Army General was chosen by Bolsonaro still in the transition of government in 2018. Reason for leaving and name of the replacement were not informed.
Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva said in an official statement on Monday (29) that he will step down. The exoneration has not yet been published in the "Federal Official Gazette".
The statement did not inform the reason for the decision - which had not been anticipated by the minister or President Jair Bolsonaro until Monday. Azevedo e Silva was announced as minister even during the 2018 government transition.
The name of the replacement had not yet been announced until the last of this text.
Azevedo was chief of the Army's General Staff, one of the most prestigious posts in the Force, and joined the reserve in 2018. When he was announced as minister, he was an adviser to the then president of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), Dias Toffoli.
The Azevedo e Silva management
Azevedo e Silva remained for two years and three months at the head of the Ministry of Defense. The Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) are linked to the portfolio.
During this period, Bolsonaro maintained the habit of visiting the ministry's headquarters, at the Esplanada dos Ministérios, and prioritized spending in the area. The government approved a reformulation of the military's career, for example, and managed to negotiate different rules for the category in the pension reform with Congress.
Azevedo e Silva was the second military man to command the Ministry of Defense since the creation of the portfolio in 1999, under the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The first military man to occupy the post was General Joaquim Silva e Luna, appointed by Michel Temer.
Azevedo e Silva's period at the helm of the Ministry of Defense was also marked by statements by Bolsonaro - commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces - that hinted at institutional breaks. The president even participated in an anti-democratic act in front of the Army headquarters in Brasilia.
The general, however, was considered a discreet minister, careful with his words. Azevedo e Silva tried to balance the link between the government and the Armed Forces - since Bolsonaro placed part of the Esplanada and state companies in the hands of the military - and official statements minimizing the risk of politicization or radicalization of the troops.
See the full statement below:
I thank the President of the Republic, to whom I have dedicated total loyalty over these more than two years, for the opportunity to have served the country, as Minister of State for Defense.
During that period, I preserved the Armed Forces as state institutions.
My acknowledgment and gratitude to the Commanders of the Navy, Army and Air Force, and their respective forces, who never went to great lengths to meet the needs and emergencies of the Brazilian population.
I leave in the certainty of the mission accomplished.
Fernando Azevedo e Silva