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Brazil names new armed forces commanders amid political tensions

Changes come after President Jair Bolsonaro, below strain over COVID disaster, ordered a sweeping cupboard reshuffle.

Brazil has named new commanders of its armed forces, a day after President Jair Bolsonaro’s authorities mentioned it will substitute the heads of the military, navy and air power in a shake-up that raised considerations concerning the far-right chief meddling with the army.

In a news convention on Wednesday, Defence Minister Walter Brago Netto introduced that Paulo Sergio Nogueira de Oliveira would take over the military, Almir Garnier the navy and Carlos Almeida Baptista Junior the air power.

It was Braga Netto’s first news convention since he was appointed to the submit on Monday in a sweeping cupboard reshuffle.

As he introduced the names on Wednesday – the anniversary of a 1964 coup that led to 21 years of army rule in Brazil – Braga Netto mentioned the armed forces remained devoted to their constitutional mission.

“The military has not been found wanting in the past and will not be found wanting when the country needs it,” he mentioned.

Political analysts have raised questions and considerations over this week’s modifications, nevertheless.

“Since 1985, we haven’t had news of such clear intervention of the president with regard to the armed forces,” Carlos Melo, a political science professor at Insper University in Sao Paulo, informed the AP news company this week.


But all three army officers have prolonged service, easing fears amongst some analysts that Bolsonaro would attempt to appoint extra junior personnel who could possibly be extra keen to politicise the armed forces.

Bolsonaro is going through widespread strain to account for his authorities’s dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed greater than 317,000 folks up to now, in accordance with Johns Hopkins University information.

The president, who has downplayed the specter of the virus and opposed public well being restrictions aimed toward stemming the unfold of infections, additionally changed his justice and international affairs ministers this week.

He swore in his fourth well being minister because the begin of the pandemic earlier this month.

Also on Wednesday, the pinnacle of the World Health Organization’s Americas physique warned that the surge in coronavirus circumstances in Latin America could possibly be a lot worse than the one witnessed final 12 months.

“Without preventive action, our region could face an upsurge even larger than the last one,” Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne informed reporters throughout a news briefing.

She mentioned the surge in circumstances is overwhelming Brazil’s healthcare community, the place intensive care models are at greater than 80 % capability in all however two states.

Meanwhile, Brazil, which has struggled to get COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate its inhabitants of 212 million folks, on Wednesday accepted Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose jab for emergency use.

The Anvisa federal well being regulator mentioned its board had unanimously accepted the vaccine to be used on precedence teams, together with healthcare suppliers and the aged.

Brazil signed a cope with the United States firm earlier this month to ship 38 million doses of the vaccine, however the doses will solely begin arriving in August.

This week, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga mentioned he deliberate to ask the US to assist speed up the supply of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines.

Brazil is anticipating to obtain 100 million doses of that vaccine this 12 months, however the first supply of two million jabs is barely anticipated in May.

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Updated on April 10, 2021 7:58 pm

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