International

Brazil's Bolsonaro names US expert as new foreign minister

Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday named as foreign minister a career diplomat who currently heads the ministry's United States and Canada department.

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro (L) and his newly appointed Foreign Minister, Brazilian diplomat Ernesto Araujo at the headquarters of the transitional government in Brasilia, on November 14, 2018
Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro (L) and his newly appointed Foreign Minister, Brazilian diplomat Ernesto Araujo at the headquarters of the transitional government in Brasilia, on November 14, 2018 (AFP)

Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday named as foreign minister a career diplomat who currently heads the ministry's United States and Canada department.

Ernesto Araujo, 51, was an early supporter of the far-right leader, and courted controvery when he referred to members of the left-wing opposition as "terrorists."

His was the eighth ministerial appointment Bolsonaro has made since winning the presidential election at the end of last month.

"External politics must be a part of the regeneration Brazil is now going through," said Bolsonaro on Twitter.

He described Araujo as "a brilliant intellectual" and pointed to his 29 years of experience as a diplomat.

Speaking to reporters alongside the president-elect in Brasilia, Araujo said his mission would be "to ensure that this historic and incredible moment that Brazil is going through with Bolsonaro's election is reflected" in its foreign policy.

He said it would be "an effective policy, based on national interest, a policy of an active, happy, prosperous Brazil."

Prior to Bolsonaro's election, Araujo wrote widely of his support for the far-right candidate and even branded his Workers Party opponents as "terrorists," according to Brazilian press reports.

The appointment comes just a day after Bolsonaro named former military general Fernando Azevedo e Silva as his defense minister.

He had already appointed his ministers of justice, finance, agriculture, science and technology, institutional security and his chief of staff.