Brazil education minister quits after 5 days, over inflated resume

President Jair Bolsonaro (left) and his new Minister of Education Carlos Alberto Decotelli at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil June 26, 2020. — Brazilian Presidency handout via AFP
President Jair Bolsonaro (left) and his new Minister of Education Carlos Alberto Decotelli at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil June 26, 2020. — Brazilian Presidency handout via AFP

BRASILIA, July 1 — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's pick for education minister quit yesterday, in a storm over irregularities in his curriculum vitae just five days after he was appointed and before he was sworn in.

Economist Carlos Decotelli's resume included a doctorate and post-doctoral work that were not completed, according to reports in the Brazilian media.

Decotelli told journalists on Monday he had explained the “inconsistencies” to the president. He was also accused of plagiarism in his masters degree thesis, which he denied.

Decotelli told newspaper Folha de S.Paulo newspaper yesterday that he would not take the job and his swearing-in ceremony, scheduled for yesterday, had not taken place.

Bolsonaro had praised Decotelli's academic achievements when he announced the appointment on Thursday. The president's office did not reply to a request for comment yesterday.

The first Black minister named to Bolsonaro's cabinet, Decotelli was a professor at Brazil's naval academy, a military connection that led him to back Bolsonaro's election campaign in 2018 and he become involved in the transition team.

Decotelli was Bolsonaro's third education minister since his term began in January last year. The first served for just three months and the second, Abraham Weintraub, for 14 months.

Bolsonaro's ideologically conservative backers consider the education ministry key to their efforts to reinforce Christian family values and roll back what they call years of Marxist influence on education in Brazil.

Weintraub, one of the loudest right-wing ideologues in Bolsonaro's cabinet, resigned last week, a target of a Supreme Court probe after the release of a videotape in which he called its judges “bums” who should be jailed.

Bolsonaro nominated Weintraub to be an executive director at the World Bank and he left Brazil for the United States on June 19 even before his resignation became official. — Reuters

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