‘Going Global’: an organizational study of Brazilian foreign policy

Excelente artigo sobre o Itamaraty.

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-73292008000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en

Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano

Ph.D. in Economic History, Research Fellow of the Department of Economic History and the Institute of Latin American Studies, Stockholm University (andres.rivarola@ekohist.su.se). Revista de Política Externa Brasileira.
– Itamaraty is not just a Ministry among others, it is an institutional line of continuity from the very conception of the Brazilian state, an organization that has come to embody the heart and soul of ‘national being’, and expresses this as a watchdog of national foreign policy. Brazil is indeed a rare country in the sense that its most relevant historical personality is not a Chief of State, a military, or a national liberation hero: it is a diplomat, known as the Barão do Rio Branco. Much of Itmaraty’s uniqueness stems from the ‘heritage’ of the Lusitanian era where one of the first landmarks was the year of 1808, when the Portuguese Court was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro due to the occupation of Portugal by Napoleon’s forces. The maintenance of the Portuguese state machinery after Brazilian independence in 1822, transformed Itamaraty into a ‘peculiar diplomacy’ in the Latin American context6. One feature of this peculiarity was a remarkable continuity among diplomatic representatives, which gave an exceptional stability to the successive governments’7 orientation in terms of foreign policy. Secondly, Brazilian diplomacy, throughout the nineteenth century, also benefited from the constant ‘osmosis’ in human resources vis-à-vis the state’s economic institutions. Thirdly, the maintenance of a Monarchic system facilitated the entrance into an ‘international club’, where Monarchy was the predominant form of government.

– From an administrative point of view, an important landmark came in the year 1834, when the first regulation of the Ministry was approved9. This implied a separation from the Ministry of War, which represented a step towards the emancipation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, starting it on the path towards becoming the leading actor in the planning and execution of foreign policy. With the end of the Empire and the beginning of the Republic in 1889, one the most profound influences on the identity of Brazilian diplomacy was the Ministry of José Maria Da Silva Paranhos Junior, more known as the Barão do Rio Branco (1902-1912). During his period, foreign policy was raised above representing one or another party or fraction and became identified with the idea of unified nationality. Rio Branco even used the Palace of Itamaraty as personal residence. It was during this time that the Ministry, also called ‘The House’, became associated with the name ‘Itamaraty.

– A new kind of modernization took place in the early nineteenth century, with the creation of the first unit dealing with issues related to an international organization: the Brazilian/Pan-American Commission. In the 1920s, the first permanent Brazilian delegation at an international organization was created at the League of Nations11. The reforms during the 1930s and 1940s should be seen as part of a general process of rationalization and modernization of the Brazilian state under Getulio Vargas’s government (1937-1945 and 1951-1954)12. One important step during this period was the creation of the Rio Branco Institute (RBI), as a centre for research and education of diplomats. Another was related to advances in the economic area, with, for example, the creation of the Economic Commercial Division. Notwithstanding the changes since the 1930s, Brazilian foreign policy organization was too out of date to face the challenges of the restructuring of the international order following the emergence of the United Nations. In 1947, a diplomat was assigned directly under Itamaraty’s General Secretary, to centralize and systematize all elements concerning UN organizations and the Pan-American Union, and to give recommendations in relation to a posterior reorganization of the Ministry. That same year, Itamaraty created the Commission for International Organizations (COI) that was going to be in charge of all issues related to Brazilian commitments with IOs13.

Organizational changes during the early 1960s were strongly shaped by the paradigm of what was known as the ‘Developmental State’, which meant to give a strong role to the state as a central agent of development14. Industrialization, planning and administrative reform were central elements, together with a ‘pragmatic’ foreign policy guided by the doctrine of ‘Independent External Policy’. This initiated a rethinking of the international system towards the perspective of a multipolar world in which Brazil could “become part of a new center15. A deep process of discussion around foreign policy organization, led to what has been called “the most elaborated reform in the history of Itamaraty” in 196116. An outcome of such reform was an increasing ‘independence’ of Itamaraty from the Executive, resulting from the strengthening of the role of the Secretary General (always a career diplomat). This official became an indispensable point of reference for the Minister of Foreign Affairs since it was the Secretary General who directly led all foreign policy operations. The triennium 1960-62 was a period of expansion where Brazil undertook a particularly aggressive commercial and diplomatic stance towards the region. One example of this was President Juscelino Kubitschek’s (1956-61) proposal of a ‘Pan American Operation’17. Regional integration reached a historical step forward in 1961, with the creation of the Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA). Kubitschek’s government marked the transition of Itamaraty into a modern diplomacy, where Economic Diplomacy, Regionalism and Multilateralism laid deep roots in the organizational structure and culture18.

Beyond the ‘atypical’ period of the first Military government of Castello Branco (1964-67), the subsequent military governments continued with the Developmental line of action19. Foreign policy was again set along a national path where Development and Sovereignty were mixed into a national ideology. Since the mid-1970s, with the deterioration of the world economy and its tendency towards more protectionist and discriminatory measures from the core countries, cooperation with periphery countries turned into an imperative. That was particularly true in relation to a strategic integration of Brazilian and Argentinean productive processes, conceived within the path of broader integration to the international economy. Such line of action was continued by the new Democratic government of President José Sarney (1985-90), which deepened the regionalist policy. Despite nationalist lines of continuity, in the late 1980s the external level showed great shifts, along the lines that we described in the introduction. This meant, for Brazil, to push the GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs) negotiations towards a new kind of commitment to the opening of markets, the end of the East-West conflict, and the deepening of integration processes in North America and Europe. All such elements set the Brazilian diplomacy in a new context. At Itamaraty, from an administrative point of view, this situation was confronted with the administrative reform approved in 198620. Although the 1961 structure (see chart 1) already had introduced a kind of three-tier structure with the creation of the Secretaria Geral Adjunta, this structure was definitely consolidated with the 1987 reform, where both Departments and Divisions were placed directly under a Sub-secretary (Subsecretaria-Geral). There are also units named Co-ordinations (Coordenações), but these have the same level and status as the Divisions. This restructuring will be analyzed further in the next part.

3. Dealing with International Political Organizations

Much has transpired since the Ministry established it’s first unit to work directly towards an international organization in the 1920s. With the emergence of the United Nations, in 1945, Itamaraty started a process of reform to deal with the new kind of multilateral IOs that pervaded the international system. A more definitive administrative footprint in the early 1960s (see chart 1), with the creation of a Division dealing specifically with the Organization of American States (OAS), a Secretary with a Division for UN issues, and another working with International Conferences. But it would be misleading to argue that the attention on IOs was only motivated by exogenous elements.

The institutionalization of Developmentalist policies led to an acknowledgement that a country, which did not have military or economic strength to enforce its position in the global arena, had to search for other ways of exerting influence. This lead to an emphasis on diplomatic activity at the UN, which was seen as one of the few areas where Brazil could have leverage. However, at the same time it could be damaged if lacking a proper line of action. Nonetheless, when confronting the challenges of globalization, the Brazilian policy towards the international system before the 1990s was described as “an archaic position of non-participation and non-submission to international rules o

f coexistence elaborated by authoritarian rulers”21. With globalization, distances were reduced, interdependence was accentuated, and “the world that Brazil treated as an externality had become internalized”22. One challenge, as a Brazilian pundit explained23, was the increase of the number of international organizations and an interdependence of economic, social, and political policies. Another challenge was the unprecedented pervasiveness of international rules or norms at the national level. As held by Felipe Lampreia, when looking at the evolution of the organizational structure since the early 1960s, there is no doubt that coping with globalization has impelled the development of new tools and mechanisms in order to deal with international organizations24. In the organizational structure of 2006, there are two key units dealing with these organizations: the Political Sub-secretary I (Subsecretaría-Geral Politica I, SGAP I) and the Sub-secretary of Economic and Technological Issues (Subsecretaría-Geral de Assuntos Económicos e Tecnológicos, SGET). The first deals with political IOs and the other handles economic IOs – a division of labor that has been maintained since 1961. Analysis of the SGET will be left to the next part of the study. Instead, here the focus is on the SGAP I, which by 2006 had acquired a much more complicated structure than ever before. The 1961 structure to deal with IOs was basically maintained in the late 1970s, but changed in the late 1980s when transformed to a Sub-secretary, with three Departments and eight Divisions. Those eleven units of the Sub-secretary, were increased to fourteen (four Departments and ten Divisions) when the SGAP I was created on January 2003. However, the change was not only about quantity of units, but also in enhanced influence of certain issues in the international arena. One good example was Environment, which in 1988 was in the Sub-secretary of Human Rights and Environment, but was upgraded to a Department of Environment and Special Issues in year 2006 (see chart 2). This had in turn three Divisions, of which two dealt exclusively with environmental issues. Undoubtedly, the new global requirements around environmental issues had influenced the organizational evolution of Itamaraty.

Regarding Environment, it is surely not a coincidence that changes started at the beginning of the 1990s, with the new ‘global issues’ and the so-called ‘Earth Summit’ held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. For this study, more interesting than the unofficial name is the formal one (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, UNCED), which was the result of intensive diplomatic work carried out by Itamaraty (among other institutions). According to Flecha de Lima, the idea of an environment conference was, at the beginning, regarded with suspicion by the Brazilian diplomats25. They were afraid of a hidden agenda from core countries aiming to break Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazonian region, but also wary of the involvement of a myriad of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and their influence in policy-making. It is clear that something happened in the early 1990s, and parti

cularly at this environmental summit, where Brazilian diplomacy took a new line of action: Brazil initiated here “a new phase in its international relations26. Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003) explained how, for the first time, Itamaraty changed its traditional position of isolating itself from international NGOs because of their criticism of the country27. Instead of seeing the worries of the international community as a threat, these were increasingly considered as an element of great value for solving problems, both nationally and abroad. Thus, Brazilian diplomacy pressured to change the title and scope of the conference, to include the concept of ‘Development’. In this way, Itamaraty prevented the conference from only dealing with environmental issues based on technical and juridical grounds, recognizing that there is a tight relation between environmental and social problems. But the change in way of doing things was not only related to the IOs. It was also directed towards the national level, where there was an opening up in contact towards NGOs and the private sector, as well as in coordination among state entities. In the preparation for this summit, the Brazilian government established an inter-ministerial commission with all involved units of the Federal Government. The government also created a National Working Group in order to centralize those activities concerning Brazil as the host country.

One can further observe the impact of the ‘global issues’ in the new composition of the SGAP I, where the area of Human Rights was elevated from a Division to a Department of Human Rights and Social Issues. One of the issues that led scholars to speak about a ‘defensive’ and ‘isolationistic’ position of Brazil in international forums, was related to the Human Rights issue during the military regimes (1964-1986). With the end of authoritarian rule, Brazil assumed a more assertive role in that field.28 This was evidenced by participation in global UN forums such as. the World Conference on Human Rights Conference held in Vienna in June 1993. It hosted representatives of 171 states and had a massive presence from civil society. As in the area of Environment, Brazilian Diplomacy had in started beforehand to apply its strategy of active involvement in the different committees that anticipated the Conference. Brazil was also chair of the Conferences’ Redaction Committee, where the right to Development was accepted as an inalienable part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also included the eradication of extreme poverty and social exclusion as a ‘high priority’ for the international community. At Itamaraty, the new impact of the Human Rights issue led to the creation of the Department of Human Rights and Special Issues in 1995, with two Divisions: one which concentrated on Human Rights and related UN organizations, and the other worked with the areas such as Health, Women and other issues that indirectly deal with Human Rights.

Going further through the SGAP I, we can see in chart 2 that a unit of international organizations (Department of International Organizations) remains but its activity was more concentrated on issues relating to the UN’s core entities, such as the General Assembly and the Security Council. It is important to remember that the Brazilian candidacy for a permanent seat at the Council has been one of the historical goals of Brazilian diplomacy. Moreover, the SGAP 1 also participated in another of the significant Brazilian commitments since the 1990s: the UN’s Peacekeeping Missions. Brazil has participated in approximately 24 peacekeeping missions.29 But the deepest Brazilian involvement was related to the current UN’s Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Also in this field, we can see a more aggressive line of action. Although Brazil had been somewhat reluctant to participate in ‘imposed’ peacekeeping missions, that attitude changed when it was expected that such participation would help Brazil towards its objective of obtaining a permanent seat at the Security Council, and Brazilian leadership in Latin America30. It is interesting to observe here that the multidimensional pattern that has become more frequent since the 1990s. For example, Brazil’s striving for Regionalization (e.g. a common MERCOSUL line of action regarding MINUSTAH) and power bargaining at the UN (Brazilian position at the Security Council) both evidence increased participation in the international arena.

 


Looking further at the changes at the Department of International Organizations, one can see that it contains a Division of Organization of American States. It’s noteworthy that a Division dealing with hemispheric issues has been removed from the (geographic) area of American issues, to one of international political organizations. Such a transfer could be seen as an example of the increasing interconnectedness between hemispheric and global organizations. Such interconnectedness is also becoming apparent as the UN is becoming more an umbrella of organizations with different points of formal and informal connection. What is perhaps more surprising is the inclusion of the Department of Europe, and its two Divisions dealing with Western Europe (mainly EU) and Eastern Europe (e.g. Russia and Ukraine), in the SGAP I. This was a break with the traditional structure along bilateral lines, where each country was set under a Department that grouped a region, and all these Departments were within the same Sub-secretary. As you can see in chart 2, this kind of structure was maintained at another Sub-secretary, the SGAP II.

In the late 1980s, the Department of Europe (without a unit above it), was placed under the Sub-secretary of Political and Bilateral Issues, together with the other regionally structured Departments (including the Department of the Americas).But things have since become more complex. In 2006, the Department of Europe, where the most important relation was with the EU (as a region and with individual member countries), was placed in the area of International Organizations. This might be in line with the argument of strengthening of SOAs composed by IOs. Such arenas have a new kind of actors (as regional constellations), where states increasingly act in coordination with each other. From that perspective, it was probably much more difficult to handle bilateral relations separately with what was happening in international organizations. Core countries or regions (such as EU) have traditionally been leading actors at IOs, so it is probably not a coincidence that the bilateral relations to these countries are being mixed with IOs. Other indications of the increasing importance of IOs could be the number of Brazilian diplomats working at them. However, it is important to observe that this is not new. In fact, the figure for IO representation is roughly the same as twenty years ago.31 It seems as if most of the increase of staff working with these organizations has been made within Brazil. The number of Brazilian diplomats working with IOs is probably much larger than the amount of people working in units abroad.

4. Dealing with Global Economic Organizations

The unit dealing with international economic issues has always had an important position. Brazil was (from very early on) active at the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), a strong force behind the creation of UN’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In the 1970s, Brazil shifted its attention from UNCTAD towards GATT, since that was the place where general rules for industrial products where defined. It should be remembered that already by the end of the 1970s more than fifty percent of Brazilian exports were manufactured products32. Still, by the early 1980s, Brazilian bargaining power was reduced. It was problematic that decisions concerning international economic policies became more complex, but the main issue was related to the debt related problems of the 1980s. This contributed to what Marcelo de Paiva Abreu described as a ‘rather defensive’ position, both at GATT and at the start of the WTO negotiations33. In 1995, the GATT was transformed to the WTO, as the central institution governing the multilateral trading system and trade-related global governance issues. While the GATT was established by twenty-three states, its successor now has more than 148 members, which attests to its importance as a global institution. With the WTO, a negotiation process restricted to certain countries became unacceptable for the majority and new forms of negotiations demanding increased transparency were implemented34.

For Brazilian authorities, according to Celso Amorim35, the year 1995 marked the start of a phase of ‘dissonances’. One such dissonance stemmed from the overload of requirements from the WTO.36 Its demands for transparency resulted in an intense amount of notifications about governmental activity related to the trade area, which had not been requested by the GATT. Besides this constant monitoring, the working of the WTO also demanded a periodical reporting of member countries’ foreign trade. Brazilian diplomacy had to rapidly acknowledge the fact that the new kind of commercial negotiations went far beyond simple exchange and tariff concessions, producing a broad range of regulations with deep implications for the domestic field. To that, one has to add the additional overloading and complexities of dealing simultaneously with at the WTO, FTAA or EU-MERCOSUL negotiations. The Brazilian diplomacy, influenced by Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s worldview, became convinced that the maintenance of national ‘autonomy’ demanded proactive participation in the WTO. Yet, as Flecha de Lima pointed out, there was such a lack of expertise that he, as General Secretary, had to go against the organizational culture, hiring consultants from outside The House to handle the negotiations37.

To cope with the new challenges, Itamaraty created new thematic divisions were created to deal with the access to markets, intellectual property or trade controversies at the WTO38 (see chart 3) and a group of twenty new diplomats were sent to the Brazilian Mission to the European Communities and to the Brazilian Delegation in Geneva for an intensive training regarding commercial negotiations. Upon their return to Brazil, most of them were incorporated into the Economic Department. Itamaraty did also stimulate a more frequent presence of scholars and consultants of different areas, and placed more importance on coordination entities including the followings: National coordination of issues related to the FTAA (SENALCA); the National section for coordination on issues related to EU/MERCOSUL negotiations (SENEUROPA); and the Inter-ministerial group for international trade (GICI). These entities were seen as tools through which the government could stay in touch with the opinions from the Brazilian civil society. Compared with the organizational structure of the late 1980s, we can see that the SGET in the 1990s longer has substantial parts of the SGET’s Department of Commercial Promotion. Although this area has not disappeared from Itamaraty, much of it was moved over to the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, created in 1999.

Another unit that is no longer part of the SGET was the Economic Division for Latin America, which means that there has been a division of labor where the economic Sub-secretary has become fundamentally focused on international (global) organizations. That was part of a two-fold process of concentration and diversification that has been accentuated since the 1990s, at the SGET as in other units. The ‘concentration’ was a result of the enormous demand stemming (principally) from WTO39. That impact pushed Itamaraty to realize that “it was impossible to attend the universe of WTO-related issues without a further restructuring of the economic unit“. By the end of the 1990s, there was only one unit at the Department dealing with WTO (the Division of Commercial Policy), which only had around four diplomats. Most of the negotiation work was done at the Mission in Geneva. In 2001, that Division was split into five units. What was a unit with little staff was turned into a Department with around thirty diplomats. Hence, at the same time that a Secretary was concentrated on WTO-work, there was an internal ‘diversification’ to create new and more specialized units. By 2006, the Economic Department had six Divisions.

Today, the number of people involved in the current commercial rounds of the WTO is much larger than ever before. It’s also important to note that the main growth in staff is at units in Brasilia, where there are around thirty people working primarily with WTO issues. Adding to this the around twenty staff at the Mission in Geneva, we are then speaking about approximately fifty diplomats that, in one way or another, worked towards the WTO. Another observation regarding the SGET is that while Brazil, in the past, prioritized its activity at different Third World constellations such as UNCTAD, in the 1990s the ‘offensive’ line came to embrace organizations that had traditionally been a domain of core countries, such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In the 1990s, Brazil became a full member of the OECD’s Development Center: in the working group on corruption, in the Emerging Market Economic Forums, and in the OECD’s Agricultural Committee. The participation here shows how Itamaraty tried to influence all levels possible, something that not only required more diplomats, but also skillful people that could be used to set the agenda in a new myriad of international working groups40.

5. Going Regional

The signing of the founding Asuncion Treaty in 1991 led to the establishment, in 1994, of a political structure and a Common External Tariff. Thus, by 1995 a long endeavor of dreams and aspirations for Southern Cone integration (meaning fundamentally Brazil and Argentina) had reached its highest historical peak through the establishment of an (incomplete) Customs Union, the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUL). By the mid-1990s, the trade and interaction between Brazil and Argentina reached a degree of interdependency that made it increasingly difficult to turn back from the regionalization process41. MERCOSUL became an element of equilibrium through the realization of internal efforts for economic growth and democratic consolidation, as well as an insertion of its members as competitors in the global economy42.

For Brazilian authorities, regionalization was not detached from the overall globalization process. As Rubens Antonio Barbosa explained, “Brazil sees regionalism as a kind of globalization in miniature, which reproduces, in a limited space, certain characteristics of globalization such as the multinationalization of productive processes, the intertwining of economies and convergence of values and cultural patterns”43. In his opinion, the advantage with regionalization in relation to globalization would be that it allows for more effective political control. Moreover, the region was also the most dynamic market for export of Brazilian industrial products and was seen as strategic for processes of economic adjustment and technological modernization44. The strategic importance of MERCOSUL was linked to the fact that it was the tool through which Brazilian entrepreneurs first felt the impact of commercial liberalization. In that sense, it had a kind of pedagogic effect in anticipating the deepening of global liberalization processes, without the risks of a deeper liberalization with, for example, massive Asian imports45.

A closer overview of the organizational chart clearly shows the footprint of regionalization at Itamaraty. Comparing the different organizational charts, we can see how the Divisions dealing with South America (formerly within the Department of the Americas) have become a Sub-secretary concentrated on South America (the SGAS), where even Central America is included. One can also see how the unit dealing with South America was upgraded from Department to Sub-secretary (see chart 4). In 1988, on the other hand, the units dealing with Latin American issues were at the same level (as Departments) as those working towards other regions (Asia, Africa or Middle East). That situation changed in January 2003, when the SGAS was created. As Eugenia Barthelmess46 states, before January 2003 the activity rested in three separate areas: the political/bilateral, the political/multilateral, and the economic/multilateral. But the practical consequences of MERCOSUL implied that it was not longer possible that one person (a General Sub-secretary) could command bilateral negotiations, and another in charge of the economic negotiations of MERCOSUL or the Andeans countries. As she pointed out, “one could not longer say, here does MERCOSUL end, and here starts our bilateral relations with Argentina”.

The new character of this Sub-secretary was innovative since, for the first time, a Sub-secretary combined the three dimensions mentioned above: the political/bilateral, the political/multilateral, and the economic/multilateral. According to Barthelmess, the reason for mixing political and economic areas was that it was more practical that a single person, the Sub-secretary, could have a complete vision. That is, to join the traditionally separated political, economic, bilateral and multilateral perspectives in one single geographical field. As far as she could see, the result was positive since it allowed the Brazilian chief diplomat to see the whole picture, while his foreign counterparts were generally committed to only one dimension and had to consult other colleagues to understand what was happening. However, one has to be careful to attribute all these changes to MERCOSUL. The political will from each government or influential diplomats is also a reason for the creation of different units, which might lose importance when other people are in command. Nonetheless, the increasing demand in time and resources from MERCOSUL is a trend that is generally recognized. Beyond whatever forms regionalization takes in the future (and there is much discussion around the future of MERCOSUL), the trend at Itamaraty since the 1990s is of increasing attention towards the South American region.

Let us delve a bit further into what happened at the SGAS. The traditional Divisions of Meridional America I (Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile), Meridional America II (Andean countries) and an old reliquary, the Division of Frontiers, still remained in year 2006. One novelty was the creation of the Department of Integration, with two units: the Division of Regional Integration and the Division of the Common Market of the South. Another new unit was the Department of International Negotiations, with two Divisions. According to Barthelmess, the main difference between these two Departments is that while the former was concentrated more exclusively on MERCOSUL’s internal issues, the latter worked with MERCOSUL’s negotiations (as a block), with extra-regional countries, or regions. This unit contained, for example, a Division of Free Trade Areas of the Americas, working with the FTAA, and a Division of European Union and Extra Regional Commercial Negotiations, dealing with EU/MERCOSUL negotiations. It is interesting to observe that, in this case, the word ‘international’ is applied to all extra-regional negotiations, implying, in a way, that the ‘regional’ dimension is becoming ‘national’. Moreover, it was important to note again the mixing of all these economic-oriented units at a Sub-secretary that also deals with bilateral relations. The former domain of the Economic Division for Latin American, that was part of the Economic Department, now belonged to the South American Sub-secretary.

A further change was that the Division of Central and Septentrional (‘of the North’) America was discontinued. In fact, there appears to be some uncertainty in relation to how to deal with the North American countries. It is a bit puzzling to see that the Department of North and Central America, and the Caribbean (with a Division of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean) is at the South American Sub-secretary (SGAS), while there is a Division of United States and Canada that lies directly under the Political Sub-secretary I (SGAP I). The relations with the US appear to be handled more directly by the Minister and not by a single unit (such as a Sub-secretary or a Department). It makes sense that it belongs to SGAP I because it is placed together with the EU and the Political IOs.

Another hemispheric unit in the SGAP I is the Division of the Organization of American States, that previously was part of the same structure as the other ‘Americas’ units. Since the 1980s, the label ‘Americas’ has disappeared from Itamaraty’s organizational structure. One cannot avoid here to see the long-term lines of change, where the emergence of other regional and global organizations has overshadowed the importance of hemispheric IOs. Today, the unit dealing specifically with the Organization of American States (OAS) is only a third-tier unit. Moreover, it almost looks like a political statement when the Division in charge of the hemispheric economic area (FTAA/ALCA) became directed from the South America Sub-secretary (SGAS). That is, it became an organizational unit with regional scope. Political statement or not, it is a good example of the porosity of levels that has been talked about. Things are becoming a bit confusing when traditionally bilateral relations are conducted from a ‘regional’ unit, or when the ‘national’ interaction with a ‘hemispheric’ unit was conducted from a ‘regional’ one.

However, nothing of what has been said should be perceived as if hemispheric issues are no longer relevant. Even though Brazil has given priority to its relations with Argentina/MERCOSUL and the South American region, it never ceases to be active at all possible levels. In the 1990s, the hemispheric level gained an unprecedented intensity and scope through the Summits of the Americas. Although the Summits were frequently associated with the intention to create a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), it also dealt with political and social issues, and many of the initiatives along that line have been Brazilian. After an initiative of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil, together with Canada, assumed the coordination of some of the main themes of the Summit, related to strengthening of democracy and human rights. The creation of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) at a hemispheric level, and the coordination by Itamaraty of national groups for implementation the Summit’s decisions, were aimed to secure the necessary flow between the IO, national government and civil society.47 All this required of course much more expertise and work force: a common pattern with all areas presented here.

Another interesting dimension that appeared in the 1990s is the intra-regional dimension. None of the Latin American regional organizations preceding MERCOSUL, in which Brazil was involved, reached the same level of international actorhood. That changed the way in which foreign relations were conducted, from ‘bilateral’ to increasingly ‘multilateral’ and ‘intra-regional’. Looking at the latter form, besides MERCOSUL, Latin America formed another important regional organization: the Andean Community (AC). In 1998, the AC signed a Framework Agreement for the creation of a Free Trade Area between the Andean Community and the MERCOSUL, which could be seen as the first intra-regional agreement in Latin America. Another relevant intra-regional relation was with the EU and its prior form in the European Community (EC). The emergence of MERCOSUL implied a new form of relation with the EC that was itself deepening its integration by turning into the EU in 1992. From the Brazilian/MERCOSUL perspective, the EU dialogue was of great significance since it gave international legitimacy to the ‘building block’ efforts48. Yet, gaining that legitimacy involved a large amount of administrative work. It is actually impressive that this expansion has been handled with a relatively small increase of staff. There was a slow increasing of staff, with around 500 diplomats between 1946 and 2005. But things are changing, through a recently approved (in 2006) staff enlargement of 400 diplomats over four years, which indicates a huge re-dimensioning of the organization. There are those who argue that this will be negative for the maintenance of the level of professionalism and skills that Itamaraty is known for.

To sum up, although the Brazilian governmental initiative around a deepening of MERCOSUL might, at some points in time, look stagnant or dubious, that is however not reflected in Itamaraty’s internal structure. In fact, by the late 1990s, Spanish became one of the three (formerly only English and French) obligatory languages for Brazilian diplomats. The SGAS is, by far, the geographical unit with most diplomats and it is larger in staff than SGET or SGAP II49. Not to mention the amount of diplomats at the regions’ embassies where those of the Southern Cone have improved their position50. It also interesting to see how so many strategic units, working with negotiations towards a plethora of countries and regions across the world, have now as their node the South American Sub-Secretary. It is actually from this unit that more and more international negotiations are, and this certainly indicates something about the importance that Itamaraty attributes to regionalism in its organizational structure.

6. Reaching Diasporas

The creation of the Sub-secretary for Co-operation and Brazilian Communities Abroad (SGEC) is another change that we associate with globalization. Traditionally, all issues related to the contact with citizens abroad were handled by the Juridical and Consular Department, which in the late 1980s was part of the Sub-secretary of Bilateral Issues. Even when the organization was transformed to a three-tier structure, the issue remained at a secondary level. Yet, today the more consular-oriented work related to Brazilian communities abroad have gained a first ranking position as a Sub-secretary. Back in the 1960s, as Antõnio F. Azeredo Silveira wrote, the “Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not lend service to the public, at least not directly, excepting some consular activities51. It can be said that its only finished product is foreign policy”. That modus operandi appears to be changing. At the turn of the century, one of the most important phenomena in Brazilian international relations was that of the increasing flow of Brazilians abroad. According to Sebastião do Rego Barros, when Brazilian activity during the last ten years was discussed, few pay attention to the effect of Brazilians abroad on the national diplomacy52.

To grasp this reality, in the mid-1990s, Itamaraty made a survey of the Brazilian Diaspora noting that there were around 1.5 million Brazilians living abroad. The largest concentration of people was found in Paraguay, USA and Japan. By 2004 it was estimated that more than 170,000 lived in the US, and around 280,000 in Japan. As Barros further explained, there was an additional three million people that traveled abroad each year, and approximately 4.5 million Brazilians were potential users of consular services. It is also important to point to family remittances that at that time were around US$ 4 billion, and by 2003 went to above 5.2 billion53. But Brazil was not alone, the increasing attention to Diasporas was part of a trend where many governments implemented a broad series of policies aimed at strengthening links between migrants and their countries of origin, as well as promoting their economic contributions through e.g. family remittances.

This area of Diaspora also has its own IO, the International Organization for Migrations (IOM), which supports learning among countries to deal with migrations. Brazil got closer to it in 2004 by becoming full member, after participating as an observer country since 1955. Taking into account the new migratory picture and its implications for national Development, Brazil formulated a new consular policy oriented to a more effective protection of citizens abroad. It was clearly defined that the assistance and protection of Brazilians abroad was a priority of the country’s foreign policy. Secondly, it intended to change Itamaraty’s administrative culture concerning citizens abroad. As Barros held, in the past, the service was given in a bureaucratic fashion, almost mechanically54. A modern service, he said, demanded new breed of officials with an increasingly professionalized service orientation, in which courtesy and efficiency can assist its citizens abroad. Thirdly, it was defined that there had to be a conceptual change regarding consular services. These “had to go where citizens are”, leaving aside the diplomacy’s former position of merely receiver of demands. A fourth element was linked to the diffusion of consular services where Itamaraty had to be more active in informing people, since citizenship also meant “to know your rights”. As Felipe Lampreia advocated, the consolidation for Brazilian communities abroad leads to a re-thinking in that these Brazilians should be granted the possibility to take part in national development, “wherever they are, and give them the option, freedom and opportunity, to be Brazilians here or there”55.

The strengthening of the activity of reaching Diasporas can be observed in the organizational structure, where a unit dealing with cooperation and Brazilian communities abroad gained a more relevant position becoming a Sub-secretary. In 2006, it was the Sub-secretary with the most diplomats and units (Divisions and Departments), and appears to be one of the most dynamic areas of change within Itamaraty. In particular, this dynamism is seen in what is referred to as the approximation of diplomatic and consular agendas56. This could be regarded as a process of linking Diasporas with National Development goals, something that demands a new way of seeing nationality and space. In this case, ‘Going global’ implies a state that is interested in active citizenship, even of those far away from the home country. Perhaps it is too soon to speak about Diasporas in relation to Brazilians, or even Latin Americans in general, but it is indeed a theme that deserves more study57. The term Diaspora is used here as a way of pointing out the new role that Brazilian communities are playing abroad. They are no longer a loose mass of emigrants, or people in exile, but increasingly are becoming communities that are gaining a new kind of organized links with their home countries. It is not surprising that this issue emerged with globalization. Although it is true that globalization and diasporization may be separate phenomena, “they go together extraordinarily well”58. Issues such as the ‘deterritorialization’ of social identities, the intensity of international migrations, as well as technical tools promoting an unprecedented speed of communications, are all part of this linkage.

It is interesting to observe how areas such as technical exchange, communities’ abroad, culture, and trade promotion are now under the SGEC (see chart 5). The new composition of this secretary intends to also cut across different areas of work, which had been traditionally separated. An example is the joining under the same structure Divisions that traditionally dealt with consular activities with those from the economic areas. Stemming from different areas, units such as the Juridical and Consular Department, Department of Commercial Promotion, and the Department of Culture, were linked together under a common scheme. This unit is undergoing change, and it is not yet known what composition it will have in the future. Sticking to our aim, what is important to note here is the tendency of mixing traditionally separated areas in order to attend to new global themes. In this case, the new role given to Brazilian communities abroad, which give arise to a new way of defining citizenship and national development.

7. Conclusion

The evidence drawn from this research points to an increased influence on Itamaraty from a multiplicity of actors at different regional and international levels: the UN system, International Governmental, and Non-governmental Organizations. We can also see here the effects of the ‘deterritorialization’ of the national space and the conception of citizenship, as well as of a more fluid porosity among levels and policy areas. It is however important to remark that all these elements were, more or less, already part of the process of change of Brazilian foreign policy organization during the post war period. Yet, it is clear that since the 1990s, globalization has shacked up the whole Itamaraty organization, demanding rapid changes in order to cope with new kinds of demands.

A first element to highlight is the new way of looking at the world where ‘South America’, a region, is now the common ground of a Sub-secretary from which Itamaraty deals with ‘national’ issues. What formerly were bilateral negotiations are now conducted through Itamaraty’s ‘regional’ (South American) Sub-secretary.

Secondly, the interaction with global IOs has reached unprecedented levels and was separated in two different fields: economic and political. Speaking about the ‘economic’, the emergence of WTO implied a challenge that required a new kind of attention. Together with MERCOSUL, the WTO was the entity that appeared to have had greatest impact on Itamaraty’s way of doing things. It was seen as pivotal both because its leverage in the international field and for its direct impact on Brazilian Development. However, it is important to note that WTO-related issues are still fundamentally handled from a national perspective, which shows the limitation that Latin American regionalism still has. In relation to the ‘political’, there is an expansion of activities associated with ‘global issues’ such as Human Rights or Environment.

Thirdly, we found an unprecedented positioning regarding Brazilian communities abroad. The view of Diasporas as an asset for national Development and linking them to other levels of activity (economic, political) has meant a restructuring of diplomatic and consular activities. It also led to an acknowledgment of the need to create a change of mentality to meet the needs of a global policy. These demands set off different levels of understanding, distinct modalities of discourse, and an endless amount of forms of acting59.

Lastly, there is a new kind of crosscutting among areas, both in relation to formerly separated issues, as well as in the intertwining of bilateral and multilateral relations. The South American Sub-secretary is, perhaps the clearest example of this, something that shows the influence of the ‘new regionalism’ in the organizational structure.

This study shows that the changes since the 1990s created new kinds of difficulties and challenges, but these problems were also regarded as possibilities. Instead of criticizing the decision-making (or opinion creating) arenas from outside, Itamaraty sought to restructure its organization in order to influence as much as possible from inside. It is outside the cope of this study to assess to what extent Brazil has in fact increased its influence globally. But it is possible to state that Itamaraty’s organizational structure has continued its process of change since the 1950s, with the aim to influence as much as possible, wherever possible. However, regarding the patterns of change produced by globalization, in the near future, Brazilian diplomats will probably have to live up to their own organizational slogan: “the best tradition at Itamaraty is to now how to change itself”60.

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