Brazil’s influential newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo blasted Brazilian foreign policy and its handling of the Paraguayan political crisis. In an opinion column under the heading “Dilma’s anti-diplomacy” the newspaper argues that the current administration is politicizing foreign policy, the same way that her predecessor, Lula da Silva.
The conservative newspaper claims that since the Workers Party reached office, the eight years of former president Lula da Silva were rich in transforming Brazilian diplomacy into an “ideological exercise”. It mentions the case in 2006 when Bolivia troops took over Petrobras refineries (and Brazilian assets), and Lula da Silva called it an “act of sovereignty” and that Bolivia needed to be treated with “love”.
However with the arrival of Dilma Rousseff there were hopes of a change, particularly since the president committed her administration to the defence of human rights, including in Iran, whose president denies the Holocaust and heads a regime that beats and jails opponents and Lula da Silva referred to him as “compañero”.
It seemed that Dilma was prepared to abandon Lula’s childish Anti-Americanism and join sides with the civilized world in condemning Teheran. But the Brazilian president who likes to be called “the manager” is more intent in imprinting her own seal to foreign policy, says O Estado de Sao Paulo.
For example, when Dilma had the chance to show her statesmanship at the RIo+20 conference last June, she left aside the professional diplomats and preferred a watered down document with no decisive weight that seemed to please or be accepted by everybody, believing it was a diplomatic success.
Later when the opportunity to put out the fire caused by the removal of Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo, also last June, she ended adding fuel to the situation by accepting the thesis of a ‘coup’ and therefore Paraguay had to be sanctioned.
O Estado de Sao Paulo adds that later Dilma personally patronized the regrettable operation to include Venezuela in Mercosur, taking advantage of the suspension of Paraguay, which resisted all along the incorporation of President Hugo Chavez’ country to an already discredited South American block.
Basically Dilma’s excessive personalism in foreign policy does not differ from the political-ideological contamination of the eight years Lula da Silva was president. In both cases foreign policy decisions are adopted not according to national interests as mandates the Constitution, “but in line with those projects to affirm and retain power”. Under Lula da Silva the imprudent policy of siding with autocrats imperilled the independence of Brazil in the definition of its foreign interests and in the search of a “community of Latinamerican nations” the former president put the country “at the service of the delirious Bolivarian project”.
With Dilma the “Lulopetista” (blend of Lula da Silva and Workers Party) ideology persists in Brazil’s foreign relations, but with an added probably more explosive ingredient: her idiosyncrasies. The President does not get along with her Foreign Affairs minister Antonio Patriota, the “manager” insists in a diplomacy of results and is contrary to making concessions and to the flatteries which are part of the essence of diplomacy.
Finally the newspaper cautions that with two and a half years ahead Dilma, has ample chance to further imprint her personal views, further compromising the influence of Brazil in international affairs.