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Viewing cable 09BRASILIA177, UNDERSTANDING BRAZIL'S FOREIGN MINISTRY, PART 1:

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BRASILIA177 2009-02-11 19:07 2010-12-21 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Brasilia
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