The association representing the World Bank staff on Wednesday asked Brazil’s executive director nomination of Abraham Weintraub to be reviewed over his past racial comments, and the consequent concerns related to them.
Weintraub, one of the loudest right-wing ideologues in President Jair Bolsonaro’s government, resigned as education minister last week, declaring he would join the World Bank.
He became a target for a Supreme Court probe following the publication of a videotape of a cabinet meeting in which he called its judges “bums” that should be jailed.
Brazil's Education Minister Abraham Weintraub attends a session at the plenary of the Chamber of Deputies in Brasilia, Brazil. Image credit Reuters, Adriano Machado
The World Bank employees called on the bank’s ethics committee to suspend Weintraub’s nomination while reviewing whether his past statements were in line with the code of conduct that directors should conform with.
Also, the World Bank employees cited Weintraub’s Twitter comments while mocking Chinese accents, blaming China for the pandemic outbreak, and accusing China of seeking to dominate the world.
Among the other objections, the letter with the review nomination request presented at the World Bank denounced Weintraub’s statements against the protection of minorities and his last act as minister to revoke some race-based quotas at universities.
The chair of the board’s ethics committee, Guenther Schoenleitner, said the World Bank would not tolerate racist remarks by anyone serving there, including executive directors. Image credit The Indian Express
In response to the staff’s letter, the chair of the board’s ethics committee, Guenther Schoenleitner, declared that the World Bank would not tolerate racist remarks by anyone serving there, including executive directors.
However, in his reply, Schoenleitner also claimed that the bank’s management nor the ethics committee had any influence on the nomination and election of an executive director, who would be subject to the board’s code after becoming a member.
It is known that Brazil has a majority of the voting power in a group of nine countries that must fill a vacant position. Therefore, Weintraub could be elected to serve as executive director until the end of the current term on October 31.
Weintraub is currently under investigation by Brazil’s federal audit court on questions of whether or not he travelled to the United States on a diplomatic passport after leaving office.