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Brazil president names general to lead Defense Ministry

June 13, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2018 file photo, Brazil's newly-named Defense Minister, Army Gen. Joaquim Silva e Luna, acknowledges someone in the crowd during a ceremony at the Planalto Presidential Palace to inaugurate the newly created public security ministry, part of President Michel Temer's efforts to combat high crime rates, in Brasilia, Brazil. President Temer has named on Wednesday, June 13, Silva e Luna to the position of defense minister, the first time a military officer has held the post since it was created in 1999.(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File)

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian President Michel Temer has named a general to the position of defense minister, the first time a military officer has held the post since it was created in 1999.

Reserve Gen. Joaquim Silva e Luna has been serving as the interim defense minister since February, when the incumbent was tapped to lead the newly created Ministry of Public Security. Silva e Luna’s permanent nomination to the position was published Wednesday in the government’s official gazette.

The Defense Ministry confirmed it was the first time a military officer has held the post.

The military enjoys significant popular support in Brazil, but its role in politics is also sensitive in a country where many still remember the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

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