Withdrawn from the post of chancellor after strong pressure from the center and from businessmen, former minister Ernesto Araújo received this Wednesday (31) a post of subordinate to the administrative sector of Itamaraty.
According to interlocutors, the idea is that he remains in office until President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party) decides his fate: if he remains in Brazil or if he is sent on a mission to the foreign.
For now, he was assigned to the administrative management secretariat of Itamaraty. The structure, responsible, among other things, for moves abroad, is chaired by Ambassador Cláudia Buzzi.
Now, Ernesto must dispatch from a room in Annex 1 of the Itamaraty, where the entire second floor of the institution works. In a normal situation, he is expected to be sent to head an embassy abroad. But the ex-chancellor’s resignation came under exceptional circumstances, amid an open rebellion by senators against his administration in Itamaraty.
Senate leaders – among them Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Kátia Abreu (PP-TO) – have already made it clear that they have no intention of giving the blessing for Ernesto’s appointment as ambassador of a diplomatic mission outside Brazil. Thus, the former minister has become a kind of white elephant for his successor, the diplomat also Carlos França.
With no political conditions to assign to an embassy, Ernesto’s options for the future have been narrowed. One of the alternatives is that it be sent to a post outside Brazil that does not require confirmation from Parliament, such as the Brazilian mission to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).
Ernesto could also be tasked with commanding a consulate, another post that does not require Senate approval. But these positions are seen as inferior to the relevance of a former chancellor in the institution. People following the transition from the two administrations say Ernesto has taken a few days to decide which job he wants to apply for.
The idea of appointing him to the administrative management secretariat was a way to prevent the former minister from remaining without a career post. But the possibility that the buffer solution will last for a longer period of time worries diplomats. In Annex 1 of Itamaraty, Ernesto will dispatch alongside the secretaries of the new administration. He will also be a short walk from the new minister’s office, which makes career members fearful of wanting to exert some influence on France’s decisions.
The newly appointed chancellor, in turn, has spent the last few days assembling his team at Itamaraty. He defined that his number two would be Ambassador Fernando Simas, now permanent representative of Brazil to the OAS (Organization of American States).
Simas began his career in 1980. Thus, France decided to place an experienced diplomat at the General Secretariat of Itamaraty who had already commanded an embassy abroad – in this case Quito. France, for its part, is a newly promoted ambassador and has never commanded an embassy outside of Brazil.