According to interlocutors, the idea is that he remains in the capacity until President Jair Bolsonaro (without a party) decides his fate: if he stays in Brazil or if he is sent on a mission abroad.
For now, he was assigned to the administrative management secretariat of the Itamaraty.
The structure, which is responsible for, among other things, dealing with removals abroad, is chaired by Ambassador Cláudia Buzzi.
From now on, Ernesto must dispatch from a room in the annex 1 of the Itamaraty, where the entire second tier of the institution works.
In a normal situation, Ernesto would be expected to be sent to head an embassy abroad.
But the ex-chancellor’s resignation occurred in exceptional circumstances, amid an open rebellion of senators against his administration at the Itamaraty.
Leaders in the Senate – among them the chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, Kátia Abreu (PP-TO) – have already made it clear that they do not intend to give the blessing for Ernesto’s appointment as ambassador of a diplomatic mission outside Brazil.
Thus, the ex-minister became a kind of white elephant for his successor, also a diplomat, Carlos França.
With no political conditions to be assigned to an embassy, Ernesto’s options for the future were reduced.
One of the alternatives is that it be sent to a position outside of Brazil that does not require confirmation from Parliament, such as the Brazilian mission to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
Ernesto could also be tasked with commanding a consulate, another position that does not require Senate approval. But these positions are considered below the relevance that a former chancellor has in the institution.
People following the transition from the two administrations say Ernesto has asked for a few days to decide which job he wants to apply for.
The idea of appointing him to the administrative management secretariat was a way of preventing the former minister from remaining without a career role.
But the possibility that the buffer solution will extend over a longer period worries diplomats. In annex 1 of the Itamaraty, Ernesto will dispatch alongside the secretaries of the new administration. He will also be just steps away from the new minister’s office, which makes career members fear that he might want to exert some influence over France’s decisions.
The newly appointed chancellor, in turn, dedicated the last few days to assembling his team at the Itamaraty.
He defined that his number two will be the ambassador Fernando Simas, today Brazil’s permanent representative in the OAS (Organization of American States).
Simas started his career in 1980. As a result, France decided to place an experienced diplomat in the Itamaraty general secretary who has already commanded an embassy abroad – in this case, Quito.
France, for its part, is a newly promoted ambassador and has not yet commanded any embassy outside Brazil.
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