Front runner in Brazil’s presidential race vows to rethink membership of Mercosur bloc
The far-right front-runner in Brazil’s presidential race plans to put foreign policy in the hands of a diplomat who has praised the nationalist agenda of U.S. President Donald Trump that has shaken the global order, an adviser to the candidate said.
Policy experts said the pick fits conservative firebrand Jair Bolsonaro’s plan to make Brazil’s most dramatic foreign policy shift in decades.
Bolsonaro has already vowed to rethink membership in developing nation blocs Mercosur and BRICS and move the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, embracing Trump as few in Latin America have done.
That represents a direct reversal of nearly a decade and a half of diplomacy under leftist Workers Party (PT) governments, which focussed on alliances with South American neighbours and other emerging powers.
With a commanding lead just a dozen days before a run-off against Fernando Haddad of the PT, Bolsonaro has already begun naming members of a future cabinet, but has not confirmed his pick for foreign minister.
Ernesto Fraga Araújo, head of the United States and Canada department at the foreign ministry, is Bolsonaro’s first choice for the role, according to Paulo Kramer, a politics professor who advises the Bolsonaro campaign.
In unusual behaviour for a Brazilian diplomat, Fraga Araújo has used a personal blog dedicated to arguments “Against Globalism” to call for Brazilians to back Bolsonaro’s campaign. But it was an article called “Trump and the West” in a diplomatic journal that showed the Bolsonaro camp how much the 51-year-old diplomat shared their world view, Kramer said.
Fraga Araújo argued in the paper that Trump is saving Western Christian civilization from radical Islam and “globalist cultural Marxism” by standing up for national identity, family values and the Christian faith as Europe has not.