Brazil’s Bolsonaro appoints evangelical pastor as new education minister

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro appointed Milton Ribeiro as the nation’s new education minister on Friday, after the previous minister stepped down amid a series of scandals in June. Ribeiro has degrees in education, constitutional law and theology, according to information posted on a government website. He is also a pastor at an evangelical church in Sao Paulo state and was previously a lieutenant in Brazil’s armed forces, a common qualification for appointees of Bolsonaro, who has surrounded himself in Brasilia with current and former army officers. Ribeiro replaces Abraham Weintraub, who stepped down on June 18. His aggressive style made trouble for the president, including racist remarks about China, Brazil’s top trading partner, and a comment that Supreme Court judges should be locked up. The court had included Weintraub in an investigation of an alleged libel and disinformation network run by Bolsonaro’s supporters. Bolsonaro’s first pick for a replacement, economist Carlos Decotelli, stepped down before he was sworn in after various irregularities in his curriculum vitae came to light, including over a doctorate degree he claimed to have received and post-doctoral work that was never completed, according to Brazilian media reports.

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