The decision to fire Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta amid the deadliest pandemic in a century was undoubtedly a questionable move by Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. Beyond issues of public health, axing Mr. Mandetta also creates a major — and perhaps insurmountable — cleavage between his administration and the conservative Democratas party, one of the most powerful political groups in present-day Brazil and of which the former Health Minister is a member.
Moments after the firing was announced, Mr. Bolsonaro spoke to TV news channel CNN Brasil and lashed out at Democratas’ brightest star, House Speaker Rodrigo Maia. He accused Mr. Maia of conspiring against his administration, by attempting to trigger “fiscal time bombs” that would make it impossible for him to govern.
While Mr. Bolsonaro’s