RUAG South America manager recalled over pro-Bolsonaro remarks

Jair Bolsonaro is Brazil's first right-wing president since the end of military rule three decades ago Keystone

Swiss arms manufacturer RUAG has recalled its manager responsible for the ammunition business in Latin America over positive remarks he made about Brazil’s right-wing populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, according to media reports.

This content was published on April 6, 2019

A RUAG spokeswoman, cited by newspapers on Saturday, said the decision was effective immediately and that the manager would continue to work primarily with a focus on Europe.

German-language newspaper SonntagsBlick said the high-ranking company representative had praised the controversial head of state’s policymaking at a weapons fair in Rio de Janeiro.

According to a report published late on Friday by the online edition of Blick, the man said: "For years nothing has moved here; now, with the new government, there is really hope that something will change," 

RUAG has disassociated itself from the “private” statements made by the employee, which did not reflect the company’s position and had not been internally approved.

The RUAG spokeswoman said the company does not comment on political dynamics.

Reputational risk

Bolsonaro, a retired military officer, has been president of South America’s largest nation since the beginning of the year. On the campaign trail he promised to take decisive action against criminals and to improve the security situation in Brazil.

In January, he issued a decree relaxing the rules on gun ownership to guarantee the “right to self-defence”. Critics feel the decision will help further fuel violent crime in the country.

State-owned RUAG cancelled plans to build an ammunitions factory in Brazil last year due to the reputational risk to Switzerland.

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