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Ambassador in Madrid accuses El País of ‘imperialism’ and ‘tara’ against Brazil

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Ambassador in Madrid accuses El País of ‘imperialism’ and ‘tara’ against Brazil

The ambassador of Brazil to Madrid, Pompeu Andreucci Neto, endeavored to comply with the instructions of the Itamaraty to oppose the publications that give proper opinion on the most recent facts of the country, in particular, the negligence of the federal government in the fight against Covid- 19 and his flirtations with the authoritarian way. In a four-page letter sent on Thursday 28 to El País, the diplomat accuses the Spanish newspaper of maintaining a fixation for Brazil that “borders on the verge of a real tare”, “obscurantist arrogance” and “neo-colonialist vocation”. Andreucci is not alone in this crusade. To the indignation of most of his career colleagues, he is accompanied by a number of ambassadors jealous of showing service to Brasilia.

Andreucci's reaction was the editorial “Brazil in Danger”, published in Tuesday's 26th edition. The text summarizes the current Brazilian political and social framework in three paragraphs. Nothing more than what the country's media record and express daily. It points out the 360,000 contagions and the more than 22,000 deaths caused by Covid-19 – there are now 438,238 cases and 26,754 deaths -, President Jair Bolsonaro's insistence on neglecting quarantine and not listening to specialists, the resignation of two ministers of Health in a month, the critical situation of the hospitals, the minimum volume of tests already carried out and the maximum concern of the Brazilian leader with the “economic hecatombe, which would frustrate an eventual reelection in 2020”.

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The country's isolation from the world, the head of Bolsonaro's parallel information service and more. Read in this issue

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The text informs about the impeachment requests submitted to Congress by the opposition, the investigation by the Supreme Federal Court (STF) about the president's interference in the direction of the Federal Police and the video of the cabinet meeting last April 24, when Bolsonaro stood in defense of his family against investigations and pleaded the armament of the population. He also mentions his bargaining for positions with Centrão, who already commands ten of the 22 ministries. “Brazil is heading towards the peak of the pandemic in a context that poses serious risks,” concludes the editorial, after emphasizing Bolsonaro's “irresponsibility” in dealing with the pandemic.

Perhaps because he did not follow the Brazilian news on a daily basis, the ambassador endeavored to trace his letter to the director of El País, Soledad Gallego-Díaz, with extreme officialism. The news clippings sent to posts abroad were suspended by Itamaraty. But the most common hypothesis among his colleagues is that Andreucci, the right-hand man of former President Michel Temer since his days as deputy and head of state, is jealous of showing service to the current administration – not least because he maintains a position of importance abroad , for which he was appointed by Temer, unlike others who had relevant positions in the previous government.

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Andreucci, in his long letter, complains that El País covers “more negative news about Brazil than about events in the European continent” and “stops at the harmful, eccentric or exotic”, as if Brazil were generating different news at this point. It was enough to take a look at the series of editorials published by the newspaper, recognized worldwide for its keen coverage of international topics, to see the failure of this statement. The ambassador even insults the entire newsroom of the newspaper when he says that he is plagued with “backward, arrogant and imperialist ideological thinking”. It goes further, and accuses him of “insulting, spreading lessons of government‘ aux good sauvages du Brésil ’(to the good savages of Brazil) and the‘ poor ’and‘ backward ’‘ ‘Ibero-Americans’ ”.

A similar attitude had already been carried out by the Brazilian ambassador in Paris, Luís Fernando Serra, a diplomat aligned with Bolsonarism since the 2018 election campaign. In a letter to Le Monde, Serra affirms that, “cheating the facts”, the French newspaper “ends believing in the fictions he creates ”. The ambassador criticized the report "Brazil: Bolsonaro ignores the catastrophe", published on May 19, in which the newspaper warns of the risk of the federal government dragging the country on a "dark flight" during the Covid-19 pandemic. "Without a doubt, there is something rotten in the kingdom of Brazil, where the President, Jair Bolsonaro, manages to say, without batting an eye, that the coronavirus is a 'gripezinha' or a 'hysteria' born from the 'imagination' of the media", informs the newspaper, based on statements by the head of state.

In his eagerness to defend the federal government, Serra even states in the letter that "President Bolsonaro never denied the existence of Covid-19" – something that is inconsistent in light of the facts. "What he has done since the beginning of the health crisis is to try to prevent hysteria or panic from taking over the people." Last February, the ambassador had already shown enough of his alignment when forwarding a letter to French parliamentarians to express his “deep indignation” with their greater attention to the murder of Rio de Janeiro city councilor Marielle Franco than to the attempt on President Jair Bolsonaro during his electoral catch of 2018 and the crime against the former mayor of Santo André Celso Daniel, in 2002. The missive was addressed to Senator Laurence Cohen, of the French Communist Party, and to Christine Pirès, of the Socialist Party. Serra even asked for clarification from both.

Serra was appointed to the command of the Itamaraty at the end of 2018, but lost the post of chancellor to Ambassador Ernesto Araújo, whose name was supported by Bolsonaro's international adviser, Filipe Martins, a faithful follower of the extreme right doctrine of Olavo Carvalho.

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Also a diplomat whose career was especially boosted during PT governments, Maria Nazareth Farani Azevêdo, has been providing extensive services to Brasilia since her post as representative of Brazil before the United Nations agencies in Geneva, Switzerland. Farani has been one of the main executors of the change in the orientation of Araújo's foreign policy in the field of Human Rights, which contradicts the entire Brazilian diplomatic tradition, and, especially, the defense of the inaction of the Bolsonaro government during the coronavirus pandemic. He even called himself a “victim of the PT”.

It is true that the position of Brazil's representative abroad includes, among its attributions, the permanent defense of the Brazilian State. There are diplomats who read this mission as the ongoing unconditional defense of the government. Ambassadors have been pressured by Araújo's office to be more responsive to the news in Brazil published by the international press. But, as a veteran at Itamaraty says, it is possible to accomplish the task without exposing oneself individually to ridicule and contradiction. Diplomatic language allows you to navigate this tightrope and preserve your biography.

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