BRAZIL, May 24 (Reuters) – Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Murao said former Health Minister Eduardo Pasuelo, an incumbent general who attended a rally for far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, was likely to be disciplined by the military for violating anti-rule policies.
Pazuelo is under the control of the Senate Coronavirus Pandemic Commission, which killed 440,000 Brazilians, the highest number of victims outside the United States.
He was removed in March amid growing criticism for delaying the provision of COVID-19 vaccines and returned to military service.
Pasuelo appeared on Sunday at a motorcycle demonstration, followed by a rally with Bolsonaro supporters in Rio de Janeiro, where he joined the president in a sound car used by the president for speech. Neither wore masks at the event, which drew crowds despite the city’s rules of social distancing.
Mourao, a retired general, told reporters that the army was likely to discipline Pasuelo for violating army rules banning current officers from participating in politics. The vice president suggested that Pasuelo be transferred to a reserve duty to minimize the problem.
“Pazuelo’s appearance at this political demonstration could be considered a violation of army rules,” Murao said, adding that it was an internal disciplinary matter and that Pazuelo apologized to the army commander.
Members of the Senate investigation said they plan to summon Pazuelo again after claiming he lied to the commission several times during a two-day interrogation.
“No doubt he will be recalled for testifying because he lied – and he lied a lot,” said Senator Omar Aziz, chairman of the commission.
Passed by senators last week, Pasuelo defended Bolsonaro from accusations that he had delayed efforts to provide vaccines and instead tried to get the health ministry to approve unproven remedies. Read more
The Folha de S.Paulo newspaper said the army’s high command was looking for a quick solution to Pazuello’s future, citing unnamed senior officers. The newspaper says there has been growing pressure to remove the general from active duty after he was fired as health minister.
Report by Lisandra Paraguasu and Anthony Baudela Edited by Alistair Bell
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