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Brazil Searches for New Defense Minister on Heels of Air Tragedy

Brazil's Planning Minister, Paulo Bernardo Things might change, but at this point it seems quite unlikely that Brazil's Defense Minister, Waldir Pires, will ride unscathed the latest storm on the heels of Brazil's deadliest air accident ever, June 17, which left at least 199 dead. The odds are that he'll be defenestrated.

Pires is in charge of the military, which in turn are in charge of Brazil's air transportation. Most of the air traffic controllers, for example, are military men.

The Brazilian media has been abuzz with rumors about who will be Pires's replacement. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's favorite, it's been said, was Nelson Jobim, who was Justice Minister during the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration. He was invited but said no to this hot potato.

Lula then considered some shuffling, bringing Foreign Minister Celso Amorim while replacing him with José Viegas, a former Defense minister, who is also ambassador in Spain. Viegas resigned from Defense in 2004 after Lula refused to sack Army Chief General Francisco Albuquerque who had released a note praising the military regime that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. Viegas wanted Albuquerque out.

Some Lula aides made the president see, however, that such a swap wouldn't be convenient since Amorim is internationally respected and has been heading the WTO's (World Trade Organization) Doha Rounds since Lula's first term of office, which started January 2003.

With Jobim and Amorim out of the competition, the president's next best choice is Paulo Bernardo, the current Planning minister. According to daily Folha de S. Paulo, two of Lula's close aides have already  sounded him out, but Bernardo still hasn't received an invitation from Lula to assume the post.

Bernardo is no foreign to the air sector. Earlier in March, he was the guy who intermediated the negotiations between a rebellious group of flight controllers and the government. He was the one who received the controllers' demands and negotiated a settlement in the name of the administration.

Despite an apparent success his intermediation was a big failure and didn't please anyone. The military protested that he had caved in to absurd demands. The controllers ended up empty handed when the government went back an reneged on every promise made by Bernardo. .

In case Bernardo doesn't get the job, still another option would be House Representative José Eduardo Cardozo, who is from São Paulo and belongs to the ruling PT (Workers Party).

Besides Pires' head another one that might roll is that of airport authority Infraero's president, brigadier José Carlos Pereira. Just yesterday, Pereira in response to criticism from Ifatca (International Federation of Air Traffic Controller’s Associations) that the international community should help Brazil solve its air transportation crisis, the brigadier said:

"There are some morons out there willing to interfere. Brazil doesn't need international help. They should look after their own air space and we will take care of ours."

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  • Show Comments (6)

  • O Velhinho

    [quote]Remember that Perez is defense monester not just FAB[/quote]

    Well said. Perez (a.k.a Pires) a defense MONSTER indeed.

  • Simpleton

    Bigger picture
    Remember that Perez is defense monester not just FAB. Although my personal surmize of Brig Bueno, Saito and (with out having a word exchange even once with) Pereira is that each is most likely a good, competent individual and, via espirit de corps, well supported by those that are now (or were) in the ranks and files under them. Still, it’s not so simple to move the mil back up into a workable and effective lead on the present political sea.

  • forrest Brown

    are the born thet way or made
    congress holds the money from needed intrasturta people die .
    it is there fault , but call for another person to be thron on the blade.

    saveing them selves all the bad press .

    people need to go after the congress men whom dont spend the money on what it needs to be spent on
    instead of there famileys & friends

    brasil is like the US we all need to clean house from top down
    by mass march on the capitol .
    we saw what they did to bush on his last visit wht cant they do it to there own

  • O Velhinho

    [quote]Bernardo is no foreign to the air sector. Earlier in March, he was the guy who intermediated the negotiations between a rebellious group of flight controllers and the government. He was the one who received the controllers’ demands and negotiated a settlement in the name of the administration.

    Despite an apparent success his intermediation was a big failure and didn’t please anyone. The military protested that he had caved in to absurd demands. The controllers ended up empty handed when the government went back an reneged on every promise made by Bernardo. .
    [/quote]

    Bernardo is too timid to deal with his boss as well as his subordinates. He will be beter off if he maintains his current portfolio and doesnt do anything.

    Is this JosÀƒ© Eduardo Cardozo is related to FHC,but a PT member ? Better check it out. It is like Sarney belonging to PMDB and his daughter in PFL (currently known as DEMS).

    Only people that have balls to accept this chllenge are the ones from the Military. As the current situation involves Aviation, may be our FAB officers could be invited to occupy the Ministry. Off my head, I can think of Gen.Bueno, Gen.Saito or the current President of Infraero , Brig.Pereira himself.Get rid of Pires, put one of these folks in charge and just see how fast they solve the problems. In my opinion, good Brig.Pereira should not even accepted the invitation to head INFRAERO after knowing well that he got a bomb from his predecessor and he was forbidden to fire incompetent politicos from that entity.

    It is absolutely ridiculous to read this article, knowing fully well that there are plenty of Managerial Talents in this country to head the Armed Forces and Lula is scratching his head and looking for a “Heavy Political Weight”. May be he should continue with Pires himself.

  • ch.c.

    It will be……
    ….a corrupted politicians anyway !

  • doggydaddy

    No Way Jose
    Who in their right mind would accept the position anyways? It would be a no win situation as long as the politicans here pulling the strings! Boa Sorte to who ever is foolish enough to jump into the foray and inferno!

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