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Bolsonaro consolidates Itamarati’s weakening by lying to ambassadors

The episode tested the image that Carlos France is trying to project of a chancellor working to normalize the portfolio.

Ricardo Della Coletta
Brazil D.F

Conspiracy theories about attacks on electronic voting machines and Brazil’s electoral system, made by President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to an audience of foreign ambassadors, consolidated Itamarati’s weakening months before the election.

The episode, described with reserve by diplomats as embarrassing and damaging to national interests, also involved the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the presidential re-election campaign and checked the image that Carlos France is trying to project in Itamarati; image of chancellor. who works to normalize the paste after Ernesto Araujo’s period full of ideological inks.

The rating for Folha was given by various diplomats consulted since Monday (18), when Bolsonaro opened the doors of the Palacio da Alvorada to dozens of heads of foreign diplomatic missions and accused TSE (Supreme Electoral Court) ministers of his in planning defeat. the October elections.

Although Itamarathy tried to distance himself from the episode, diplomats say the ministry is fatally linked to the case, as it is the body responsible for advising the Presidency of the Republic on foreign policy matters. The ministry is also responsible for relations with the diplomatic community based in Brazil, in this case Bolsonaro’s chosen audience.

Moreover, France was present in Alvorada and watched the exhibition where Bolsonaro recycled lies and attacked the electoral system. The attitude of the president in Itamarati has received a lot of criticism in private conversations. The general diagnosis is that the lecture internationalized a crisis that had hitherto been internal and presented Brazil as a kind of republic where the head of the executive himself is conducting an institutional attack against the judiciary.

It was, according to diplomats heard, an act aimed at domestic society, particularly the more radical Bolsonaroist militancy. The president also ignored warnings that the international reaction would be largely negative, which was confirmed in the foreign press and in memos released by the US and UK governments, reaffirming confidence in electronic voting machines.


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A mobilization took place days after the platform created in Alvorada, trying to keep the diplomats away from the event. The article led to a statement by the ADB (Brazilian Diplomats Association) expressing “full confidence” in Electoral Justice and the electronic voting system.

“Since its introduction in 1996, the Brazilian electronic voting system has been the subject of multiple requests for international cooperation in the field of knowledge and technology transfer. Throughout this time, Brazilian diplomacy has always witnessed high standards of reliability, which have become an international benchmark inseparable from Brazil’s image as one of the largest and strongest democracies in the world,” the association said in a statement.

Due to holding the event in Alvorada, France could not avoid criticism from colleagues. Such a move should be strongly advised against by the foreign ministry, according to diplomats interviewed, who fear it has failed to protect Brazilian diplomacy from an agenda they see as harmful to national interests.

This view is shared with reservations by foreign ambassadors consulted by Folha. There are also fears in Itamarati that the ministry will be involved in new attacks on the voting system by Bolsonaro throughout the electoral process. One date on the calendar that causes concern is the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (United Nations) in September.


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Although the leaders’ meeting is scheduled to take place just days before the first round, which should reduce the possibility of Bolsonaro attending the meeting, there are fears that the president wants to use the platform to once again internationalize his campaign against Electoral Justice.

Answering the question about Francha’s topic and role at the meeting held in Alvorada, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not answer the questions raised by Folha.

Internally, the minister is seen as someone who managed to at least partially remove Itamarat from the Bolsonaroist agenda, which did not prevent the ministry from publishing a letter of regret for the death of Princess Isabel’s grandson Louis de Orléans y Braganza. , calling him “His Imperial and Royal Highness”.

Diplomats close to France claim he was opposed to holding the presentation in Alvorada, but had nothing to do with Planalto’s decision to promote the event. His allies also tend to defend him, arguing that if he were not the minister, there was a risk that Bolsonaro would appoint a replacement, Itamarati, with a similar profile to his predecessor.


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Former foreign minister Aloysio Nunes (PSDB) described Bolsonaro’s meeting with ambassadors as an “embarrassment for others” that caused “deep confusion” among diplomats, but agreed that France had little room to maneuver to avoid what happened. “A normal president can get advice from an experienced diplomat,” he said. “But Bolsonaro is not a normal politician. You do not advise the obsessive to give up his obsession. The obsessive resists any advice about their obsessions. And in this case, it is an obsession with clear political significance for Bolsonaro, to keep the most radical part of his electoral base mobilized.”

The presentation to foreign ambassadors is not the only recent episode to symbolize portfolio fragility or ministerial attrition. In recent weeks, the expression of Senator Davi Alcolombre (União-AP) almost led to a PEC (Proposed Amendment to the Constitution) in the Senate CC (Committee on the Constitution and Justice) allowing the appointment of deputies. embassies without losing their mandate.

The project is considered a serious blow to diplomatic careers, and France until the last moment made a discreet public performance against the text, which also caused criticism among partners.


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He is again defended by his allies and they say that he expressed his non-voting for PEC behind the scenes. The delay came after the chancellor threatened to cancel the UN agenda in New York to return to Brazil and work against the proposal, receiving a promise from Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG) that the proposal would not happen. promotion at the moment..


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Finally, the fact that countries like the US and China are without ambassadors in Brazil, having been represented by chargé d’affaires for months, reinforces the diplomatic weakening of the Brazilian government.

When Itamarathy showed signs of weakening

Presentation to ambassadors
Bolsonaro gathered ambassadors at the Palacio da Alvorada and spread lies about Brazil’s electoral system. The introduction was criticized by other powers and institutions, and foreign missions later reaffirmed their support for the system. The Association of Diplomats of Brazil (ADB) stated in its note that it trusts Electoral Justice.

34 PEC
The proposal to amend the Constitution in the Senate opens the way for politicians to become ambassadors without losing their mandate. The project is criticized by diplomats, international relations professors and researchers. Itamarathy also spoke out against the PEC and said in a statement that the nature of the embassy “recommends staying away from party politics”.

Lack of representatives in Brazil
The country has a deficit in terms of representation of heads of diplomatic missions in Brazil.
China and the United States, for example, are represented by chargé d’affaires, and countries in the region, including Argentina and Chile, are also without ambassadors in the federal capital, further reinforcing the diplomatic weakness of the Brazilian government.

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