Brazil's Foreign Minister Has Overturned Ideology of Ministry

But his agenda found limits when it collided with agribusiness and military


Ernesto Araújo gave his first speech as foreign minister on January 2, 2018, before an audience of diplomats and ambassadors.

At the end of his speech, he hinted at the ideological revolution that he planned to promote at Itamaraty: he attacked globalism and the Sao Paulo Forum, took a stand against abortion and praised writer Olavo de Carvalho, and saluted the example nationalist regimes such as the United States, Israel, and Hungary.

Brazil's Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo is seen after a meeting of the Lima Group in Brasilia, Brazil, November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado - REUTERS

Almost a year later, diplomats and academics polled by Folha say Jair Bolsonaro's chancellor has managed to promote an unprecedented conservative turn in Itamaraty.

This effort, however, found limits whenever it collided with the interests of influential sectors in Brazil, including agribusiness and the Armed Forces.

In recent months Ernesto has instructed Brazilian diplomacy to abandon its historic stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and move closer to the government of Binyamin Netanyahu and has responded to demands from the evangelical stand and determined that the chancellery only recognize the expression of gender as biological sex.

He also changed a 27-year tradition and did not condemn the embargo on Cuba, automatically aligned himself with the Donald Trump administration, and abandoned the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations, which was evident in relations with neighbors in South America.

"[Current] foreign policy represents a practically total break with the line followed by Brazil since the Geisel government (1974-1979) and accentuated after redemocratization: a policy of affirming autonomy according to national interests, without automatic alignments or hostilities. no power, " said retired Ambassador Rubens Ricupero, a critic of the chancellor's actions.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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