Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro replaced Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and five other Cabinet members in a major reshuffle on Monday.
The far-right president named Carlos Alberto Franco Franca as the new foreign minister after Araujo tendered his resignation earlier in the day.
Bolsonaro also named replacements for the defense and justice ministers as well as three other ministers in his biggest Cabinet overhaul since he came to power in January 2019.
Why would the minister step down?
Araujo — himself an ideological ally of the president — has come under fire from sources close to Bolsonaro for failures to secure vaccine supplies.
His strong affinity with former US President Donald Trump is believed to have made him unpopular with the Joe Biden White House. Brazil has had little success in securing a share of US vaccine stockpiles.
Araujo has also been criticized for making quips against vaccine superpower China, similar to Bolsonaro’s own. As well as being a potential source of the vaccine, China is one of Brazil’s major trading partners.
The minister’s frequent attacks on environmentalists and the left were also increasingly being viewed as distractions from tackling the pandemic.
The minister’s expected departure is seen as part of a broader move by the embattled president to address the coronavirus pandemic more seriously. A record-breaking second wave in the country is pushing hospitals to the brink.
rc, ab/msh (Reuters, EFE)
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