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News > Brazil

Bolsonaro Government to Purge State of Leftists and Centrists

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends the handover of his new Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva in Brasilia.

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends the handover of his new Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva in Brasilia. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 January 2019

The government "will clean the house," Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni said.

Brazil's newly-inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro announced a purge of government contractors who do not share the new administration’s far-right ideology.

Brazil's Bolsonaro Seeks to Grant Police Impunity Over Violence

Days after assuming the presidency, Bolsonaro has authorized the dismissal of some 300 state workers on temporary contracts.

"It's the only way to govern with our ideas, our concepts and to carry out what Brazil's society decided in its majority," said Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzoni at a press conference. He added that the purge aimed "to do away with the Socialist and Communist ideas that during 30 years have led us to the chaos in which we live."

The sweep targets officials seen as sympathetic to centrist and left-wing parties and ideologies that have existed in Brazil since 1985, when the country transitioned from a military dictatorship to a democracy.

Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former Army captain and supporter of Brazil's military dictatorship (1964 - 1985) as well as of U.S. President Donald Trump, has repeatedly criticized the leftist Workers Party and its supporters. During his campaign, he warned that his opponents would have to "either go overseas or go to jail" if he won.

“These red outlaws will be banished from our homeland. It will be a clean-up, the likes of which has never been seen in Brazilian history,” Bolsonaro declared in October, mentioning that “crooks” from Brazil’s landless workers' movement (MST) would be designated as terrorists while the former president Lula da Silva would be left “to rot in jail.”

He has recently also vowed to join right-wing international efforts against progressive and leftists governments in the region such as Venezuela and Cuba.

Since his inauguration Tuesday, Bolsonaro has used executive orders to exclude Brazil’s LGBTI community from his government’s human rights policies, infringe on Indigenous people’s rights and environmental protections in favor of economic policies that promote agribusiness, and cater to U.S. military bases in the country.

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