Brazil's President Fires Army Chief After Anti-Government Riots

  • 22-01-2023, 09:43
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    INA-  sources 

    President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva fired the commander of Brazil's army Saturday, two weeks after an election-denying mob loyal to his far-right predecessor ransacked the halls of power in Brasilia.
    The veteran leftist's dismissal of Julio Cesar de Arruda, confirmed to AFP by military sources, came a day before Lula was to make his first trip abroad, to Argentina, as he moves to put the South American powerhouse back on the international stage.
    Arruda became commander December 30, two days before the end of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro's term, and was confirmed by Lula's administration in early January.

    Lula held his first meeting with his military’s top brass Friday. None of the participants made a statement afterward. Lula removed several dozen soldiers from his security detail following the unrest.
    On January 8, Bolsonaro supporters ransacked the presidential palace, Supreme Court and Congress in Brasilia, breaking windows and furniture, destroying priceless works of art, and leaving graffiti messages calling for a military coup.
    Lula has said he suspects security forces may have been involved in the riots, in which more than 2,000 people were arrested. The leftist president announced a review of his immediate environment.
    Defense Minister Jose Mucio said following Friday's meeting with Lula and the military chiefs that there was no direct armed forces involvement.
    The man named to be the new army chief, Tomas Ribeiro Paiva, until now the head of the southeastern army command, vowed that the military "will continue to guarantee democracy." And he suggested that the results of the October election in which Lula defeated Bolsonaro should be accepted.
    On Sunday Lula will head to Argentina, the customary first stop for Brazilianpresidents. Beyond tradition, however, the trip will also allow him to meet with a faithful ally, President Alberto Fernandez, as well as regional counterparts at the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
    "Brazil is back," Lula vowed on the evening of his October 30 victory against Bolsonaro, whose four years in office were marked by international isolation for Brazil.
    "Everyone wants to talk to Brazil," Lula said this week in an interview with the Globo TV channel, promising to rebuild Brasilia's ties with the international community.

    Bolsonaro, a harsh critic of the left, suspended Brazil's participation in CELAC, alleging the body "gave importance to non-democratic regimes such as those of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua."
    He also failed to establish warm ties with Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia, where the left had come to power.
    Foreign relations specialist Almeida said that Lula wants to "prioritize economic cooperation" in the region.
    Lula also expressed this week his interest in a regional policy for the preservation of the Amazon, as the international community waits for policy changes following Bolsonaro's strong record of increased deforestation.

    Source: VOA