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News > Latin America

Brazil Elections: What Would a Bolsonaro Gov’t Look Like?

  • Far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

    Far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 October 2018

Military men, neoliberal economists, businessmen and promoters of Brazil's dictatorship make up Bolsonaro's potential cabinet.

If far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro wins the Oct. 28 second round of voting in Brazil, his government will be run by “four or five” generals and a Chicago Boy, according to Gustavo Bebianno, president of the Social Liberal Party (PSL).


A Bolsonaro Win is The Militarization of Politics in Brazil

Bolsonaro, who has gained international renown for his misogynist, homophobic, and fascist comments, has already announced that he will reduce the number of Brazil’s ministries from 19 to 15 and warned he will not trade key government posts to form a ruling coalition.

Among the men he would govern with are Paulo Guedes, a 69-year-old Liberal economist from the University of Chicago who is an avid supporter of privatization as a way to reduce public debt and the national deficit.

Guedes is also preparing an economic team that would include Alexandre Bettamio, representative of the United States-based Bank of America in Latin America.

Given Bolsonaro’s announcement on the ministerial reduction, Guedes could lead Brazil’s finance, industry, commerce, and planning ministries.

Another potential member of Bolsonaro’s cabinet would be General Heleno Ribeiro, who was also Bolsanaro’s former instructor at the military academy. He was offered the vice presidential nomination, which his party declined, and would be the minister of defense. Un-elected President Michel Temer was the first head of state to appoint a military person to the Defense Ministry since the return to democracy.

'We Are Afraid': Anti-Bolsonaro Voters Targeted in Wave of Political Violence

His appointment is particularly worrisome because he embraces the militarization of Brazil’s internal security, which has particularly affected communities in Brazil’s impoverished favelas, where many have been killed by military police. This March alone, state security forces killed seven people in a favela in Rio de Janeiro.

The second general in Bolsonaro’s cabinet would be Oswaldo Ferreira. The former head of the Army’s department for construction and engineering was in charge of Bolsonaro’s plan for infrastructure and the environment and has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Transport Ministry. Like Bolsonaro, Ferreira defends Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985) and participated in the construction of the Cuiaba-Santarem highway, responsible for displacing Indigenous communities.

Marcos Ponte, a 55-year-old combat pilot could lead the Science and Technology Ministry. His previous encounter with science was his participation in a 2006 mission that took him to the International Space Station where he stayed for a week.  

Non-military men, Onyx Lorenzoni and Stavros Xanthopoylos have been mentioned as candidates for the position of chief of staff and education minister, respectively.

Lorenzoni, a legislator for the Democrats (DEM) party has confessed to having received 100,000 Brazilian reals (around US$27,100) from Brazilian businessmen and has been summoned in the ongoing Odebrecht corruption investigations.

Xanthopoylos is a promoter of distance education and the president of the Brazilian Association for Remote Education. Together with Bolsonaro, they proposed that public education in the country would be online. He is also a detractor of affirmative action and quotas for minorities in the education system.

Finally, landowner Nabhan Garcia is a possible candidate for the Agriculture and Environment Ministry. He has been accused of organizing paramilitary groups to attack the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) who fight for agrarian reform in a deeply unequal country.

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