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Montevideo, May 19th 2019 - 17:07 UTC

Bolsonaro sacks education minister: he proved more conservative than the president

Wednesday, April 10th 2019 - 09:59 UTC
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Bolsonaro tweeted that Abraham Weintraub would replace Ricardo Velez Rodriguez, who became the second minister to be forced out Bolsonaro tweeted that Abraham Weintraub would replace Ricardo Velez Rodriguez, who became the second minister to be forced out

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro on Monday sacked his education minister, an ultraconservative who had drawn public ire over a range of controversial proposals including a revision of school textbooks to deny the 1964 military coup.

Bolsonaro tweeted that Abraham Weintraub would replace Ricardo Velez Rodriguez, who became the second minister to be forced out of the trouble-plagued government in less than four months. Weintraub, who Bolsonaro praised as a “doctor and university professor,” has worked closely with the president's chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni.

Bolsonaro, who is preparing to mark 100 days in office on Wednesday, has seen his approval rating plunge since taking office on January 1 following a series of political scandals and a public row with Congressional leaders over his signature pension reform policy.

The former paratrooper had flagged last week that Rodriguez was on his way out after a tumultuous period marked by the resignations of some 20 senior education ministry officials.

Rodriguez has been widely criticized over proposed changes to school textbooks, saying they no longer needed to highlight the country's ethnic diversity, and for asking schools to film students singing the national anthem. He was forced to back down on both ideas.

In the latest controversy, Rodriguez told a Brazilian newspaper last week that school textbooks would be revised to give children the “true idea” of the country's military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.

Rodriguez described the 21 years of army rule that resulted in the death and disappearance of hundreds of people as a “democratic regime of force because it was necessary at that moment.”

His comments came after Bolsonaro ordered the defense forces to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the coup on March 31, triggering street protests across the country.

Rodriguez had previously promised to stamp out “cultural Marxism” and gender-identity “ideology,” and to create a special department handling just military schools.

The sacking comes after the February firing of Gustavo Bebianno, who was minister of the general secretariat of the presidency, over suspected improper campaign financing.

Since assuming the presidency, Bolsonaro has been on an ideological campaign to promote his ultraconservative ideas and values, and to erase any trace of the 2003-2016 leftwing government Brazil had.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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