Bolsonaro’s former Foreign Minister feeling the heat

foreign minister covid hearings
Ernesto Araújo (left) and chairman Omar Aziz (right). Photo: Edilson Rodrigues/SF/ACS/CC BY 4.0

Speaking before the Senate’s Covid hearings committee, former Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo has quickly found himself in a less-than-friendly environment — with senators calling him out on any inaccuracy in his deposition. 

“You are not telling the truth,” said inquiry chairman Omar Aziz, when Mr. Araújo told the committee that a 2,150-word article published on his personal blog in April 2020 — denouncing Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek and his supposed plan to implant communism during the coronavirus pandemic, which Mr. Araújo called the “commie-virus” — was in no shape or form a dig at China.

Then, when Mr. Araújo said his personal demeanor never stood in Brazil’s way to obtain vaccines, Mr. Aziz once again interrupted the former minister. “You write these articles on Twitter, and if you think it doesn’t create indisposition with a very important trade partner, then I don’t know what to think,” said Mr. Aziz. “Never created problems with China? You’re missing the truth. [You] even had an argument with the Chinese Ambassador. I have to warn you about not contradicting what you wrote.”

Last week, President Jair Bolsonaro’s former press secretary Fabio Wajngarten was threatened with arrest for perjury after contradicting himself on multiple occasions. Mr. Aziz’s words seem to warn the former Foreign Minister not to go in the same direction.