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Ricardo de Aquino Salles (born 8 June 1975) is a Brazilian politician, currently a member of the NOVO but suspended since October 2019.[1] He was named Minister of the Environment by President Jair Bolsonaro.[2]

Ricardo Salles
Ricardo Salles em 8 de agosto de 2019 (2).jpg
Minister of the Environment
Assumed office
1 January 2019
PresidentJair Bolsonaro
Preceded byEdson Duarte (interim)
State Secretary of the Environment of São Paulo
In office
18 July 2016 – 28 August 2017
GovernorGeraldo Alckmin
Preceded byPatricia Iglecias
Succeeded byMauricio Brusadin
Personal details
Ricardo de Aquino Salles

(1975-06-08) 8 June 1975 (age 44)
São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Political partyNOVO (Suspended)
Alma materMackenzie Presbyterian University

Salles previously served as a secretary to São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin and the state's secretary of the environment.[3]


Ricardo Salles was born in Morumbi, São Paulo to a family of lawyers. He received his law degree from the Mackenzie Presbyterian University, did postgraduate studies at the universities of Coimbra and Lisbon, and studied business administration at Fundação Getúlio Vargas.[4] For almost seven years, it was believed that Salles held a master's degree from Yale. In 2019, after Yale confirmed that Salles never studied there, he then alleged that the information was incorrectly provided by an aide.[5][6]

In 2006 Salles co-founded the Movimento Endireita Brasil (literally "Straighten Brazil Movement" and a pun for “Become more Right-Wingy Brazil”).[1] The movement opposed the presidencies of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, and supports economic liberalism. Salles was a candidate for state deputy in 2010 as a member of the Democrats (DEM), receiving 25,000 votes but failing to be elected.[7] He was a candidate for federal deputy in the 2018 elections, but was once again not elected, receiving 36,603 votes (0.17% of all valid votes).[8]

Since 2017, Salles is the subject of a probe by São Paulo state prosecutors for violating environmental laws. He is accused of altering the management plan for a protected area in the Tietê River with the "clear intention of benefiting economic sectors"; Salles has maintained his innocence and said that the evidence of the case "corroborates his position".[9] He is also being investigated for possible administrative misconduct for ordering the removal of a bust of Carlos Lamarca from the Rio Turvo State Park in São Paulo, during his tenure as state environmental secretary.[10]

Despite President-elect Bolsonaro's critical statements on the Paris Agreement, Salles has defended that Brazil should remain in the accord, while adding that the country "must be allowed to retain its autonomy when making environmental decisions".[11]


  1. ^ "Ricardo Salles diz que suspensão do Novo é "inacreditável e critica Amoêdo" (in Portuguese). Uol. 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  2. ^ Mazui, Guilherme; Lara, Walace (9 December 2018). "Bolsonaro indica ex-secretário de Alckmin para comandar Ministério do Meio Ambiente" (in Portuguese). G1. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  3. ^ Vinhal, Gabriela (9 December 2018). "Bolsonaro anuncia Ricardo Salles para o Ministério do Meio Ambiente" (in Portuguese). Correio Braziliense. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Ricardo Salles" (in Portuguese). Um Brasil. 13 December 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  5. ^ Demori, Leandro (23 February 2019). "Quem inventou a mentira de que o ministro Ricardo Salles estudou em Yale?" (in Portuguese). The Intercept Brasil. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  6. ^ Amaral, Ana Carolina (26 February 2019). "Ministro do Meio Ambiente não estudou em Yale" (in Portuguese). Folha de S. Paulo. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Jovens de São Paulo fundam grupo para "endireitar" o país" (in Portuguese). Folha de S. Paulo. 14 March 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Ricardo Salles 3006 (NOVO)" (in Portuguese). Gazeta do Povo. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  9. ^ Jucá, Beatriz (9 December 2018). "Um investigado por fraude ambiental comandará Meio Ambiente sob Bolsonaro" (in Portuguese). El País. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  10. ^ Carvalho, Cleide (10 December 2018). "Futuro ministro do Meio Ambiente é investigado por mandar tirar busto de Lamarca de parque em SP" (in Portuguese). O Globo. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  11. ^ Gabbatiss, Josh (11 December 2018). "Brazil's new environment minister says country should stay in Paris Agreement despite climate sceptic president Bolsonaro" (in Portuguese). The Independent. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
Political offices
Preceded by
Edson Duarte
Minister of the Environment
Preceded by
Patricia Iglecias
State Secretary of the Environment of São Paulo
Succeeded by
Mauricio Brusadin