Ambassador Carlos Alberto Franco França was confirmed this Monday 29 to replace Ernesto Araújo at Itamaraty. France, 56, gained Bolsonaro’s trust during the period he led the ceremony at the Planalto Palace. So much so that, later, he commanded the special advisory committee of the presidency.
Graduated in law, he entered the diplomatic service in 1991 – a friend says that France, at age 12, passing by the Itamaraty said to his father: “I will work here”.
A discreet diplomat, unaccustomed to the spotlight and with a career linked to the Itamaraty ceremonial, the new minister is described by his colleagues as an “intelligent” and “socially hyper-qualified” person.
The ceremonial space is strategic in diplomacy, because it organizes the various events of the Chancellery and maintains close contacts with the Minister of State or, in the case of Planalto, with the President.
Like Ernesto when he was appointed to the Foreign Ministry, France was only recently promoted to ambassador and has never led a post abroad. But there is a difference from the former chancellor, according to his colleagues: he is considered a traditional and pragmatic diplomat, without professing the conservative radicalism of Ernesto and far removed from the influence of the writer Olavo de Carvalho, guru of bolonarism. We are a family business.
Despite this, diplomats fear that his short period at the peak of his career and the fact that he did not run an embassy will mean maintaining the influence of the ideological wing within the Chancellery. Mainly deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro and international adviser to the presidency, Filipe Martins.
Outside of Brazil, France has held posts in Brazilian embassies in Bolivia (twice), Paraguay and the United States. Brazil-Bolivia relations were even the subject of his thesis on the graduate course, an academic work diplomats must do before being promoted to a second-class minister. França prepared the thesis “Hydroelectric companies of the Madeira River and Brazil-Bolivia relations: analysis of the prospects for bilateral energy integration”.
He has also worked in the private sector. Between 2015 and 2017, he graduated from Itamaraty to be director of corporate affairs and strategic affairs of the holding of the Andrade Gutierrez group.
Colleagues describe France as a calm and thoughtful professional, with a low profile, but who has had a weak career in the institution and is not known as a foreign policy maker.
With the confirmation of the choice by Bolsonaro, he knocked down strong competitors and with a longer trajectory at Itamaraty. One of the most cited names, Brazil’s Ambassador to Paris, Luís Fernando Serra, reached the peak of his career in 2005 and is on his fifth assignment as Head of Post.
Ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani de Azevêdo, current Consul General in New York, was in turn Brazilian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. She is remembered as a possible chancellor since she spoke with the former deputy Jean Wyllys, of the PSOL, at the UN. But, internally, he was attacked by the Bolonarists for having been chief of staff to the former chancellor Celso Amorim (PT).