By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Ministry of Defense confirmed on Tuesday, May 7th, the blocking of R$5.8 (US$1.4) billion in the budget of the Armed Forces.
The amount was announced in the morning by President Jair Bolsonaro to the military and represents 44 percent of the discretionary (non-compulsory expenditure) allocated to the Navy, Army, and Air Force.
“This blockage, at the moment, does not imply the need for changes in the operability of the Ministry of Defense,” stated the ministry, claiming to be working towards the “recovery of the economy and the rebalancing of the budget”.
In addition to cutting funds for the Armed Forces, programs and projects for the Navy, Army, and Air Force were also discussed in the meeting.
The initial meeting was not attended by Bolsonaro, who arrived to have lunch with the authorities and to discuss the contingency.
Last week, the MEC (Ministry of Education) announced a linear cut in federal university funds, which will result in an estimated blockade of R$5.8 billion in the portfolio’s budget.
The decision follows the negative repercussions caused by the statements of Minister Abraham Weintraub, who announced that the promotion of “turmoil” on campus and the holding of parties unsuitable for university environment would be used as a criterion for choosing the institutions affected by the freezing of funds, to the tune of 30 percent.
At the time, only UFF (Universidade Federal Fluminense), UnB (Universidade de Brasília) and UFBA (Universidade Federal da Bahia) were targeted by these measures.