A group of more than 300 diplomats published a public letter on Saturday (27) accusing the current foreign policy of “seriously damaging international relations and the image of Brazil” and calling for the departure of Ernesto Araújo as head of the ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We hope, with these reflections, to offer more elements so that the necessary and urgent changes in the conduct of foreign policy obtain greater support in society,” said the letter, obtained by Folha. “The Covid-19 crisis has revealed that mistakes in foreign policy cause concrete damage to the population.”
Ernesto is going through his biggest crisis since taking office at Itamaraty. He is threatened with resignation due to pressure from Congress, the military, agribusiness and big business.
Among the authors of the manifesto, there are at least ten ambassadors, at the peak of Itamaraty’s career. However, they do not identify themselves, because if they did, they would be breaking foreign service law.
Article 27 of the rule states that it is necessary “to seek, in advance, the consent of the competent authority, in regulatory form, to come forward publicly on matters relating to formulation and execution of Brazilian foreign policy ”.
One of the signatories of the letter told Folha that, although insufficient, the Chancellor’s departure is fundamental to reversing Brazil’s loss of credibility on the international stage and an important signal to unlock fundamental future cooperation possibilities. at this time of pandemic.
According to another diplomat who supported the publication of the manifesto, the aim is to be accountable to Brazilian society, showing that a good part of the civil servants does not conform to the directions currently given to the ministry. According to her, Itamaraty “is not Ernesto” and can do a lot more for the country.
The diplomat also asserts that the general feeling in the portfolio is of “shame and frustration” and questions whether foreign interlocutors would like to speak to someone who calls the coronavirus a “comunavirus” and who frequently criticizes what the chancellor calls globalism.
One of the authors of the letter said that due to the discipline of diplomats and a strong sense of hierarchy within Itamaraty, there had so far been no organized resistance movement, despite growing dissatisfaction with Ernesto “since the first absurdities of his administration”.
According to this diplomat, however, the situation in recent weeks “has crossed all limits”. He cites, as an example, the fact that Ernesto tried to keep Brazil out of Covax, the WHO mechanism for the distribution of vaccines to developing countries, because he thinks he is is a globalist initiative.
Thus, he says, the accumulation of situations which “border on criminal irresponsibility” led to this public demonstration, which he described as atypical and exceptional. Still according to this Itamaraty employee, there is a very strong feeling of revolt and helplessness, which he says he hears every day, from ambassadors abroad to colleagues in Brasilia.
Finally, the diplomat reports having heard weekly jokes from foreign colleagues, because “nobody takes Ernesto seriously”. Now, however, with the number of daily Covid deaths exploding, he says many have come to realize that he is not just “an eccentric madman” but “a nefarious figure, a criminal”.
The letter points out that over the past two years,< les exemples de conduite incompatible avec les principes constitutionnels et même avec les codes de pratique diplomatique les plus élémentaires se sont multipliés >>. “In addition to more immediate problems, such as a lack of vaccines, supplies or the denial of Brazilians from entering other countries, the long-term damage is mounting in the international credibility of the country.
According to another signatory, at no other time in Brazilian history, not even during the military dictatorship, has the Itamaraty been so isolated, “kidnapped by a sect remote from society”. “It is important for society to know that this is not the fault of diplomats and that our silence is not complicity.”