- Bolsonaro's first choice, Carlos Alberto Decotelli, left office on June 30 after just five days.
- Renato Feder, a state secretary of education, declined.
- Since the coronavirus pandemic the president has also lost two health ministers and a justice minister.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has picked a pastor and college professor to head the education ministry. Milton Ribeiro preaches at the Presbyterian Church in Santos, and was a former deputy dean of Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo. The move has been warmly welcomed by the religious groups.
Bolsonaro has had a difficult time finding a minister. It was reported that last Sunday, a candidate who had been interviewed for the post declined it. Renato Feder, a state secretary of education, did not give the details of his refusal, but said that he appreciated the offer.
The immediate former minister, economist Carlos Alberto Decotelli, left office on June 30 after just five days. There were allegations that he had tampered with his academic credentials. After the President announced Decotelli’s new appointment, highlighting the degrees he had from universities in Brazil and abroad, three of the institutions disputed the degrees.
One of the universities said Decotelli did not complete his studies. The Getulio Vargas Foundation said Decotelli acted as an associate professor but not as a researcher and a professor. “The professor only acted in courses of continued education, in programs for executive development and not as a professor in any of FGV’s schools,” the statement said.
The position was left vacant after Abraham Weintraub, a close friend of president, quit his cabinet post through a video shared by the presidential office. Weintraub revealed that he was leaving to become one of the directors at the World Bank.
Weintraub’s decision came at a time when the country’s top court decided to investigate him in a case that involves the president’s supporters and purported threats, falsehoods, and insults to the Supreme Court Justices and their families.
In a leaked video of a cabinet meeting, the former minister was seen criticizing the judges of the Federal Supreme Court, saying they should be arrested. “If it were up to me, I’d stick all those bums in jail,” he said in the videotaped cabinet meeting.
Weintraub was one of the leaders of the administration’s far-right wing. He was one of the powerful ideological voices in the government. He was the second education minister in Bolsonaro’s administration, taking office in April 2019, after Ricardo Velez Rodriguez was fired.
“Keeping Weintraub in the government was very costly in the middle of the crisis,” said Paulo Calmon, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia. “He had a position of contempt and confrontation with Congress and the Supreme Court, which is a problem as the president seeks to forge alliances.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic the president has lost two health ministers and a justice minister, a person who Brazilians hailed as the anti-corruption hero.
Weintraub’s resignation came on the same day that another close friend Fabricio Queiroz, was arrested by the Brazilian police for corruption allegations. Quieroz, a former police officer and an ex-driver to the President’s son, Flavio Bolsonaro, had been on the run, and concerns had been raised about him.
He was arrested in a property belonging to Fredrick Wassef, a lawyer who represents the president and his son.