By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced Wednesday, December 31st, the last fourteen names of her cabinet for her second term in office. The only new appointment in this last announcement will be Mauro Luiz Iecker Vieira, who starting January 1st, will head the Foreign Relations Ministry.
The other thirteen ministers, including Chief of Staff (Aloizio Mercadante), Justice (José Eduardo Cardozo), Health (Arthur Chioro), Human Rights (Ideli Salvatti), Labor (Manoel Dias) and Environment (Izabella Teixeira), have been asked to stay on.
Vieira is currently Brazil’s ambassador in Washington DC, and will exchange places with outgoing Foreign Relations Minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, who will take over as head of the Brazilian Embassy in the United States.
Rousseff’s new cabinet has fewer members of the President’s PT party (Worker’s Party) than the cabinet for her first term as President. A few nominations surprised the financial sector, non-governmental organizations as well as government allies.
The appointment of bank executive Joaquim Levy, for example, to head the Finance Ministry pleased international and domestic financial markets and investors, but was not well received by the more radical, left wing segment of the PT party.
The nomination of Senator Katia Abreu as Agriculture, Livestock and Supply Minister caused indignation among environmentalists and indigenous groups, who say that Abreu has frequently sided with farmers and lumber companies when voting important legislation in Congress. Abreu has been outspoken about her desire to increase Brazil’s agricultural production, even if that means extending farming and pasture areas into the Amazon forest region.
According to local media, Rousseff had to revise some of her original choices after some of the contemplated names were included in a list given by former Petrobras director, Paulo Roberto Costa, to the federal police, as receiving money from a money-laundering and corruption scheme.
Although one of Rousseff’s campaign promise was to start her second term with an ‘entirely new administration’, analysts say that the newly appointed ministers are unlikely to make drastic changes from what has been seen in the past four years. The thirty-nine ministers were sworn in on Wednesday December 31st, during an afternoon ceremony.