Ernesto Araújo left the command of the Foreign Ministry on Monday (29), after being subjected to a fry by deputies and senators who demanded a change in foreign policy promoted by the Foreign Ministry.
The now ex-minister was one of the main representatives of the so-called ideological wing of the (non-party) Jair Bolsonaro government and has accumulated a legacy of controversies, controversial statements and management deemed ineffective in several ways.
In April of last year, Ernesto posted a text on his personal blog in which he said, among other topics, that the Covid-19 pandemic could be part of a “globalist project” that would be the “new path of the communism “- at one time, the virus had killed 180,000 people worldwide.
The former minister also used the neologism “comunavirus” to designate an alleged “ideological virus” which overlaps the coronavirus and “awakens the communist nightmare”. Ernesto also condemned the containment measures, saying they were part of a project “of communist emancipation” which would have found in the pandemic “a treasure of oppression”.
In the same text, he compared the restrictions on Nazi concentration camps. When criticized by Jewish leaders, who demanded an apology, Ernesto ignored them and criticized the media coverage of the case.
“ International pariah ”
In October last year, at a graduation ceremony at the Rio Branco Institute, the diplomat training school, Ernesto said: “If this [a atuação do Brasil na política externa] make us an international outcast, so let’s be that outcast. “
The speech came after a series of complaints by the now ex-minister against multilateralism and what he called “covidism”, as well as criticism of “Godless Marxism” and globalism – a political slogan used by right-wing populist movements to denounce an allegation of loss of national identity.
According to Ernesto, only Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump had spoken about freedom at the UN General Assembly, which had taken place a month earlier – at the time, the Brazilian lied about his handling of the pandemic and his environmental policies, and the American defended China for being responsible for Covid.
In this context, the former head of Itamaraty said that “it might be better to be that outcast left out in the open than to be invited to the banquet of the selfish cynicism of the globalists, the corrupt and the semi. – corrupt “.
Hostile environment in the Senate
Ernesto has been asked by senators to explain the wallet’s efforts he commissioned to obtain coronavirus vaccines. During the session, he became the target of harsh criticism against his leadership and asked him to resign “to help save lives”. In defending himself, the ex-chancellor was moved and his voice choked, saying he had done everything to help Brazil during the pandemic.
A week later, he published some of the content of a private conversation he had with Senator Katia Abreu (PP-TO), chair of the House External Relations Committee, insinuating that the pressure that he had suffered to leave the ministry was the result of the Chinese lobby on members of Congress.
The reaction of the senators sparked a new wave of criticism against Ernesto, accused of having crossed “a line not to be crossed” by attacking the Senate “for free and needlessly”. The former minister has also been described as “marginal” and described by Katia Abreu as “someone who insists on living at the limit of good diplomacy, at the limit of balance and at the edge of respect for institutions”.
Swoops with China
Ernesto spent ten months without establishing a dialogue with the Chinese Embassy in Brazil. The cut came after Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP) publicly criticized the Asian country and received harsh responses from Ambassador Yang Wanming.
In the first case, in March 2020, the president’s son compared Covid-19 to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, implying that, as the Soviet Union did at the time, China may be hiding information and should be held responsible for the spread of disease. Yang responded by saying that Eduardo had made a “perverse insult” and that the deputy had contracted a “mental virus”.
In November, Eduardo again criticized China, linking the country to spying on data using 5G network technologies. In a note, the Chinese embassy expressed “strong dissatisfaction and vehement repudiation” against the deputy’s statement. Ernesto then took the pain of the president’s son and broke off relations with Yang, even blaming the embassy for the reaction he deemed “offensive and disrespectful”.
The former chancellor further convinced Bolsonaro to ask Beijing to replace its ambassador to Brazil after the two quarrels. Both requests were ignored.
Critics within Itamaraty
More than 300 diplomats issued a letter demanding Ernesto’s departure. The document accuses the current foreign policy of “seriously damaging international relations and the image of Brazil”, citing “conduct incompatible with constitutional principles and even with the most basic diplomatic codes of practice”.
The authors of the letter could not identify themselves due to foreign service law, which prevents them from “speaking publicly about matters related to the formulation and execution of Brazilian foreign policy” without consent. prior.
Gaff mask in Israel
During a visit to Israel in early March, Ernesto starred in an episode that ended up going viral on social media. When asked to pose for a photo with his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, he was warned by the country’s chancellery to put on a mask. Ernesto replied, “Oh, yes” and put on the protection.
Speech at the UN
In his speech to the UN Human Rights Council in February, Ernesto criticized the restrictions adopted to contain the pandemic and censorship on social media. The former minister put the containment measures into perspective and said “a lockdown of the human mind cannot be accepted.”
The speech, as well as that of Minister Damares Alves, was described by human rights organizations as “cool from the rest of the world”.
Defense of attacks against the press
Ernesto defended Bolsonaro’s attitude after the president sent the press to stick cans of condensed milk “in the tail”. The statement came after the Brazilian leader was asked about federal government spending of R $ 1.8 billion on food and drink in 2020.
According to the former minister, this is the style of the president. Asked in a radio interview with Jovem Pan, Ernesto said he didn’t think it was childish that he laughed after Bolsonaro’s speech or approved of the cry of “MI-TO! MYTH! ”Which came next.
Frictions with Mourão
In January, Vice President Hamilton Mourão (PRTB) said Ernesto could be one of those replaced as part of ministerial reform. At the time, the general’s speech was seen as a way of expressing the sentiment that already dominated part of the military sector and the Itamaraty technicians who defended the minister’s departure.
Bolsonaro, at the time, defended Ernesto and insisted that the choice of ministers would be his alone and that he did not need a “hunchback” in his government.
US Capitol invasion
Ernesto posted messages on Twitter condemning the attack on the US Congress by extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump. According to him, however, it was necessary “to recognize that a large part of the American people feel attacked and betrayed by their political class and are wary of the electoral process”.
The former minister also called the vandals “good citizens” and suggested “to investigate if any undercover elements were involved” in the episode. Along with the backlash from Bolsonaro, for whom Brazil “will have a worse problem than the United States” if he did not institute the printed vote for 2022, Ernesto’s statement was seen as creating possible new hurdles for the United States. Brazilian government relations with Joe Biden.
After Argentina’s Senate in December approved women’s right to choose abortion until week 14 of pregnancy, Ernesto took to Twitter and, without directly referring to the neighboring country, criticized the landmark decision . The former minister said that “Brazil will remain at the forefront of the right to life and defense of the defenseless, regardless of how many countries legalize the barbarism of blind abortion, disguised as’ health reproductive ‘or’ social rights’ “.
Lack of interlocution when purchasing vaccines
Ernesto is named as one of those responsible for the failure of negotiations between the Brazilian and Indian governments for the purchase of a batch of vaccines against the coronavirus. The plane which would collect the vaccines was ready to take off in Recife while the Chancellor launched a final appeal to his Indian counterpart for the release of more than two million doses. The request, however, was rejected.
Lack of international cooperation
When the United Nations General Assembly approved an international cooperation agreement in April last year to ensure global access to drugs, vaccines and medical equipment to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, only Brazil – under the diplomatic leadership of Ernesto -, the United States and 12 of the entity 193 member countries did not support the resolution.
Technically, the Brazilian government has stopped sponsoring the measure, but has not objected. In practice, however, failure to express a clear position on a resolution demonstrates a lack of enthusiasm for the cause, and at the time the omission was interpreted as involuntary acceptance.