Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), October 11 (Sputnik). Large scissors. It is the surprise that Brazil’s Minister of Science and Technology, Marcos Pontes, found on the table a few days ago. Of the 690 million riyals ($124 million) he would receive to fund various research, he had 89.9 million ($16.2 million) left, a 92% reduction in the budget.
The “space minister” (in 2006 he became the first Brazilian to go into space) did not think twice and took to Twitter to vent: “It’s a lack of consideration. Resource cuts on the small budget for science in Brazil are wrong and illogical, and even more so when they are done without listening to the scientific community and the productive sector.
The cut was approved by the National Congress, in response to a budget reorganization request from the Ministry of Economy. Minister Paulo Guedes, the main guru of austerity and the slogan of “weakening the state” within the government, did not appear in Pontes’ strong criticism, but it was not necessary.
The outburst of the head of the scientific file was followed by a barrage of criticism from supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro on social networks, who blamed him for publicly broadcasting internal disagreements. They came to say: “Dirty laundry is being washed in the house,” fearing that their position would overburden the government even more.
And Pontes tried to anticipate this blame: “I am with the president and will continue with him, beware of last minute opportunists,” he also said on Twitter. However, the minister’s statements put more pressure on the economy minister, who will not pass his ministers either.
According to local newspapers, in a group of the WhatsApp messaging application in which ministers and senior government officials participate, on Saturday, October 9, a video was circulated by the economist Eduardo Moreira, in which he proposed the resignation of Guedes and the Prime Minister. Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto (both appeared in “Pandora’s Papers” with “Offshores” in tax havens).
A “blow” to scientists
Whatever consequences the clipping might have internally in government, the scientific community has already begun to mobilize. Eight scientific entities have already formally addressed the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, in an attempt to persuade parliamentarians to reverse the government’s gambit. On October 15 there are events and demonstrations to reject the cuts in the flag.
The Vice President of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Helena Nader, explained that this measure will have a strong impact on the entire scientific and academic community. Given that these 700 million QR have already been announced and planned, the Ministry has already opened a call for funding proposals.
30,000 physicians participated, who now would not have the resources to start their research. In an official note, the authority expressed its regret that “it is a severe blow to national development.” (Sputnik)
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