Bolsonarism in Lula’s Itamaraty

Bolsonarism in Lula’s Itamaraty
Bolsonarism in Lula’s Itamaraty

Qhen Jair Bolsonaro won the election in 2018 and Ernesto Araújo took over the Itamaraty, Mauro Vieira, now Lula’s chancellor, was Brazil’s ambassador to the United Nations, in New York. Vieira was sent to the coveted post in the American city by order of Michel Temer, as soon as the Emedebista took over the government, after impeachment. The diplomat was Dilma Rousseff’s Foreign Minister, but he had such cordial relations with the MDB that Temer even considered keeping him as head of Itamaraty. He did not make the invitation because the position was claimed by the PSDB, which participated in the enclave to overthrow the PT member. José Serra took over.

Vieira left for New York with power, but he didn’t forget his old friends. When, in 2016, Dilma decided to make a pilgrimage to international organizations to denounce that he had suffered a coup, the secretary general of Itamaraty tucano, Marcos Galvão, warned Brazilian representations at the UN not to receive the former president, as a way of invalidating her speech. A embassy in Geneva strictly complied with the order. But Vieira not only received her in New York, but also hosted her at his residence, together with his entourage, which included the PT’s international advisor Marco Aurélio Garcia. He said that, in his embassy, ​​he sent.

Under Bolsonaro, Vieira still stayed in New York for a few months. His departure was sealed when the diplomat rebelled against guidance from Brasília. Ernesto Araújo’s Itamaraty ordered Brazil to change its vote on the American embargo on Cuba – the country historically, in all governments, voted against the embargo. Vieira sent three telegrams to different departments of the Brazilian chancellery informing the reasons why the vote should not be changed. When signing the telegrams, he only put his initials, not those of his subordinates – which would be customary in this type of document.. He wanted the blame for insubordination to fall solely on himself. His appeals did not work, Brazil changed its vote and, a few weeks later, his name was appointed to command the embassy in Zagreb, Croatia, a position without much importance. The other two former PT chancellors were also transferred to distant places of less relevance to Brazilian diplomacy: Antonio Patriota was sent to Cairo, Egypt, and Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, to Qatar.

Araújo’s persecutory attitude had an aggravating factor. Vieira was one of the main supporters of his diplomatic career. When he was ambassador to Washington in 2010, the diplomat invited Araújo to join his team of direct advisors. During this period living in the United States, his shift towards Olavism began. When Vieira became Dilma’s chancellor in 2015, he brought Araújo to work in his office. In an interview with reporter Consuelo Dieguez, from Piauí (The Chancellor of the Return, piauí_151April 2019), Araújo told that, precisely during this period when the demonstrations against the PT member were intensifying, one day he left the office and went out into the street to shout “Dilma out”. “It was liberating to be able to scream for Dilma’s impeachment, for Lula in jail”, he said the chancellor, at the time, to the reporter. With Temer, Araújo, already converted to Olaf radicalism and having published texts that reinforced his vision, was promoted to ambassador.

Back in power, Mauro Vieira decided from the start that he would avoid revanchism. His intention was to calm tempers in the institution, one of the most affected by the Bolsonarist agenda of combating what they understand as “globalism”. By conceding so much, however, Vieira also ended up displeasing those who did not capitulate under Bolsonaro – and now complain about the prestigious positions of some of his supporters and the lack of punishment. Starting with Araújo himself, who, although he did what he did at the institution and, after Lula’s victory, said in a live broadcast that the new government should be overthrown, remains, for all intents and purposes, in his career. Today licensed and unpaid, lives in Hartford, in the United States, where his wife, Maria Eduarda Seixas Corrêa, has a consular position.

Carlos Alberto França, who succeeded him in the chancellery, became ambassador of the Lula government in Canada. He lives in Ottawa. Nestor Forster, appointed by Bolsonaro to command the Brazilian embassy in Washington and known for having introduced Araújo to Olavism, was transferred to the same country: he is consul in Vancouver. Both appointments are seen by some of the institution’s diplomats as awards, due to the privileged geographic location. Internally, the explanation is that France helped to build a good transition. He sought out Celso Amorim shortly after Lula’s victory and made himself available to help. While many of Bolsonaro’s ministers did not even participate in the inauguration broadcast, França attended his and gave a speech evaluated by peers as thoughtful. Despite the still turbulent political environment, the former chancellor had hopes of being sent to a European country. He won Canada, which he ended up receiving willingly, although he made requests for positions from his subordinates that were not accepted.

Another exponent of Bolsonarism, diplomat Marcos Sperandio, who was head of the Planalto Palace after França, who held the position, became chancellor, is in a prestigious post at the embassy in Washington. He is one of four minister-advisors to ambassador Maria Luiza Viotti. He had been transferred during the Bolsonaro government, to a post that had been created precisely for her appointment. APreviously, Forster, who preceded Viotti, only had three minister-counselors.

ADespite the discontent of some diplomats, Vieira has had Lula’s support to maintain his position. Upon taking office, he retained the Brazilian ambassador in Madrid, Orlando Leite Ribeiro, who was secretary to the then Minister of Agriculture, Tereza Cristina, before being sent to Spain by the former president. Vieira also did not remove the Brazilian ambassador to Portugal, Raimundo Carreiro, former minister of the Federal Court of Auditors (TCU), appointed to the position by Bolsonaro and a friend of José Sarney.

When Lula complained to the chancellor about there being supporters of the former president in good diplomatic positions, Vieira replied that, if he were to remove everyone who served in the previous government, many positions would be left empty. Lula retorted that when he went to Portugal and Spain, he did not wish to meet the respective ambassadors along the trip. AND this is how it was doneO. Lula also did not want to cross paths with Nestor Forster when he traveled to Washington in February of this year. To avoid further discomfort, the then ambassador, who had not yet been removed from office, took vacation during the president’s visit.

Another designation that has caused controversy is that of Ambassador Eduardo Saboia, who in 2013 helped in the escape of former Bolivian senator Roger Pinto Molina, who had been in asylum for fifteen months at the Brazilian embassy in La Paz. Molina was opposed to Evo Morales and the attitude de Saboia, who also served in Celso Amorim’s cabinet when he was Lula’s chancellor, ended up motivating the ouster of Antonio Patriota from the post of minister. Dilma ordered that Savoy be punished, remaining without designation throughout her government.

Under Temer, the diplomat was taken out of limbo. Bolsonaro also kept him in good positions and, in 2022, he was appointed to head the Ministry’s Asia and Pacific secretariat. Vieira maintained his appointment. When, at the Brics summit in Johannesburg, in August this year, Dilma Rousseff locked eyes with Savoy, she complained to Lula, quite emphatically, that the diplomat was there after everything that had happened in the past.. She said she felt disrespected. Celso Amorim witnessed the criticism, but shrugged his shoulders, saying that Itamaraty was no longer her responsibility. Vieira found out about what happened, but still kept him at the post, where Saboia remains to this day.

O Bolsonarism was a difficult period for Brazilian diplomacy as it required that, in many cases, diplomats were asked to come to the defense of the former president. However, according to members of the institution interviewed by the Piauí, there were ways to navigate the storm with relative dignity, maintaining a minimum of impartiality. This was not the case with Ambassador Frederico Arruda, who served the Bolsonaro government in London and was one of the former president’s most fervent supporters. Arruda worked in Michel Temer’s international consultancy and was sent to London in an interim capacity during the Emedebista administration, in 2016. He harshly criticized Dilma in the British press until he was sworn in as ambassador, in fact, in 2018. His name had broad support from the Senate, which has the role of endorsing all heads of embassies.

In June 2020, when the British newspaper Financial Times published an editorial reporting fear for Brazilian democracy at the height of the demonstrations encouraged by Bolsonaro against the STF, during the pandemic, Arruda quickly spoke out. In a letter to the newspaper, he said that the FT “overdramatized” the situation and that Bolsonaro never attacked the institutions. In the previous year, the The Guardian, Arruda wrote condemning British parliamentarians who criticized the reasons for Lula’s arrest. In September 2022, during Queen Elizabeth’s wake, he received pastor Silas Malafaia, electoral leader, with pomp and circumstance. From his balcony in London, during the same trip, Bolsonaro gave a campaign speech, saying: “There is no way I won’t win in the first round.” Arruda was removed from London this year, but remains ambassador for the Lula government – ​​now in Australia.

One of the few, in fact, punished was Luís Fernando Serra, who commanded the embassy in Paris. Serra stretched the rope like no other member of the House. At the height of the pandemic, in May 2020, he sent a letter to the newspaper Le Monde saying that Bolsonaro’s conduct was exemplary, that he had never denied the seriousness of the virus and that those who were attacking the population were precisely the Brazilian governors, who wanted to destabilize the government. Serra also condemned social isolation measures. The following year, when Brazilian hospitals could not handle the number of hospitalizations and cemeteries created ditches to bury the dead, Serra blamed the left for the lack of hospital infrastructure.

In 2020, withInvited to attend a Brazilianist Congress in Paris, Serra declined his presence after learning that there would be a tribute to councilor Marielle Franco, murdered in 2018.

Serra was taken from Paris at the end of 2022 and transferred to the Itamaraty representation in Rio de Janeiro – the equivalent of the “Department of Stairs and Corridors”, a joking way in which diplomats refer to when one of their peers is left without a role. at home. He must retire compulsorily in December, when he turns 74.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Bolsonarism Lulas Itamaraty



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