Brazil's Foreign Minister Wants to Save the West From Postmodernism

The Curious Case of Ernesto Araujo

Ernesto Araujo in Brasilia, November 2018. Adriano Machado / Reuters

In November 2018, Jair Bolsonaro, then Brazil’s president-elect, made an explosive announcement: he would be appointing Ernesto Araujo to the position of foreign minister. This would have been a controversial appointment under any circumstances: Araujo, 51, had for most of his career been an undistinguished career diplomat within Brazil’s foreign service, the Itamaraty, and he had only recently achieved ambassadorial status, a middling rank in the corps. His colleagues described him as competent and bookish, but he was the most junior candidate for the top job in a country with an especially hierarchical diplomatic corps.

These were not normal circumstances. After spending years in Washington diligently promoting the policies of successive presidents from Brazil’s left-leaning Workers’ Party, in 2017 Araujo had shocked his colleagues by publishing a deeply conservative essay titled “Trump and the West” for the Itamaraty’s official journal. In the essay, Araujo denounced the United Nations and

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