The Economists, Military, Moralists & Politicians Running Brazil

Traditionally, Brazilian presidents offered ministerial positions to politicians in return for their parties’ support in Congress. But with politics-as-usual deeply discredited in the wake of successive corruption scandals, Jair Bolsonaro is trying a different tack. The new government consists of roughly four separate groups, only one of which is explicitly political.

Meet the economists, the military officers, the moralists and the politicians who will run Brazil from Jan. 1.

The Economists

Paulo Guedes – Economy Minister

  • Studied under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago
  • Nicknamed the “one-stop-shop” during the election campaign, Bolsonaro directed all economic questions to Guedes
  • Guedes will run a “super-ministry” comprising finance, planning and trade portfolios

Roberto Campos Neto – Central Bank President

  • Educated at UCLA, Campos ran Santander America’s Treasury department
  • Grandson of Roberto Campos, a planning minister during the period of military rule and one of the most important liberal economists in Brazil’s history
  • After spending much of his career abroad, he was robbed shortly after returning to Brazil, prompting him to buy bullet-proof cars for his whole family

Military Officers

General Augusto Heleno – Institutional Security Cabinet Chief

  • Head of Minustah, the Brazilian army-led UN peacekeeping force in Haiti from 2004-5
  • Ran the communication and education department of the Brazilian Olympic Committee
  • Publicly defended the military takeover of 1964 “against the communization of the country”

General Antonio Hamilton Mourao – Vice President

  • First general to occupy vice presidency since end of military rule
  • During his army career, he was an instructor at the elite Agulhas Negras military academy, took part in a peace mission in Angola and served as military attache in Venezuela
  • Considered a moderate within cabinet, Mourao has a history of controversial statements, including the proposal of a military intervention to resolve a political crisis in 2017


Sergio Moro – Justice Minister

  • Lead investigative judge in Operation Carwash, the largest corruption scandal in Brazil’s history
  • Sentenced former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to prison on corruption and money-laundering.
  • Resigned his position as a federal judge in order to take up the position of justice minister

Ernesto Araujo – Foreign Minister

  • Mid-level career diplomat who has become an outspoken supporter of the foreign policy espoused by Donald Trump
  • Author of a polemical blog that strongly defends Christian values while fiercely criticizing China, globalization and environmental activism
  • Previously posted to U.S and Canada, Araujo was head of the North America department of the Brazilian foreign office


Onyx Lorenzoni – Cabinet Chief

  • Veterinarian by training, Lorenzoni has been a federal deputy for the center-right DEM party for the past 16 years
  • Prominent supporter of the “10 measures against corruption” bill that was put forward by public prosecutors during the peak of the Operation Carwash scandal
  • Faces preliminary investigation after he admitted taking off-the-books campaign donations during the 2010 and 2014 elections

Tereza Cristina – Agriculture Minister

  • Former leader of the powerful congressional farmers’ caucus, Cristina will oversee a sector that contributes over 20 percent of Brazil’s GDP
  • Nicknamed the “poison muse,” she was one of the strongest advocates in Congress of a bill to liberalize the use of fertilizers and pesticides
  • One of only two women in Bolsonaro’s 22-member cabinet

For a complete list of Bolsonaro’s new cabinetclick here

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