In a ceremony closed at the Itamaraty on Tuesday (6), the new chancellor, Carlos Alberto França, began a process of pacification in an institution in ruins after the turbulent administration of Ernesto Araújo. France opened its speech calling for “the spirit of institutional cohesion” and promising to maintain “an open channel of communication between us” and the improvement of the working environment.
The Chancellor assumes a ministry with a fragmented and disillusioned diplomatic corps. Many high-level diplomats took refuge in consulates to avoid having to participate in foreign policy, and many others were dismayed at not sharing the ideology inspired by Olavo de Carvalho.
The former chancellor said the last 30 years of foreign policy under the PT and PSDB governments had been a disaster and it was necessary to start from scratch. Many saw Ernesto’s lack of respect for diplomatic traditions and the history of Brazilian foreign policy.
The dissatisfaction of diplomats reached such a level that, on March 27, a group of more than 300 of them published a letter accusing the current foreign policy of “seriously damaging international relations and the image of Brazil” and asking for Ernesto’s exit from the management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is very rare that diplomats, from a very hierarchical career, rise up against management.
While the former chancellor frequently criticized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which he described as elitist and alienated from the wishes of the Brazilian people, France honored the institution, evoking the pride of being part of the “family of the Brazilian Foreign Service ”, which he has been part of for 30 years, praising the“ human talent of our institution ”and affirming that“ the diplomatic collection is a reason for justified pride ”.
The new chancellor also praised those who felt the Itamaraty was discredited – he was one of the ministries that suffered major cuts in the current budget proposal, and many overseas posts were delaying electricity bills. and rents due to lack of funds.
And, drawing on his experience in the administrative sector, he brought up prosaic – and very important – topics for diplomats. He mentioned the capacity difficulties, especially at stations C and D (the most difficult); participation and representation of women in their careers; and the limits on remuneration. These are subjects considered secondary by Ernesto, more concentrated in the clashes against China and globalism.
France also spoke about his personal experience in the administrative service, five years at the start of his career, in a time of severe shortage of money – similar to the current period. He promised to face the crisis with personal commitment. And he pointed out that, in his class at the Rio Branco Institute, the first diplomat to step up to the post of ambassador was a woman, Gisela Padovan.
He said he will fight for more women in leadership positions.
“Itamaraty’s most valuable asset are the people who make it up. I want to dialogue with the Assembly, in the certainty that dialogue and respectful debate are the key to our institutional growth, ”he concluded, in an approach well received by diplomats.