Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday accepted the resignation of Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, following a series of derogatory statements made to the press in recent weeks. Shortly thereafter Former Minister of Foreign Relations (1993–1995, 2003–2011) and Americas Quarterly contributor Celso Amorim was selected as Jobim’s replacement and he officially took office yesterday. In the Spring 2011 issue of AQ, Minister Amorim reflects on Brazil’s global rise in the first article written after leaving his post as foreign minister.
The controversy surrounding Jobim had been growing for several weeks. He was widely reported to have recently referred to his colleagues in the Rousseff administration as “idiots” and news surfaced in July that Jobim had claimed publicly that he voted for President Rousseff’s rival, José Serra, in the October 2010 elections. In his most recent comments Jobim was quoted as saying that Minister of Institutional Relations Ideli Salvatti “lacked power,” and that cabinet chief Gleisi Hoffmann “doesn’t even know” Brasilia. Jobim issued a statement yesterday denying the quotes.
Jobim is the third minister to resign since Rousseff took office in January. In June, cabinet chief Antonio Palocci resigned over corruption charges and Transportation Minister Alfredo Nascimento quit in July over alleged irregularities in the awarding of contracts within the ministry.