Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira dismissed on Tuesday his country’s ambassador to the Israeli occupation, Gerson Menandro Garcia de Frietas, and ordered that he be transferred, Brazilian media reported.
Israeli media confirmed the affairs on Wednesday, saying Vieira did, indeed, dismiss de Frietas, a close ally of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, from his post shortly after he became the country’s top diplomat.
Menandro, a retired Brazilian military general, was appointed to his post by Bolsonaro in 2020 with the aim of “strengthening security cooperation with Israel,” Israeli Walla! news site reported.
“When he was president, Bolsonaro largely changed his country’s foreign policy, and took a more pro-Israeli stance than his predecessors,” Walla! wrote.
“He even changed the pattern of Brazil’s voting in UN organizations regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues,” the media outlet added.
However, leftist President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva defeated far-right Bolsonaro in the presidential elections held on October 30, ending the far-right’s reign over Brazil and possibly bringing back Brazil’s public support for Palestine.
The victory represented a stunning turnaround for leftist icon Lula, who returned for an unprecedented third term at 77 after leaving office in 2010 as the most popular President in Brazilian history.
The new Brazilian President vowed to haul Brazil out of Jair Bolsonaro’s era of “devastation”, and barbarism. He promised to lead Brazil into a new chapter of environmental protection, social progress, and a “rational democratic” government.
Lula had previously led Brazil for a first term from 2003 to 2006, and a second term from 2006 to 2010. In his inaugural address before Congress, Lula vowed to “maintain, defend and obey the constitution” as he returns to the presidency.
Without mentioning his right-wing predecessor by name in his 30-minute address, Lula excoriated the damage done by Bolsonaro’s four-year administration during which nearly 700,000 Brazilians died of a mishandled Covid outbreak, millions were plunged into poverty, and Amazon deforestation soared.
The “criminal behavior of a denialist and obscurantist government that treated people’s lives with callousness” during the coronavirus pandemic should not go unpunished, Lula told Congress.
However, it is not clear how Brazil’s foreign policy will pivot or how quickly that will happen, especially as the socialist president will face a Congress widely dominated by Bolsonaro’s allies.