Former Defense Minister Fernando Azivedo e Silva issued a statement saying that he “protected the armed forces as a state institution.” He will be replaced by former government minister Army General Braga Netto.
Former Attorney General Andre Levy, who refused to sign Bolsonaro’s lawsuit to lift the lockdown orders of the three state governors, also published a letter of resignation. He will be replaced by former Brazilian Minister of Justice Andre Mendonca, whose former seat in the Ministry of Justice will now be filled by Federal Police Chief Anderson Torres, a friend of the Bolsonaro family.
The former foreign minister, General Luiz Eduardo Ramos, was appointed minister of government. Favia Aruda, a federal deputy, is now Secretary of State.
And former Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo has been replaced by diplomat Carlos Alberto Franca.
This change is seen by many army generals close to Bolsonaro for several strategic positions, following several other replacements at the top of Brazil’s federal government this month.
On Saturday, the country’s daily death toll exceeded 3,000 for the second consecutive day, and on Thursday night, Brazil’s Ministry of Health confirmed the horrific number of more than 100,000 new Kovid-19 cases in a single day – the country’s The highest figure since the epidemic began.
But critics took the 3-minute speech as a half-hearted attempt at public relations rescue in a single day, where Brazil set its own record for most coronovirus deaths recorded in a single day.
Bolsonaro has refused to support the measures for lockdown, citing the health of the economy and the personal freedom of citizens. For now, most of the restrictions on assemblies have been imposed by individual state governments; Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais are among the states that have implemented the night time curfew. A lawsuit recently filed by the Bolsonaro administration to lift those restrictions was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Calls for him to change strategy are growing louder. Last month, more than 500 influential finance individuals published an open letter calling for more efficient control measures so that the country’s economy can recover.
But Bolsonaro is not yet ready to face challenges to his approach to the virus – an attitude dampened on Monday by the selection of familiar faces for top ministerial positions. As he said last week during an official government function on education, “We must fight against the virus and not against the president.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
CNN’s Matt River and Caitlin Hu contributed to the reporting.