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Brazil: Bolsonaro appoints black minister to silence accusations of racism

Brazil: Bolsonaro appoints black minister to silence accusations of racism

Criticized for the lack of diversity in the executive and accused of racism during the protests after the death of George Floyd in the United States, the Brazilian president appointed Carlos Alberto Decotelli to Education. 

He is the black Prime Minister of the government since the coming to power of the far-right leader.

Jair Bolsonaro tries to restore his coat of arms. As his government faces an ever-increasing coronavirus pandemic and a deep economic crisis, the Brazilian president is stepping up initiatives to save his mandate.

To silence accusations of lack of diversity in the executive, the far-right leader on Thursday appointed the black prime minister of his team, Carlos Alberto Decotelli, who will be in charge of Education. 

This economist and university professor is the third to hold the position since the start of the Bolsonaro presidency. He replaces Abraham Weintraub, who resigned on June 18 and fled to the United States after a series of controversies, triggered in particular after racist statements.

Carlos Alberto Decotelli, 70, seems to have a much more consensual profile. In an interview with CNN Brazil, shortly after his appointment, he promised 
"more dialogue with universities and research centers". 

The new minister also said he was "surprised" to have been chosen by Jair Bolsonaro. 
"Yesterday I was still giving lessons and today I was invited to a meeting" with the president." 
he revealed.

Reserve officer in the Navy, he had already held a high-ranking position in the Bolsonaro administration, presiding over the National Fund for the Development of Education, from February to August 2019.

The government of Jair Bolsonaro has known, since he took office, a dozen resignations or dismissals of ministers, because of controversy or for incompatibility with the president. In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, two successive ministers of health were landed. And a fifth Culture Secretary has recently been appointed.

In Brazil, 54% of the population is black, but racial inequalities persist in this country which was the last in America to abolish slavery in 1888. Before his election, Jair Bolsonaro had uttered racist remarks. 

In recent weeks, protests against him have also gathered anti-racist activists, in the wake of the mobilizations after the death of the African-American George Floyd.

The appointment of Carlos Alberto Decotelli is a direct response to these criticisms. But Jair Bolsonaro had already started his operation to win back opinion. On June 11, he announced the creation of a Ministry of Communications and appointed Fabio Faria, 42, son of the boss of SBT, one of the country's largest terrestrial channels, to head it. 

Young, dashing and charismatic, he appears to be the opposite of the president, who stands out more readily with his martial, impulsive and bellicose tone.

Fabio Faria will have the heavy burden of giving a more respectable image of the government. But the creation of his ministry has already drawn criticism. 

"The Ministry of Propaganda has been recreated."
quipped on Twitter Sergio Moro, former Minister of Justice, who had slammed the door of the government two months ago.
"The information war is very important, which is why I decided to recreate the Ministry of Communications." 
said the president.

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