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  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during inauguration ceremony of the new Education Minister Abraham Weintraub at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia.

    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during inauguration ceremony of the new Education Minister Abraham Weintraub at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 April 2019

Bolsonaro said kids should "not start getting interested in politics in school" at the inauguration of his latest Minister of Education.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday he wanted young people to "not start getting interested in politics in school" and instead learn "things that they can carry with them into the future."

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Speaking at the inauguration of new Minister of Education Abraham Weintraub, the president said he discouraged the interest of politics in children and adolescents in schools. 

Weintraub, whose brother is part of the president’s economic team, is the replacement for the former minister, far-right Ricardo Velez Rodriguez, who was dismissed after three months. In his tenure, Velez Rodriguez said the country would teach students “a wider version of history” regarding Brazil’s 1964 military coup.

Velez said that 1964 military ousting of the democratically elected President Joao Goulart was not a coup and the following 21 years of military rule was instead a "a democratic regime by force.”

He told local media that the textbooks should "rescue the vision" of the events in 1964 so students could develop "true and real idea" of events.

The comments of the former minister came days after the far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced celebrations to honor the 55 anniversary of the start of the military dictatorship.

Last week, Brazil's right-wing government rejected an appeal by a United Nations expert requesting that the country not revise Brazilian history by denying the coup. In a letter to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva made public Thursday, the government said it "repudiates the baseless allegations" of the U.N. expert who criticized Bolsonaro's decision to commemorate the 1964 military uprising as an attempt to condone rights violations.

#BolsonaroShamesBrazil, one of Twitter's  top trending topics around the time he announced celebrations of the 1964 coup, continues to garner tweets.
 
"President Bolsonaro has reiterated his understanding that the 1964 movement was necessary to stave off the growing threat of a communist takeover of Brazil and to ensure the preservation of national institutions in the context of the Cold War," the letter said.
 
According to Bolsonaro, the overthrow of an elected leftist government was not a coup d'etat, but a legitimate movement backed by the country's Congress and judiciary, as well as the majority of Brazilians, the letter said.
 
Bolsonaro has now replaced his former far-right minister of education for another right-wing economist and university profession with conspiracy theories. He argued last year that crack was introduced to the country as part of a deliberate communist plot.
 
“I don’t think anyone who works in education is happy with this appointment. [Weintraub] does not have good experience and does not show appreciation for the area,” said former leftist parliamentary candidate and the National Campaign for the Right to Education’s Daniel Cara.

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