Brazil's Bolsonaro sacks third minister in six months

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) –


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday sacked his third minister since taking office following months of fighting between the military and far-right ideological factions of his embattled government.

Retired general Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, the government secretary, had clashed with Bolsonaro's sons and right-wing writer Olavo de Carvalho, who is often dubbed Bolsonaro's "guru" and is a vocal critic of the military men surrounding the president.

Bolsonaro said his decision did not affect "the friendship, admiration and mutual respect" between the two men, presidential spokesman Otavio do Rego Barros said in a statement.

Santos Cruz has been replaced by another army general, Luiz Eduardo Ramos Baptista Pereira, maintaining at eight the number of military men running Bolsonaro's 22 ministries.

Santos Cruz's dismissal comes after a tumultuous start to Bolsonaro's term as he struggles to push his signature pension reform through a hostile Congress and prevent the economy from sliding back into recession.

Trade unions have called for a nationwide strike and protests on Friday over the pension overhaul.

It would be just the latest mass demonstration against Bolsonaro since he took office in January.

Bolsonaro fired education minister Ricardo Velez Rodriguez in April and Gustavo Bebianno, who was the minister of the general secretariat of the presidency, in February.

In the lead up to Santos Cruz's dismissal, the writer Carvalho had launched a nasty campaign against him after the retired general defended imposing some restrictions on the Internet.

"Control the Internet, Santos Cruz? Control your mouth, you piece of shit", Carvalho tweeted recently.