Same Old Team


    As expected the PFL (Partido da Frente Liberal—Liberal
    Front Party) got the lion’s share with Antônio Carlos Magalhães, president of the Senate
    and the PFL leader being able to keep his protégés Rodolfo Tourinho (Mines and Energy)
    and Waldeck Ornelas (Social Security) in their posts.
    By Émerson Luís

    Whoever expected radical changes in the Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s second four-year
    term was bitterly disappointed. Maybe Cardoso once dreamed of a cabinet that would mirror
    the social theories favoring the less privileged he concocted in the past. Faced with
    reality, however, and increasingly pressured by his more practical (some would say
    cynical) side, polyglot, sociologist, former theoretician for the left, President Cardoso
    in forming his new cabinet seemed resigned to political arrangements that would guarantee
    him the votes in the legislative mainly to secure a fiscal plan that would make possible
    an International Monetary Fund loan.

    He ended up acting more like a prime minister distributing posts as if taking bids from
    the parties who offered or threatened him most. There were very few changes. Nineteen of
    23 ministers from his first term of office were kept. The operational control of the
    government was also kept under Clóvis Carvalho, the Palácio da Alvorada’s chief of
    staff. Despite the creation of the Production Ministry renamed to Development, Industry
    and Commerce and given to respected intellectual, Celso Lafer, there is no hint there will
    be any change in the political or economic path.

    Cardoso has threatened to fire those ministers whose parties do not align with the
    government in Congress when there are crucial matter being voted. But he cannot hide the
    fact that he had to swallow some frogs, as the expression goes in Brazil, to line up his
    cabinet. Even before the carping started coming in from his critics, Cardoso conceded,
    "In a complex society like the Brazilian, you cannot advance without a system of
    alliances, which sometimes might even be contradictory."

    Buried is the dream of a new economic model. Cardoso once planned to have his friend
    and Communications Minister Sérgio Motta leading the newly-created Development, Industry
    and Commerce Ministry. With the death of Motta in April of 1998, Luiz Carlos Mendonça de
    Barros, the new Communications minister became the heir apparent to the post. But this was
    before the November 1998 scandal in which Mendonça de Barros was caught in tape candidly
    talking on the phone about his preferences on the Telebrás (the state-owned telephone
    holding company) privatization auction.

    As expected the PFL (Partido da Frente Liberal—Liberal Front Party) got the lion’s
    share with Antônio Carlos Magalhães, president of the Senate and the PFL leader being
    able to keep his protégés Rodolfo Tourinho (Mines and Energy) and Waldeck Ornelas
    (Social Security) in their posts. They are both from Bahia, homestate of Magalhães. The
    Ministry of Sport and Tourism was created to admit PFL Representative Rafael Grecca from
    Paraná. There was also the Magalhães’s hand behind senator Élcio Álvares choice for
    the Defense Ministry and Zequinha Sarney (son of former President José Sarney) for the
    Environment Ministry.

    The PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro—Brazilian Democratic
    Movement Party), the party with the most members in Congress, grumbled, even though they
    got two important posts in the cabinet: the Justice Ministry for Renan Calheiros and the
    Transportation Ministry for Eliseu Padilha. They were also able to get status of minister
    for Regional Policies secretary Ovídio de Angelis.

    Besides being assailed by political leaders trying to secure some turf for themselves,
    Cardoso had also his hands tied by the IMF, which wouldn’t let him exonerate Finance
    minister Pedro Malan and Central Bank president, Gustavo Franco, without a good fight.

    The choice of ambassador Celso Lafer to oversee the Ministry of Development, Industry
    and Commerce, was an attempt to please international and domestic investors and
    businesspeople. He is expected to be a mild counterpoint to the Cardoso pragmatism.
    According to former Finance minister and current House representative Antônio Delfim
    Netto from São Paulo, Lafer "is well prepared, is connected with the Paulista
    (from São Paulo) business sector, but he is not a belligerent man, he will offer no
    resistance to the economic team."

    The Pleased and
    the Unpleased

    Despite all the fretting, most of the allies seemed to be happy with the final cabinet
    composition. Senator José Sarney, one of those directly benefited by the parceling out of
    power echoed the opinion of many of his colleagues: "This is a very good team. The
    President assembled a political cabinet."

    "We are satisfied with our share," said Geddel Vieira Lima, the Baiano (from
    Bahia) leader of the PMDB in the House. Besides getting the Justice and Transportation
    ministries, Lima’s party was also able to win the Regional Policies Department, which is
    now responsible for Water Resources, a bureau that belonged before to the Environment

    A PTB (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro—Brazilian Labor Party) threatened rebellion
    never occurred, since the threat that Paulo Paiva—a PTB choice— would be removed
    from the Planning Ministry never happened. Some criticism came from some members of the
    President’s party, the PSDB, even though most seemed happy with their lot in the bargain.

    "It was the feasible reform, but we are happy with it, anyway," said Aécio
    Neves, the party’s leader in the House. Representative Alberto Goldman, from São Paulo,
    disagreed, criticizing the selection of PSDB’s Pimenta da Veiga for the Communications
    Department, seeing it as a victory for the PFL. Goldman would rather have Veiga in a more
    prominent political post. He also didn’t like to see Francisco Dornelles from the PPB
    (Partido Progressista Brasileiro—Brazilian Progressive Party) as the minister of Work
    and Employment, dismissing it with a, "The PPB resembles more finances than

    The PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores—Workers’s Party), the main opposition party,
    seemed totally unimpressed with the new cabinet. "There was no change," said
    José Dirceu, the party’s president, echoed by another PT heavyweight, the former Porto
    Alegre (capital of Rio Grande do Sul) mayor, Tarso Genro: "The cabinet accommodates
    the government basis, now with an intellectual relish, Celso Lafer."

    In Pernambuco some PFL politicians want to rebel against the government and their party
    leadership. They cannot accept the fact that they lost the decades-old control over the
    water resources sector. "The President knows that he needs to massage the ego of the
    parliamentary basis, so they will approve the proposals he sends to Congress. He didn’t do
    this giving irrigation to the PMDB and he will be sorry," threatened PFL
    representative Osvaldo Coelho from Pernambuco.

    All the Names

    Development, Industry and Commerce – Celso Lafer. The Brazilian ambassador to
    the World Trade Organization is highly respected by the government economic team as well
    as the Brazilian business community.

    Agriculture – Francisco Turra (PPB)

    Culture – Francisco Weffort. He continues in his post.

    Finance – Pedro Malan. One of the most respected ministers from the first four
    years, Malan was the first to have his post guaranteed for a second term.

    Budget and Management – Paulo Paiva (PTB). Stayed heeding an appeal by Malan.

    Foreign Relations – Luiz Felipe Lampreia

    Education – Paulo Renato de Souza. Like Malan and Lampreia he’s been is his post
    since the beginning of the Cardoso first term of office.

    Health – José Serra. Cardoso’s personal friend, he was Planning minister at the
    beginning of the Cardoso administration.

    Science and Technology _ Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira (PSDB)

    Mines and Energy – Rodolpho Tourinho (PFL). An Antônio Carlos Magalhães
    protégé, he replaces Raimundo Brito.

    Social Security – Waldeck Ornelas (PFL). He asked senator Antônio Carlos
    Magalhães, his friend, to be maintained in the little popular post.

    Labor and Employment – Francisco Dornelles (PPB). Former Industry and Commerce
    minister, he would rather get the Communications post.

    Environment – José Sarney Filho (PFL) The PV (Partido Verde—Green Party)
    rightfully wanted the post. It became his Christmas gift from his father, ex-president
    José Sarney (PMDB).

    Sports and Tourism _ Raphael Grecca (PFL). He wanted the Urban Development
    ministry, which never left the drawing board

    Defense – Élcio Álvares (PFL). The new ministry reunites formers military
    ministries (Army, Navy and Air Force). Álvares failed to get reelected to the senate in
    the October 1998 national elections.

    Justice – Renan Calheiros (PMDB). He is maintained in the post from the previous
    term of office despite some grumbling from other allied parties.

    Transportation – Eliseu Padilha (PMDB). He also kept his post.

    Agrarian Reform – Raul Jungmann. Being able to arrange a $800,000 foreign loan
    helped him keep his job.

    Civilian Staff – Clóvis Carvalho

    Military Staff – General Alberto Cardoso

    Communications – Pimenta da Veiga. Representing the PSDB from Minas Gerais.


    Social Action (linked to the Social Security Ministry) _ Wanda Hengel was the
    secretary of Social Development in the city of Rio

    Administration and Patrimony (linked to the Budget and Management Ministry –
    Cláudia Costin

    Regional Policies – Ovídio de Angelis (PMDB).

    Foreign Commerce Chamber – José Botafogo Gonçalves

    Institutional Relations – Eduardo Graeff

    Government Communication – Andrea Matarazzo. He almost resigned before starting
    the new job. The ex-president of CESP (Companhia Energética de São Paulo) and former
    Energy secretary of São Paulo Governor, Mário Covas, will be in charge of the government

    Human Rights (linked to the Justice Ministry) – José Gregori

    Planning and Evaluation, in charge of IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e
    Estatística—Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics) – Edward Amadeo

    Special Projects – Ronaldo Sardenberg. He was in charge of the extinct
    Department of Strategic Affairs.

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