The legacy of Ricardo Salles as Brazil’s Environment Minister

As a member of the cabinet, Ricardo Salles was very closely aligned with the president's vision of “development.” He may prove to have been one of Mr. Bolsonaro’s most consequential ministers

Former Environment MInister Ricardo Salles. Photo: Pedro Ladeira/Folhapress

Ricardo Salles was the last member of Jair Bolsonaro’s original 22-name cabinet to be announced. Over the course of most of the 2018 presidential election, Mr. Bolsonaro promised to place the Environment Ministry under the umbrella of the Agriculture Ministry — a move set to weaken environmental agencies and end what the far-right leader calls “an industry created to penalize hard-working rural producers.” After a massive backlash, Mr. Bolsonaro gave up on the idea in the months before taking office.

However, naming Mr. Salles for the Environment portfolio proved to be the next best thing.

As head of the...

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