Brazil’s president replaces FM in cabinet shuffle

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BRASILIA, March 29 (Xinhua) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday appointed Carlos Alberto Franco Franca to succeed outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araujo, in a cabinet reshuffle.

Bolsonaro has replaced six cabinet members including heads of defense, health and justice departments for the past few days, amid mounting domestic pressure over the administration’s tactics against COVID-19 pandemic.

Araujo was forced to quit after Brazilian legislators and senior diplomats accused him of a foreign policy running counter to national interests and talks for acquiring COVID-19 vaccines.

Last week, a letter signed by more than 300 diplomats called for the minister’s ouster due to what they considered as conduct incompatible with the constitutional principles and elementary codes of foreign relations.

The letter, co-sponsored by 10 ambassadors who required anonymity for legal reasons, claimed that Araujo’s policy stand has caused “serious damage” to Brazil’s international relations and national image.

Since Araujo took office in January 2019, Brazil’s foreign relations have been marked by tightening ties with the United States and stranded dialogues with Brazil’s main trade partners.

The minister was also repeatedly questioned for his negative impact on such key sectors as agribusiness and incoming foreign investment.

Franca, 56, is a career diplomat who previously worked in the area of protocol at the ministry and served in the missions to the United States, Paraguay and Bolivia. Enditem

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