Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken down teaching materials from its website which were designed for 24 cultural centres around the world after a public uproar.
Journalist Julia Dolce, of Agencia Publica, tweeted images of several pages of the teaching material entitled Só verbos (Just verbs) which made reference to abortion and corruption scandals involving the socialist former president, Lula Da Silva.
Many people on social media said the language used in some of the teaching materials was sexist and racist.
“Se o MST se apropriar das nossas terras, nunca mais conseguiremos reavê-las”. Isso faz parte do material didático mandado pelo @ItamaratyGovBr aos Centros Culturais Brasil de embaixadas do país em 26 países diferentes. Junto com críticas ao PT, ao Lula e à cabelos ñ alisados pic.twitter.com/TBmXv99fUK— Julia Dolce (@JuliaDolce_) July 14, 2020
[Tweet: "If the MTS (Landless Workers' Movement) appropriates our lands, we will never be able to recover them”. This is part of the didactic material sent by the Itamaraty to the Brazilian Cultural Centers of the country's embassies in 26 different countries. Along with criticism of the PT, Lula and straightened hair"]
The ministry, known as Itamaraty, quietly deleted the pages from the website, which is designed to promote Brazillian culture and teach Portuguese to foreigners.
Ms Dolce said a teacher from one of the cultural centres had contacted her and sent her the pages, highlighting the most disturbing content.
Itamaraty usa material didático que ataca a esquerda. Policiais que cometem abusos não são punidos. Ministro que soltou o Queiroz negou hc a diabética com 66 anos e HIV. Justiça derruba liminar que obrigava planos de saúde a fazerem teste de Covid. A democracia está morrendo.— Ivan Valente (@IvanValente) July 14, 2020
[Tweet: "Itamaraty uses didactic material that attacks the left. Police officers who commit abuses are not punished. A minister who released Queiroz denied the diabetic with 66 years of age and HIV. Justice overturns injunction requiring health insurance companies to test Covid. Democracy is dying."]
She said the teacher - who has not been named - claimed they had received instructions to avoid certain political issues in their work but were being instructed to use the controversial material in classes with foreign students.
The Itamaraty told the O Globo newspaper the material had been on its website since 2013.
The Foreign Ministry told O Globo it recognised the material did not abide by the rules established in the teaching guidelines and that was why it had been taken down, once it had been pointed out.
The ministry claimed it had posted on their site by a "third party" but did not explain who it meant or how they had managed to do so.
Professor Airamaia Chapina Alves, who prepared some of the teaching materials told Yahoo News Brazil: “Itamaraty did not ask for anything, did not pay me anything, the book absolutely has no ideology, does not defend any idea, it is just to train the verbs and expand the vocabulary of my students.”
The Workers’ Party - the official opposition in Brazil - condemned the material as unacceptably political and an ideological manipulation of the Foreign Ministry’s role.
They accused the Bolsonaro government of promoting stereotypes and false accusations in teaching material paid with by taxpayers’ money to Brazillian embassies around the globe.