Six cabinet members are out. The military’s top leaders are also gone. And it’s only Tuesday.
First came the Monday morning exit of Brazil’s foreign minister, a right-wing ideologue blamed for failing to secure enough coronavirus vaccines. Then the defense minister was gone. Then the justice minister was replaced. Tuesday morning brought still more tumult: the departures of the navy, army and air force chiefs.
The exits have sent political shock waves across Latin America’s largest country, precipitating the most politically uncertain moment of President Jair Bolsonaro’s two-year-plus tenure. Brazil must now face what public health analysts say could be the darkest weeks of the pandemic with a raft of new officials and an incoherent national strategy.
The sudden moves — some expected, others not — suggested mounting political desperation in the presidential palace. Health systems have collapsed. Some 2,600 people are dying of the coronavirus every day. And Brazilians are increasingly looking to blame the failures of the pandemic on Bolsonaro, who has never appeared more vulnerable. Earlier this month, the leader of the congress implied the president may face impeachment. [Continue reading…]