Posted on January 12, 2023

Lula Puts Diverse New Face on Brazil Government

AFP, January 6, 2023

Brazil’s new President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva held his first cabinet meeting Friday, getting down to the business of “rebuilding” and “reunifying” the country after his divisive election battle with far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

The veteran leftist’s new government looks radically different from Bolsonaro’s, with 11 women, five blacks and two Indigenous ministers — a break with the previous administration, which was dominated by white men and military generals.


Lula, 77, ignored market pressure and named a political pick for finance minister: Fernando Haddad {snip}

The choice has not exactly thrilled the business world: stocks in Latin America’s biggest economy fell more than three percent Monday on the first business day of Lula’s term, with investors nervous over how he will fund his promised social spending, given Brazil’s already overstretched government finances.


Marina Silva, a veteran environmentalist, faces the huge job of rebuilding Brazil’s environmental protection agencies and stanching the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which surged under Bolsonaro.


Career diplomat Mauro Vieira, 71, says his task as Brazil’s new foreign minister is to “rebuild the country’s bridges with the world.”


Lula, who won the October election thanks to overwhelming support in Brazil’s impoverished northeast, has named four former governors from the region to his cabinet.

One of the most powerful figures in his administration will be Justice Minister Flavio Dino, 54, former governor of the northeastern state of Maranhao, who ran in 2015-2022.


New Human Rights Minister Silvio Almeida, a 46-year-old black lawyer and public intellectual, turned heads on his first day in office with an impassioned speech that underlined the new administration’s break with the Bolsonaro years.

Speaking to groups that complained of being marginalized, discriminated against or ignored under Bolsonaro — including blacks, women, the disabled and the LGBT community — he repeated over and over: “You exist, and you are valuable to us.”

The speech drew loud cheers and went viral online, cementing Almeida’s status as a rising star in Brazilian politics.