Former Minister of Defense Celso Amorim told the Estadão that protests against the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and anti-democratic acts will not prevail after the departure of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL). “They (military) want to look to the future. Everyone wants to look to the future. It’s a page turned. The election itself turned that around”, said Amorim, who was chancellor in the governments of Lula and Itamar Franco and head of Defense in the administration of Dilma Rousseff.
The military gained political protagonism under Bolsonaro. In addition to the Ministry of Defense, for which Lula will choose a civilian, members of the Armed Forces came to command Health and Mines and Energy, not to mention state-owned companies such as Correios and Petrobras.
So far, the person most likely to head Itamaraty in the Lula government is Ambassador Mauro Vieira, who was Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Dilma government and is trusted by Amorim.
A member of the technical group in this area on the transition team, Amorim avoided mentioning names for the position, but said that, regardless of whether or not he is a career diplomat, the new chancellor needs to be someone who understands international relations.
President Jair Bolsonaro used the Armed Forces and today there is a troubled relationship between the military and the PT. General Villas Bôas even encouraged protests against Lula’s election. Can this be overcome?
Everything in politics is delicate. It will not prevail. They (the military) want to look to the future, everyone wants to look to the future. It’s a page turned. This is behind us. The election itself turned that around. He (Villas Bôas) has been a reserve person for a long time, he no longer has weight. He may be respected by some, admired, but he has no weight. In the Armed Forces, what matters is the high command.
In addition to being part of the Foreign Relations team in the government’s transitional cabinet, will you also join the Defense group?
They will nominate yet. Sometimes they surprise me. I didn’t even know I was going to be part of the International Relations group – and they put me there.
And how has the dialogue with the current government been? In the conversation you had with you, did the current chancellor, Carlos França, show himself willing to help?
It was a warm, friendly conversation. He had a positive, republican attitude, he came to visit me, facilitating the transition work from an administrative point of view. We already have people (in the transition team) designated by the commission to work inside (Itamaraty). Not to make decisions, but to get information, to see the budget, that sort of thing.
What will be the profile of the new Minister of Foreign Affairs? Will he necessarily be a career diplomat?
I’m not the one who decides that. It is not the (transition) working group that decides that either. It’s the president. The profile must be of a competent person, who understands international relations.
Can you go back to being head of the Itamaraty?
I don’t know. It’s not me who judges that.
How do you evaluate the election of Ilan Goldfajn to head the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)?
Brazil adopted the position it could adopt. The candidate had already been presented by the other government (of Jair Bolsonaro). We don’t veto either. I think the US Treasury had a lot of interest in his election – and he won. We raise no objections.
But former finance minister Guido Mantega even announced that the elected government could choose another name.
Brazilian name did not have. I cannot speak for Mantega and I have not had any instructions from the president in this regard. The president’s only instruction was that we should seek the broadest Latin American consensus under any name.
The information is from the newspaper The State of S. Paulo.
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