UNDERSTANDING BRAZIL’S FOREIGN MINISTRY, PART 1: IDEOLOGICAL FORCES

Código Fecha Clasificación Origen
09BRASILIA177 11 February 2009 Confidencial Embassy Brasilia

Buscar la fuente: [Wikileaks] [MRKVA] [Google]

All the versions of this article: [English] [Español]

VZCZCXRO9234
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0177/01 0421928
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 111928Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3528
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 7371
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4857
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 6078
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 4337
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN 1652
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 6818
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 4102
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0449
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7673
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 1741
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2691
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0850
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 9067
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 7253
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 3516
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL//SCJ2-I/J5/HSE/DIA REP//

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 BRASILIA 000177

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA, IIP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/10/2019
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, ECON, OIIP, BR
SUBJECT: UNDERSTANDING BRAZIL’S FOREIGN MINISTRY, PART 1:
IDEOLOGICAL FORCES

REF: A. 2008 SAO PAULO 497
B. 2008 RIO DE JANEIRO 236
C. 2008 BRASILIA 1636
D. 2008 BRASILIA 1637
E. 2008 BRASILIA 1638
F. 2008 BRASILIA 1418
G. BRASILIA 103
H. BRASILIA 0068
I. 2008 STATE 115233

Classified By: Ambassador Clifford M. Sobel, Reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary. As Brazil takes an increasingly prominent
place on the international stage, its Foreign Ministry, known
widely as Itamaraty after its headquarters building, finds
itself under the influence of four powerful personalities
whose ideologies are shaping its foreign policy priorities
and interaction with the United States. Over the last six
years, President Lula’s relatively pragmatic effort to expand
Brazil’s outreach to a growing group of countries, including
the United States, has been implemented differently by the
GOB’s three principal foreign policy actors: the nationalist
Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, the anti-American Secretary
General (deputy Foreign Minister) Samuel Pinheiro Guimaraes,
and the academic leftist presidential Foreign Policy Advisor
Marco Aurelio Garcia. Along with President Lula, the three
have pulled the Foreign Ministry in unaccustomed and
sometimes different directions.

2. (C) The departure of deputy FM Guimaraes in November 2009
and a new administration in January 2011 are likely to again
modify the GOB’s foreign policy ideologies and priorities.
As we seek to broaden and deepen our relationship with
Itamaraty, ideological dynamics will make Itamaraty a
sometimes frustrating partner. Even so, the opportunity
exists now to move forward by working with other Brazilian
institutions, and to shape the views of a large cohort of
younger, more pragmatic, and more globally oriented diplomats
who will be moving into senior ranks. Para 16 contains two
proposals post is actively exploring. (Note: This is the
first of three cables examining the influences on Brazil’s
Foreign Ministry. A second will report on the institutional
strains affecting Itamaraty. A third will examine the
inter-agency struggles that are slowly eroding Itamaraty’s
foreign policy primacy; see also paras 13-14 below. End
note.) End summary.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
President Lula: The Pragmatic Leftist
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (C) President Lula arrived in office in 2003 with little
foreign affairs experience and a broadly leftist approach to
international affairs in which more developed countries stood
against less developed countries on the world stage. In
practice, however, Lula has demonstrated a gift for
personalizing foreign policy through contacts with foreign
leaders and a penchant for taking a pragmatic rather than an
ideological approach to working with other countries. As a
result, Lula has significantly shaped Brazil’s foreign policy
efforts, as his good working relationships with leaders from
across the political spectrum have helped increase Brazilian
influence and standing, while paving the way for closer
cooperation between Brazil and a growing number of global
actors, including the United States. But there remains a
notable tension between Lula’s actions and his rhetoric,
which often takes on a North-South, "us versus them" cast.
This tension keeps Itamaraty on edge, and has opened the door
for Amorim, Guimaraes, and Garcia to formulate and implement
Brazil’s foreign policy in different ways.

BRASILIA 00000177 002 OF 005

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
’Three Foreign Ministers’ Make for Unhappy Diplomats
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (C) Most analysts agree that Lula is not the principal
architect of his administration’s foreign policy vision, nor
the principal overseer of its implementation. In this
regard, contacts almost universally cite FM Amorim, SG
Guimaraes, and Advisor Garcia as nearly co-equal with regard
to their influence in determining the broad outlines and
scope of Brazil’s foreign policy. All three are leftist in
their basic ideology, but each has taken on a specific
leadership role, approaches his job with a different slant,
relates in a different manner to President Lula, and receives
support from a different base. Each has carved out his own
foreign policy niche: trade, developed country relations,
multilateral issues, Africa, and the Middle East for Amorim;
political-military issues, relations with some developing
countries, and Foreign Ministry inner workings for Guimaraes;
and South American and leftist countries in Latin America and
elsewhere for Garcia. The effect is a somewhat disjointed
vision and implementation of Brazil’s foreign policy that can
lead to frustration on the part of Brazilian diplomats.

5. (C) Where the interests of these three advisors coincide
in their views, Brazil’s direction has been unequivocal:
prioritizing regional political integration, deepening
relations with emerging economies (e.g., through the BRICs
and IBSA—India, Brazil, South Africa—fora), expanding
south-south relations (e.g., through Arab States-South
America, South America-Africa, and Latin America-wide fora),
and increasing dialogue with other regional powers (Iran,
Venezuela, China, North Korea) to highlight its position as a
friend of both the United States and its adversaries. None
of the three admits that there is any interest or effort to
place relations with Europe and the United States on a second
plane, and staffing at Brazil’s foreign missions seems to
bear this out (see septel). However, there is a growing
debate among the non-government foreign policy elite in
Brazil (refs A and B), and substantial opposition from the
private sector, regarding the wisdom of what is widely
acknowledged as a heavy south-south focus. This debate
expresses publicly the discomfort that many diplomats express
privately with the direction of Brazil’s foreign policy under
Lula. Diplomats tell us that the leftist slant to policy has
resulted in "exile" either overseas or to domestic postings
outside Itamaraty (at universities, for example), self-exile
overseas, or early retirement for more senior colleagues.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FM Amorim: the Nationalist Leftist
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

6. (C) For all the sniping at Lula’s foreign policy from
senior ex-diplomats—and such criticism is constant, public,
and widespread—Foreign Minister Amorim is one of their own,
a respected career diplomat steeped in traditional Itamaraty
nationalism. Historically, this expressed itself in
opposition to the United States, and it is still
unquestionably true that, within South America, Itamaraty
resists almost without exception regional initiatives
involving the United States. When the United States is at
the table, in Itamaraty’s view, Brazil cannot lead. This may
explain why Itamaraty remains lukewarm regarding the Summit
of the Americas, has rejected cooperation with us in South
America on biofuels, and has launched a number of initiatives
in South America that do not include the United States. Most
recently, the December 2008 Bahia summits (refs C, D, E),
including the first-ever meeting of Latin American and
Caribbean heads of state and government, represented an
effort by Brazil to expand the scope of its leadership in the

BRASILIA 00000177 003 OF 005

region, without having to play second fiddle to the United
States.

7. (C) Under Amorim’s most recent tenure as Foreign Minister,
however, Itamaraty nationalism has undergone a subtle shift.
(Note: Amorim also served as FM for 18 months under President
Itamar Franco, 1993-1994. He has served as FM under Lula
since 2003. End note.) Over the last several years, a
broader, once nearly knee-jerk anti-Americanism has given way
to a growing desire to have a seat among global players
addressing global issues, to be and be perceived as being an
equal to Europe, China, India, Japan, and the United States
on the world stage (ref F). The most notable expressions of
this tendency have been the renewed primacy given Itamaraty’s
long-standing effort to secure a permanent seat on the UN
Security Council, a constructive and engaged role in the WTO
negotiations (under pressure from Brazil’s private sector),
interest in playing in the Middle East peace process, and
most recently active engagement in discussions on the global
financial crisis. Compared with Guimaraes and Garcia,
Amorim’s leftist views tend to be held in check by
traditional Itamaraty care for diplomatic niceties and an
almost reverential respect for reciprocity and
multilateralism. Brazil’s recent decision to grant refugee
status to an Italian terrorist (ref G), for example, was
clearly made by the Justice Minister for ideological reasons,
and almost certainly without Amorim’s support.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Secretary General Guimaraes: the Anti-American Leftist
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

8. (C) One former diplomat told PolCouns that SG Guimaraes, a
career diplomat who was shunted aside by President Cardoso,
owes his influence and independence to being the Labor
Party’s (PT) first choice for FM after Lula was elected.
Guimaraes believed he was not confirmable and suggested
Amorim, with himself as Secretary General—a move the PT
made, but which required congress to pass a waiver, as
Guimaraes had not served as ambassador, a legal requirement
to hold the post. Along with family connections (Guimaraes’
daughter is married to Amorim’s son), this history may
explain his outsized authority and substantial autonomy.

9. (C) Guimaraes is virulently anti-American, and anti-"first
world" in general. He has advocated extreme positions—for
example, that in order to be taken seriously on the world
stage Brazil must develop nuclear weapons—and as the senior
official in charge of personnel matters, he issued a required
reading list of anti-American books that has only recently
been toned down. He has been accused by current and former
diplomats of using ideological requirements in handing out
promotions. And he is known to have gone out of his way to
provoke and stall initiatives by U.S. and European countries.
Politico-military affairs, which are managed largely out of
his office, and counter-crime/counter-drug issues (managed by
him until earlier this year, and still subject to his
influence) remain two of our most difficult areas for
bilateral cooperation at the policy level, with initiatives
regularly stalled or stymied by Itamaraty. According to
European and Canadian diplomats, our problems with Guimaraes
are not unique, and they are awaiting as eagerly as we are
his mandatory retirement in November 2009, when he turns 70.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Advisor Garcia: the Academic Leftist
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

10. (C) Many contacts, including most recently Defense
Minister Nelson Jobim (ref H), tell us that Marco Aurelio
Garcia is one of President’s closest advisors, enjoying a

BRASILIA 00000177 004 OF 005

longstanding personal relationship with him and exercising an
outsized influence. An academic leftist and long-time PT
member, Garcia has championed closer relations with leftist
governments in the region and beyond, as well as the
prioritization of south-south relations. Talking with
Americans, he tends to couch negative views of the United
States as good-natured jokes from the past ("When I was
young, we used to call the OAS ’the Ministry of U.S.
Colonies’"; "When I was a young man, the joke was, ’Why has
the United States never had a coup? Because it doesn’t have
a U.S. embassy!’"). In the present, he has taken on
President Lula’s pragmatic approach to foreign policy,
dealing with the United States and other non-leftist
countries in order to achieve Lula’s objectives. Since the
new U.S. Administration has come on board, he has been
emphatic in passing along Lula’s keen desire to meet soon
with President Obama.

11. (C) Garcia’s influence as Lula’s most trusted foreign
policy advisor remains undiminished despite harsh criticism
from Brazil’s foreign policy elite for being too "soft" on
its neighbors, which temporarily gave Itamaraty the upper
hand in managing the spate of problems between Brazil and
Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Argentina in late 2008.
Garcia maintains the lead on contacts with South America’s
leftist governments, and where he is not the author of
Brazil’s outreach to countries such as Cuba, South Africa,
Iran, and Russia, he is fully supportive and active in
advancing these relationships.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Comment: Prepare for the Challenge...and the Change
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

12. (C) The ideological forces currently dominating Itamaraty
mean that, in the near term, the Foreign Ministry will
continue to represent a challenge for U.S. engagement on many
issues. At least through the end of the Lula administration,
the ideological bent of certain key policymakers will
constrain cooperation in some areas. Pursuing initiatives
with Brazil—and particularly those not dear to the principal
foreign policymakers—will continue to require a substantial
investment of time, strategic preparation, and effort to
overcome ideological headwinds, bureaucratic inertia, and
more pressing priorities (see also septels).

13. (C) In particular, although Itamaraty will remain a
significant player on almost all U.S. initiatives and
interests in Brazil, the way forward with the GOB will in
large measure involve working with other significant players
as well. In the first instance, this means the Presidency,
as Lula has made clear his interest in developing a closer
relationship with the United States and Garcia, his closest
advisor, is the most dependable in reflecting views. Second,
this means working with other GOB ministries and agencies
that will act as advocates for closer cooperation. Finally,
it means drawing in congress, the judiciary, governors, and
non-governmental players, and the private sector in
particular, which generally support working with the United
States and often have the ability to sway decisions in favor
of our initiatives.

14. (C) Building supportive coalitions with other Brazilian
players as a way to overcome MRE opposition is a tested
strategy: on the Tropical Forests Conservation Act debt swap,
enhanced visa terms, our NAS LOA, civil aviation, defense
cooperation, biofuels cooperation, information sharing,
climate change, and a host of other issues, developing
initiatives with and working through players other than
Itamaraty have been critical elements in our success. Most
recently, excellent relations with the Ministry of Justice,

BRASILIA 00000177 005 OF 005

Federal Police, and the Presidency were crucial to overcoming
last-minute MRE refusal to issue visas to DEA agents
preparing to transfer from Bolivia to Brazil (see septel).
We expect that gaining Brazilian cooperation on climate
change and hemispheric energy security will also depend
heavily on working closely with players outside Itamaraty.

15. (C) Over the longer term, in light of the GOB’s current
efforts to adjust to broader participation on the world
stage, we expect that senior Itamaraty policymakers will
continue to expand the range of issues on which they are
comfortable working in tandem with industrialized countries.
During the next decade, the older generation of diplomats,
who still often defined their interests as a regional power
in opposition to the United States, will be replaced by a
large cohort of younger, more pragmatic, and more globally
oriented officers. The recognition by at least some senior
Itamaraty officials that they have not done a good job of
training "Americanists" who understand the United States
suggests that there may well be increased openness to new
initiatives on this front, especially following the departure
of Samuel Guimaraes in 2009. Openness may increase further
in 2011 if the Lula government is replaced by one with a less
ideological set of senior policymakers.

16. (C) Post believes that it is critical to influence
Brazil’s new generation of diplomats, which we generally find
more accessible and, while still strong nationalists, more
ready to consider cooperation where U.S.-Brazil interests
coincide. Among the new near-term possibilities we are
exploring is the possibility of establishing a more regular
program of speakers and digital video conferences with Rio
Branco to promote engagement between their diplomatic
trainees and U.S. diplomats and other interlocutors.
Depending on how this is received, we might consider
establishing a "young diplomats" group to allow for
additional contact and exposure with U.S. diplomats. Post
has also learned that the French instituted a diplomatic
exchange program with Itamaraty in 2008, similar to our
Transatlantic Diplomatic Fellowship, and now have a diplomat
working in Itamaraty’s Europe Department. We believe a
similar proposal would be a valuable way both to test the
waters for cooperation and, if implemented, both to gain
further insight into the workings of this key ministry and to
give Brazilian diplomats greater understanding of how the USG
executes foreign policy.
SOBEL