Saturday, May 14, 2016

In Just One Day, Brazil's Post-Coup President Sent the Country Back Decades
Brazil's Chief of Staff Minister Eliseu Padilha, Senate-imposed President Michel Temer, and Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles (L-R) in Brasilia, Brazil, May 13, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 May 2016

Michel Temer has waged an all out attack on the country's most progressive social and political achievements.

All White Male Cabinet

Senate-imposed president Michel Temer unveiled his cabinet Thursday and his choices are drawing criticism for failing to represent Brazil's diversity.

Temer's cabinet has no women, no Black ministers, no one who identifies as gay, lesbian, or trangender, nor anyone representing social movements or any other of Brazil's minority groups.

Even Senator Cristovam Buarque, who voted in favor of impeachment, expressed surprise at Temer's choices for his cabinet, posting on his Twitter account: “Seems strange to me a cabinet without women, without representatives from minority groups or social movements.”

Temer's cabinet, while all men and all white, also includes seven ministers who are under investigation for their alleged role in the Petrobras corruption scandal.

Key Ministries Eliminated

Temer reduced the size of the cabinet to only 22 ministries, ostensibly in the name of austrity. However, his choice of what ministries to cut or to fold into other ministries is telling of the interim president's right-wing priorities.

The Ministry of Culture has been eliminated

The Ministry of Agrarian Development has been eliminated

The Ministry of Science and Technology has been eliminated (it is now part of a much larger dysfunctional  ministry, together with telecommunications)

The Ministry of Women has been eliminated

The Ministry of Racial Equality has been eliminated

The Ministry of Human Rights has been eliminated

The Comptroller General, which once enjoyed independent status, has now become the Ministry of Supervision, Transparency and Control, which could affect its ability to investigate alleged corruption.

Questionable Choices for Ministers

The new minister of justice, Alexandre de Moraes, is a person well-known to social movements in the state of Sao Paulo. He previously served as secretary for security for the right-wing government of the state and in that capacity oversaw several brutal crackdowns on social protest, including an incident on Jan. 13, 2016, that was widely condemned for its excessive use of police force.

Furthermore, O Estado de S. Paulo said de Moraes served as a lawyer for Transcooper, a company accused of running a money laundering operation on behalf of PCC (Primeiro Comando da Capital), the largest criminal organization in Brazil.

Other ministries are now being led by right-wing politicians such as Jose Sarney, who lost the presidential election to Rousseff in 2010.

The seven ministers facing corruption allegations also now enjoy a form of immunity, as only the Supreme Court can try them if they are sitting government ministers. When Rousseff attempted to appoint her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the post of cabinet chief, she was accused of trying to shelter him from criminal charges and he was ultimately not allowed to assume the post.

Fast Facts

-All Ministries are now in hands of the right, who lost in the 2014 elections to Dilma Rousseff.

-Federal Judge Sergio Moro, who has been leading the investigation into the Petrobras scandal has called for peace.

-Monthly payments for individuals in the low income housing program “Minha casa, minha vida” (My home, my life) will increase 237 percent by July. Since the program was launched in March 2009, more than 2.6 million homes were handed over to low income families through the program.

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