2022 Race

Former Health Ministry Pazuello to run for Congress

Former Health Ministry Pazuello to run for Congress
Eduardo Pazuello during a testimony before a Senate inquiry committee. Photo: Leopoldo Silva/SF/CC-BY 4.0

Eduardo Pazuello, an Army general who served as Health Minister between May 2020 and March 2021, will run for a lower house seat representing the state of Rio de Janeiro in the upcoming October elections. 

Mr. Pazuello was at the center of Brazil’s failed response to the pandemic, indulging President Jair Bolsonaro’s whims and going against the scientific consensus almost every step of the way – to the point of treating the start of Covid vaccine rollouts as itself a crisis. He was also accused of failing to react to the shortage of medical oxygen in Manaus, the Amazon’s biggest city, a debacle that led to many deaths by suffocation in hospitals of the city.

A Senate investigation into Brazil’s pandemic response recommended the indictment of Mr. Pazuello for crimes against public health, malfeasance, fraud, and crimes against humanity while at the Health Ministry.

Mr. Pazuello joined Mr. Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party and, in order to comply with electoral regulations, resigned from his office within the presidential palace to which he was appointed last year. Many saw his nomination to the position as a sort of payoff for laying low; the former general didn’t hold a single official meeting in over 10 months in office.