RIO DE JANEIRO — The leaders of all three branches of Brazil’s armed forces jointly resigned Tuesday following President Jair Bolsonaro’s replacement of the defense minister, causing widespread apprehension of a military shakeup to serve the president’s political interests.
The Defense Ministry reported the resignations — apparently unprecedented since at least the end of military rule 36 years ago — in a statement released without giving reasons. Replacements were not named. But analysts expressed fears the president, increasingly under pressure, was moving to assert greater control over the military.
“Since 1985, we haven’t had news of such clear intervention of the president with regard to the armed forces,” said Carlos Melo, a political science professor at Insper University in Sao Paulo.
Bolsonaro, a conservative former army captain who has often praised Brazil’s former period of military dictatorship, has relied heavily on current and former soldiers to staff key Cabinet positions since taking office in January 2019, but Melo said