to build, that they make up the moderate wing of the Jair Bolsonaro government.

The military wants people to see it as the group that convinced the president to minimize the pandemic's impact.

When the general took over the ministry after two ministers exited amid the worsening of the crisis, this theory was put to the test.

As soon as he took office, Pazuello acquiesced to the president's demands that went against the recommendations of science - demands that his predecessors refused to comply.

Responsible for the management of SUS at the top, former health secretaries complained that they had been dismissed from the portfolio's decisions in the last few months, and their daily meetings had stopped. With the rapprochement, the meetings resumed.

The group describes Pazuello as someone who is easy to access and zealous with relationships and tries to meet demands.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

Read the article in the original language