‘Lula’ completes a cabinet marked by female representation and ideological diversity

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This Thursday, December 29, President Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva completed the list of his ministers. A few days after he took office, the appointments of women in portfolios such as the Environment and Planning stand out. Among the announcements, the establishment of a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples stands out, one of his campaign promises.

A few days after his inauguration as president on January 1, 2023, Luiz Inácio ‘Lula’ da Silva announced his entire cabinet. The leader made public the election of his 37 ministers this Thursday in which he highlights a large presence of women and an attempt to include figures from other parties in the coalition.

“We have a cabinet”, sentenced ‘Lula’. “Now we have to start working, the Brazilian people cannot wait any longer,” added the president-elect.

With this Thursday’s announcement, Brazil will have 14 more ministries than the 23 that were launched during the term of Jair Bolsonaro. On this occasion, 11 will be led by women.

The confirmed cabinet gives the first signs of the government that ‘Lula’ will seek to promote, one that already shows greater ideological plurality with appointments ranging from his Workers’ Party to center-right politicians.

The PT will manage almost a third of the cabinet, while the center-right Union Brazil party, the centrist Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the Brazilian Democratic Movement each won three seats.

At the same time, it highlights the emphasis that ‘Lula’ will seek to give to environmental issues at the hands of Marina Silva and the presence of a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples led by Sonia Guajajara.

Marina Silva and the promise of an environmental shift in Brazil

Marina Silva is a familiar face. It is not the first time that she will accompany ‘Lula’ in her cabinet. Twenty years ago, the defender of the Amazon had already held the Environment portfolio between 2003 and 2008.

Silva, who has forged a worldwide reputation in ecological matters, resigned after five years in said ministry due to “growing resistance within the Government to advance the environmental agenda.”

Marina Silva returns to the Ministry of the Environment.
Marina Silva returns to the Ministry of the Environment. © Andre Borges / EFE

However, under the objective of turning around the environmental policies of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, Silva will return to the portfolio in which he led the historic decrease in deforestation in Brazilian territory.

“She is the best name to restore the country’s environmental governance,” the environmental advocacy group Climate Observatory said in a statement.

Silva was born in Breu Velho in the Amazonian state of Acre and from a very young age she experienced firsthand the devastation of the jungle. In fact, she suffered from blood contamination due to the mercury used by illegal miners.

From a very young age, she has dedicated her life to the fight against climate change. She came to aspire to the Presidency twice, in 2010 and 2018.

Simone Tebet, symbol of “moderation” in the Ministry of Planning

Simone Tenet went from aspiring to the Presidency with ‘Lula’ as a rival, to being his ally by accepting the Ministry of Planning and Budget. The appointment of the lawyer and politician, belonging to the Brazilian Democratic Movement party, is one of the president’s nods to moderation.

“She played an extremely important role in the campaign,” Lula said. And she added: “She was our rival in the first round but an extraordinary ally in the second round.”

Simone Tebet was appointed as Minister of Planning.
Simone Tebet was appointed as Minister of Planning. EFE – André Borges

After coming third in the first round of the presidential elections, with almost five million votes, Tebet defied some of his fellow party members by giving his support to ‘Lula’.

Tebet, with a center-right tendency and with a large presence in the agribusiness sector, sought to lead an alternative that would transcend the polarization between the two candidates who advanced to the second round, ‘Lula’ and Bolsonaro.

The appointment of Sônia Guajajara, a step towards indigenous representation in Brazil

The creation of a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples is one of the first steps that ‘Lula’ seeks to take to settle enormous debts with the country’s indigenous communities. To lead it, the president-elect chose Sônia Guajajara, a well-known indigenous leader who has served as a deputy.

Her given name is Sônia Bone, but she is known as Sônia Guajajara in representation of her hometown in the bowels of the Brazilian Amazon.

Sônia Guajajara will lead the unprecedented Ministry for Indigenous Peoples in Brazil.
Sônia Guajajara will lead the unprecedented Ministry for Indigenous Peoples in Brazil. © Adriano Machado / Reuters

Sônia Guajajara considers herself a feminist and her fight for the environment and indigenous communities led her to be recognized by ‘Time’ magazine as one of the hundred most important personalities in the world.

Now, from a ministry, he will seek to deal with the violence, discrimination and abandonment suffered by indigenous peoples in Brazil.

With EFE and Reuters

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