Following scandal, Brazil’s Education Minister steps down

Education Minister Milton Ribeiro. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr
Education Minister Milton Ribeiro. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/ABr

After a week and a half under fire, Brazilian Education Minister Milton Ribeiro has resigned. He was caught on a recording saying that two Evangelical preachers – who are not part of the administration – control how federal funds are allocated. Multiple mayors, in turn, accused these preachers of asking for bribes in exchange for endorsing their funding requests.

His resignation was presented to President Jair Bolsonaro in a move to shield the president from any spillover from the scandal.

On Monday, a new report showed that the Education Ministry organized an event where bibles with photos of Mr. Ribeiro and his acolytes were distributed. The document says the minister was “building a special relationship” with one of the preachers accused of asking for kickbacks.

Mr. Ribeiro was nominated to Education Minister in July 2020 as a nod to evangelical leaders (he is a Presbyterian minister). But even high-profile televangelists such as Silas Malafaia have questioned his position in the government, which made his presence in the government untenable.