With increasing resistance abroad to Chancellor Ernesto Araújo, a direct aide to President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) has participated in diplomatic missions to countries whose relations with Brazil are in trouble.
Without ministerial status, but considered the closest assistant to the president, the special secretary of the SAE (Secretariat for Strategic Affairs), Admiral Flávio Rocha, recently visited countries with which the chancellor has lost control. ability to speak due to ideological positions, such as China and Argentina.
The army’s performance, which calls itself the President’s “Eyes and Ears”, earned him the nickname “02 do Itamaraty” at the Planalto Palace. The nickname, however, is refuted by the admiral, who has previously told government officials he has no political ambitions.
Despite resistance from the military, which has no plans to quit his current post, his name entered the Paris stock exchange in January to replace the Chancellor, when his downfall was taken for granted due to negotiations. to make contributions in Brazil to Chinese pharmacists and the Indian coronavirus. vaccines.
The latest follower of the ideologue Olavo de Carvalho at the Esplanada dos Ministérios, the current chancellor however won his survival in the portfolio with the solution of the problems, which relied on the backstage of the ministers of Agriculture, Tereza Cristina, and Communications, Fábio would do.
Today, the president does not intend to change chancellor. In reserved conversations, however, he does not rule out that a change may occur if the country’s image does not improve in the medium term.
For presidential advisers, Rocha’s open attitude to dialogue and cordial attitude are characteristics that can help improve Brazil’s image abroad. For this reason, they consider that their work with foreign governments can be an advantage for Brazilian diplomatic policy.
Fluent in six languages and regarded by members of the government as a cultured man, Rocha is described as versatile and functions as a kind of prankster in the government.
He has already been cited by the president, for example, to occupy the general secretariat, a position given to Onyx Lorenzoni, who was a citizen. The transfer was formalized on Friday (12) in an additional edition of the DOU (Diário Oficial da União).
The role of the admiral in foreign affairs is seen by the assistants to the president as natural, since the structure he commands also provides advice to the president in international affairs.
In January, the admiral visited Argentina at the invitation of his counterpart from the neighboring country, Gustavo Osvaldo Beliz. They dealt with points of synergy and strategic cooperation. Rocha also met with President Alberto Fernández.
Ernesto has criticized Argentina before, as well as the Brazilian president. Recently, the Chancellor condemned a decision by the Senate of the neighboring country which legalized the practice of abortion by decision of the woman.
“Brazil will remain at the forefront of the right to life and the defense of the defenseless, no matter how many countries legalize the barbarism of blind abortion, disguised as reproductive health or social rights,” he wrote. on social networks.
Last week, Rocha visited China at the invitation of Minister Fábio Faria for meetings on the implementation of the 5G network in Brazil. Huawei, one of the main companies in the sector, is Chinese and, since it is a matter of national security, the special secretariat is accompanying it.
Since last year, due to ideological differences, the Chancellor has not maintained contact with representatives of the Asian country.
In August, the military also represented the president on an official mission to Lebanon to transport humanitarian aid to the Middle Eastern country following an explosion in the port of Beirut.
During the trip, Rocha approached former President Michel Temer (MDB), who, at Bolsonaro’s invitation, led the trip. In Temer’s personal opinion, Rocha has worked together to quell outside criticism of Brazil.
“He is absolutely cordial and very knowledgeable in the conversations he had with me when we went to Lebanon. And he is extremely low-key and very intellectually prepared,” Temer told Folha.
“I think he collaborates for it [arrefecer críticas ao país]. Even on this mission in Lebanon, I think he worked hard for it, but it’s just an idea of mine, ”he said.
According to government officials, despite the nickname given to the military officer “02 do Itamaraty”, there is no dispute between Rocha and Ernesto.
The two have a good relationship and act together. This is what happens, for example, when Bolsonaro calls a foreign official.
The admiral and his technical team are responsible for taking care of the most operational part, setting the time for the conversation and discussing with the chancellor the key points that the president cannot fail to address.
Rocha also acts as a sort of “appeaser” on internal government matters. He has acted to calm political crises, assisted in the succession of the Ministry of Education and coordinated the transition of the Ministry of Health amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to presidential assistants, when it comes to a sensitive topic that cannot be disclosed to the press, the admiral is always the name chosen by the president to act on the front lines, including institutional crises with the justice and the legislature.
According to an informal calculation by the palace auxiliaries, the admiral attends more than 90% of Bolsonaro’s meetings in the presidential office.
Recognized within the Armed Forces for his general knowledge, he is often requested by the President to give his opinion and advice on sensitive subjects.
Bolsonaro and Rocha met in 2002, when the military headed the House Navy parliamentary advisory services. The president, then deputy, addressed the military to defend the interests of the armed forces.
During this period, Rocha befriended MPs and Senators from different parties, which, according to the admiral’s friends, has helped him today to act in political articulation only at the request of the president.