House of Rui Barbosa points to dismantling under Bolsonaro and promises ‘revocation’ of acts

RIO – At least 43 norms from the last management of the Rui Barbosa House Foundation (FCRB) under the government Jair Bolsonaro (PL) should be revoked in whole or in part in the coming months. That’s what the institution’s new president, Alexandre Santini, who has just taken over, promises. Among them is the granting of the medal that bears the name of the foundation patron to the former President of the House Leticia Dornellesnominated for the position by the Bolsonarist deputy Marco Feliciano (PL-SP). Servers still speak of “dismantling” the foundation, with layoffs, persecution and budget cuts. The death of Rui Barbosa completes 100 years this Wednesday.

Letícia is accused of changing the rules of the Rui Barbosa Medal to allow a concession to herself. She denies it. “I changed the ordinance because in the previous administration they had awarded the medal to the caretaker, delicatessen owner, accountant of the former director”, said the former president to the Estadão. “I thought it was a mess. There was a medal for a servant who had recently entered a competition, without any relevant factor in his career. Assistant to the president received it. I made more demands.”

In 2022, the executed budget of the foundation, according to figures from the Planning and Budget Division, excluding personnel expenses, was BRL 5,759,055.00 – execution of 84.25%. The figure and proportion were the lowest in the series, which started in 2017, when BRL 6,932,698.95 (98.58%) were executed. In the Bolsonaro government, in this field, the first year was the best, with BRL 6,478,232.29 – 99.26% execution. In the previous three years, spending was below that. For 2023, R$ 12 million is expected.

“What happened here was a project of deconstruction, of budget suffocation”, says the current president of the foundation. “It wasn’t turning the House into a conservative think-tank. It was an architecture of destruction, with a large dose of improvisation.”

The last public tender for the House took place in 2013. Its validity was until 2017. The staff, which was 120 people in 2015, dropped to 80 last year.

Servants described, in a complaint to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF), the “dismissals, appointments, reassignments and dismissals” of FCRB employees – in many cases, without notice to those dismissed, who learned by official diary. The process started on January 7, 2020.

“At first, it was dismissed the entire leadership of the Research Center, its director and the heads of the Sectors of Cultural Policies, History, Law, Ruiano and Philology”, describes the text sent to the MPF. “Next, the head of the Planning and Budget Division, the assistant to the presidency and the head of the Cultural Diffusion Division. Three other servants, two of whom were substitute chiefs, were dismissed from being substituted as chiefs and relocated to other sectors.”

Historian Antônio Herculano Lopes, one of those exonerated, told the Estadão that currently there are only eight of the 30 professionals who worked at the Foundation’s Research Center before the Bolsonarist administration. Faced with the environment they considered hostile in the then new administration, professionals sought other directions. Some retired, others asked for transfer. There were also servers “returned” by the FCRB management to the Ministry of Planning, further emptying the Research Center.

According to Lopes, the then president made the dismissals “without having anyone to put in the places” that were vacant. “It was really political,” she said. “She dismissed me in early January and didn’t name the new Research Director until May or June.”

A former employee, who spoke with the Estadão anonymously, he acknowledged that positions of trust are not permanent and can be removed, but he complained about the lack of a conversation prior to dismissals. She stated that the House had a tradition of dealing with different political views in harmony. The former management, according to the former employee, brought a difficult relationship to the House, creating an “adverse, complicated” environment, in which it was necessary to measure “gestures and texts”. With health problems that she attributed to the climate at work, a few months after the dismissals she retired.

In the case of the political scientist Christian Lynchan employee of the House, the pressure came from the then special secretary of Culture, Roberto Alvim. After appointing the researcher to a position of trust in the institution, he backtracked, due to criticisms of Bolsonaro by the nominee, and dismissed him, announcing the measure on Twitter. Alvin himself lost the job days later, accused of imitating Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Lynch is rejoining the House.


Denunciations by officials to the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) and the Federal Attorney General’s Office corresponded to Letícia’s initiatives to open investigations – in addition to the TCU, in the Internal Internal Affairs Department and even in the Federal Police – against employees of the House and even outsiders. of the institution that criticized it. The then president claimed to have been threatened, as well as her relatives, and also made accusations of slander and defamation. The targets were FCRB employees and at least two citizens, who criticized it on social networks – both journalists over 70 years old.

The president of the Association of Servers of the Casa de Rui Barbosa Foundation, Leandro Jaccoud, was accused of threatening Letícia, because of a letter in which the entity warned her about her actions and warned that it could have consequences. The then president also claimed that a man similar to Jaccoud had followed her on the Metro, which he denies. A Preliminary Summary Investigation (IPS) was opened at the FCRB against Jaccoud for his participation in a protest against dismissals, on January 13, 2020and was attached to the PF investigation file.

A performance evaluation of Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa employees, referring to the request from June 1, 2018 to May 30, 2019, to which the Estadão had access, shows that almost all servers had scores above 90. Only four (3.17% in a list of 126 names) were below. One of them scored 89.48 and the other 85.45. There was still a 73.38 and a 63.62.

The former president also claimed to have asked the Federal Audit Court (TCU) for ten audits, which would have found irregularities in contracts. “But I can’t show it, it would be a crime, because it has people’s names,” she said.


After this report was published on March 1, the former president of Fundação Casa de Rui Barbosa sent to the Estadão, on Friday the 3rd, a message in which he contested and asked for correction of different points of what was published. Leticia Dornelles said she considered herself the target of “defamatory, injurious and slanderous” statements made by FCRB president Alexandre Santini. She also pointed out what she considered to be errors, inaccuracies and distortions of information in the text.

The former president denied that she had “self-decorated” with the Rui Barbosa Medal in 2022. She said she was “surprised” by the commendation, which, she said, was given to her by FCRB servers, based on Ordinance 97/2020 of the institution. She also stated that there is no relationship between the award and the change she promoted in the ordinance that regulates it. She pointed out that she led the delivery of the commendation in 2019 as president and that there were others awarded the honor in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Letícia Dornelles also stated that she did not harass employees. She stressed that public servants were exonerated from positions of trust, not fired from the FCRB, by the then Secretary of Culture Roberto Alvim. She disclaimed responsibility for budget cuts, which she blamed on the Ministry of Tourism. She claimed to have sued people who offended her and attacked her honor and used images of her mother and son in representations. She complained that the author got confused when addressing internal investigations (PADs). And she mocked performance evaluation of FCRB servers.


O Estadão maintains the terms of the report. The text was made from interviews and documents. The reporter based himself on letters from recipients of the Medal in 2019, thanking them for the honor, to state that it was the predecessor of the former president who bestowed the commendation. On Wednesday, 1, the part of the article related to the Rui Barbosa Medal was updated. It was the former president who disclosed, through Ordinance 110, of November 4, 2019, the performance evaluation that she criticized in the message to the newspaper. The reporter’s contacts with Leticia Dornelles were in writing, via WhatsApp. There were three conversations before the report. There are hard copies of these contacts. COLLABORATED RAYANDERSON GUERRA

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