Bolsonaro’s Son as US Ambassador: A Good Choice by the Brazilian President?

By Fernando de Castro, Special to The Epoch Times
August 23, 2019 Updated: August 28, 2019

RECIFE, Brazil—Brazilian congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro has been nominated by his father, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, to head the U.S. Embassy in Washington.

A member of the Social Liberal Party, Eduardo Bolsonaro was elected to Congress in the 2018 general election with almost 2 million votes—the largest number in Brazilian history. He represents the state of Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro is seen as a good choice, as he is friendly with the Trump administration. He is an ally of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and participated in an event with Eric Trump in Florida in February.

He received compliments from U.S. President Donald Trump when he accompanied his father in March on the first official visit of the Brazilian president to the United States.

The appointment needs the approval of a majority of Brazilian senators, who are currently divided over the nomination of Bolsonaro as U.S. ambassador.

If the appointment is confirmed, Bolsonaro will break a tradition of only career diplomats being appointed to the post.

Recently, when questioned about his abilities to be U.S. ambassador, Bolsonaro said: “I have experience around the world. I have done a student exchange program. I know how to fry hamburgers. … I can speak English, and I’ve seen closely the great respect that the Americans have for the Brazilians.”

Jair Bolsonaro’s allies in the Senate support the nomination, but his opponents have questioned Eduardo’s competency for the post because of his lack of diplomatic experience.

Opponents have also accused the president of nepotism for nominating his son to the important position.

Debate

A supporter of Jair Bolsonaro, Sen. Soraya Thronicke of the Social Liberal Party, said the nomination of Eduardo would be good for Brazil and also for the country’s relationship with the United States.

“He is a very capable man for the position, has good plans for the Embassy, will have great advisers, and will also be very motivated to do a good job, so he will have to generate good results, too,” she told The Epoch Times.

“His main missions will be to work for a new economic deal with the U.S. and showcase our new liberal economic policy,” Thronicke added.

For opponent Sen. Eliziane Gama of the Citizenship Party, the appointment of Bolsonaro is incompatible with the exercise of public administration.

“Besides the fact that Eduardo is not a career diplomat, the president’s choice affects public morality and gives a negative image of politics to the population. And today, I realize that the Senate is not satisfied with this nomination, which in my understanding will not be accepted,” she told The Epoch Times.

But for the government’s deputy Senate whip, Sen. Izalci Lucas of the Social Brazilian Democracy Party, the president’s choice is positive.

“I don’t see it as nepotism, because it’s a political office and not a commission. In addition, Eduardo has served on the Foreign Relations and National Defense Commission in the House, has a mandate, and has good plans for diplomacy,” he told The Epoch Times.

Independence

A date has yet to be set for a Senate vote on Bolsonaro’s appointment.

Elton Gomes, a political scientist and specialist in international relations, said if Bolsonaro’s appointment is confirmed, the big challenge for him will be the adoption of an independent stance.

“He may do a good job as the embassy head, but there is a risk that he will take a partisan political stance,” Gomes said, adding that this could be problematic, as diplomats should be nonpartisan.

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