RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian president-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Monday named retired General Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz as his next government minister, adding a fifth military man to his cabinet.
Right-wing politician Bolsonaro, a former army captain who surged to victory on a pledge to end years of corruption and rising violence, made the announcement in a Twitter post.
Some Brazilians are concerned that the appointment of Dos Santos Cruz, who led United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti, and other current or former military officials marks a return to a militarized government. Bolsonaro takes office on Jan. 1.
Seeking to defuse those concerns, Bolsonaro, a fan of the 1964-85 military dictatorship, has vowed to adhere to Brazil’s constitution and has moderated some of his more extreme views expressed during his nearly-three decades as a federal congressman.
Bolsonaro, who has long been a critic of the socialist government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, again appeared to tone down his strident views on regional migration, saying that Venezuelans fleeing to Brazil could not be returned to their country “because they are not merchandise.”
In comments to reporters on the weekend, he also floated the idea of creating a refugee camp for Venezuelans in the northern border state of Roraima, while defending strict checks on who enter “because there are some people we don’t want in Brazil.”
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Brad Brooks and Grant McCool)