Brazil’s 3 armed forces chiefs to be replaced, govt says after defense & foreign ministers quit Bolsonaro’s cabinet

The commanders of Brazil’s Army, Navy and Air Force will be replaced, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement, just 24 hours after the country’s defense and foreign ministers resigned from the cabinet.

General Edson Pujol of the Army, Navy Admiral Ilques Barbosa Junior, and Air Lieutenant Brigadier Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez surrendered their positions after a meeting on Tuesday, the ministry said.

Present at the meeting was President Jair Bolsonaro’s new pick for defense minister, General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who takes over from Fernando Azevedo e Silva.

Azevedo e Silva announced his resignation in a statement on Monday, saying “mission accomplished,” but without giving a reason for his sudden exit.

Brazilian media reported that the defense minister was effectively forced out by Bolsonaro, and the three armed forces commanders were apparently unhappy about the move.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo announced he was stepping down after backlash from the leaders of both chambers of Brazil’s National Congress over his alleged failure to secure enough Covid-19 vaccine doses.

A cabinet reshuffle on Monday saw Bolsonaro make other key personnel changes, including a new justice minister and attorney general.

Brazil is currently experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases, and on Monday saw another 1,660 people die from the virus, taking the country’s total death toll to more than 313,000.