Who is the future head of Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

. Nov 15, 2018
Who is the future head of Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Ernesto Araújo and Jair Bolsonaro

President-elect Jair Bolsonaro announced on Wednesday his pick for the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 51-year-old career diplomat Ernesto Henrique Fraga Araújo, who has spent 28 of those years in public service. Since 2016, he has headed the U.S. and Canada department within the ministry. Mr. Araújo was reportedly a personal recommendation of far-right guru Olavo de Carvalho.

According to what Mr. Araújo has written, he is as anti-globalist as it gets. He considers that “globalism is the economic globalization that became controlled cultural Marxism.” He continues: “It is an anti-human and anti-Christian system.” He has also defended that Brazil must be freed from that “left-wing ideology.”

Mr. Araújo is aligned with sectors that defend a nation’s sovereignty over any idea of “global governance”—an idea according to which international laws would establish guidelines to be followed by countries. Brazil has seen some recent controversy on the matter when the United Nations Human Rights Committee released a statement requesting that former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for passive corruption and money laundering, be allowed to exercise his political rights while incarcerated and be free to stand in this year’s presidential election.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Left-wing supporters obviously defended that Brazil should obey the UN ruling, while anti-Lula sectors put their foot down.</span></p> <h2>Ernesto Araújo and his writings</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The future Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote an article called &#8220;Trump and the West&#8221; in a journal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which he lauded Mr. Trump&#8217;s &#8220;pan-nationalism,&#8221; comparing the sitting U.S. President to Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill. He wrote:</span></p> <blockquote><p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;Yes, we live in a world where talking about heroes, ancestors, souls, and nations &#8211; which belongs to the family and to God &#8211; are, for most of the dominating ideology, signs of fascist behavior.&#8221;</span></i></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">&#8220;Is Mr. Trump the problem or is the problem this ideology against which he has risen? Stalin&#8217;s or Mao&#8217;s or Pol Pot&#8217;s henchmen also thought that anything was fascist.&#8221; </span></i></p></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This clash between nationalist and globalist visions is flagrant today in places like the European Union, where right-wing and far-right movements attack the project of integration that has guided Europe&#8217;s politics since the end of World War II. For the rulers of countries such as the UK, Italy, Poland, or Hungary, the project for a broader European Union nullifies national identities in a pernicious way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Araújo sides with them, as he believes that &#8220;values only exist within a nation, a culture, rooted in a nation, and not in a sort of abstract multilateral ether.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The new minister is also a blogger. His page, </span><a href=""><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Metapolítica 17</span></i></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, offers a window into what we should expect from the future head of Brazilian diplomacy. He openly campaigned for Mr. Bolsonaro, calling the Workers&#8217; Party a &#8220;terrorist organization.&#8221; In another text, he said Workers&#8217; Party candidate Fernando Haddad wanted to install a &#8220;regime of terror,&#8221; and an &#8220;empire of crime.&#8221;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The future head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also criticized &#8220;a new axis of Latin American socialism, under the auspices of Mao&#8217;s China.&#8221; Since 2009, </span><a href=""><span style="font-weight: 400;">China has been Brazil&#8217;s leading trading partner</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and accounts today for one-quarter of Brazilian exports.</span></p> <h2>Ideology-free diplomacy?</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Two days after winning the presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro promised to pursue a foreign policy &#8220;without ideological interference.&#8221; Just two weeks later, he named Mr. Araújo, who has personally engaged in his campaign and criticized China, Marxism, and Maoism.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Calling for an &#8220;ideology-free diplomacy&#8221; is a direct shot at the Workers&#8217; Party&#8217;s administrations, which were marked by a level of animosity towards the U.S. and more focus on South-South relations. Former presidents Lula and Dilma Rousseff were accused of picking their partners based on the politics of their leaders. But after Ms. Rousseff was impeached, we&#8217;ve seen the same from Michel Temer&#8217;s administration. &#8220;Brazil got closer to Argentina precisely because it is now run by the right-wing,&#8221; said International Relations professor Marias Spektor at the time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Naming a hardliner as the country&#8217;s top diplomat could spark problems within the administration, as International Relations professor Oliver Stuenkel pointed out to Nexo. &#8220;Any attempt from Mr. Araújo to criticize China, or to politically step away from Beijing, will meet enormous resistance from the economic team, which will seek a more pragmatic posture in order not to jeopardize this relationship.&#8221;

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