Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is fighting back his collapse in public opinion polls ahead of next year's what seems certain his reelection bid, by reaching out to what he once described as corrupt political parties and system, but also with more handouts to the vulnerable population.
Bolsonaro made changes in the cabinet by naming experienced traditional politicians (Senator Ciro Nogueira cabinet chief) and has now announced new subsidies, among which three billion Reais (some US$ 600 million) from oil and gas giant Petrobras to fund free LPG bottles to low income families that can't afford them.
Liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, is used for cooking in much of Latin America and in Brazil mainly for low income families, and Petrobras has been repeatedly criticized for recent price hikes.
Petrobras CEO General Silva e Luna has three billion Reais reserved to help people in need, Bolsonaro said in his radio show. People could have one free PPG bottle every two months he added.
Bolsonaro also anticipated the expansion of other social programs as part of the policy to compensate for higher inflation with record prices for fuel and power. One of those measures would also increase the size of Bolsa Familia, which makes direct payments to families in need with children, from 14 to 17 million families.
The Brazilian economy is rapidly recovering with commodities' exports, but the other side of the coin is the increase in food prices, triggering food inflation.
On the political side the Brazilian president not only appointed veteran Nogueira cabinet chief but also reinstated the ministry of Labor and Social Security which he had eliminated the first day he took office on January first 2019. He appointed a close ally of his to the post, Lower House member Onyx Lorenzoni.