Brazil is internationally recognized for having made some of the greatest diplomats in Latin America. usually,diplomats of the Foreign Ministry come from the Rio Branco Institute (Diplomat's Academy). There, they spent a few years studying, at the highest level, diplomacy and foreign relations.

The freshmen always squandered deep knowledge of geopolitics, culture and history, being fluent not only in Portuguese, but in three other languages, commonly: Spanish, English and French. To join the course of diplomacy (the most sought public program in Brazil), candidates must pass a series of hard tests to ingress the diplomatic career.


This contest requires maximum knowledge of International Law, Literature, Geography, History, Economy, Foreign Policy and International Relations from each of the candidates and is considered one of the toughest in Brazil. Many great diplomats have come out of Brazil and among the greatest, the most iconic one is definitely Osvaldo Aranha.


President Roosevelt compliments Osvaldo Aranha during a commercial agreement.
Photo Credit: Mundo Vestibular 

Aranha gained national visibility during the government of Getulio Vargas (1930-1945) after being Minister of Justice and Minister of Finance. Later on Aranha accepted the Brazilian Ambassador function in Washington and became a personal friend of President Roosevelt, gaining the American’s respect while importing the US democratic model.


However, it was during the New State “Estado Novo” in 1937 that Aranha began his friction with Getúlio Vargas' policies for disagreeing with the diplomatic estrangement with the United States and the closer relationship Brazil started to have with Germany's Nazi regime.


It was during this troubled period of World War II, and in episodes such as the return of Olga Benário Prestes to German concentration camps – I will write about it soon – that led Aranha to achieve real reform in the Foreign Ministry, separating it from the domestic policy Vargas had implemented. That brought huge independence in the international arena for Aranha and his successors.


Aranha was internationally recognized after articulating Latin America, wing Pan-Americanist, against militaristic dictatorships like the one promoted in Brazil by Eurico Gaspar Dutrain. He also stood against the South American approximation to the Axis countries. But it was for another reason that Aranha is currently recognized as the biggest Brazilian diplomat of all time.


Aranha had an important role in the creation of the State of Israel. He chaired the 1947’s UN General Assembly and declared the historic resolution on the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. It was on his voice that the world welcomed the new born Jewish state. Because of this gigantic diplomatic attitude that Aranha, to date, is remembered by Jews around the world, receiving honors in international ceremonies and providing his name to the squares and streets in Israel.


I intend to write in the Jerusalem Post a series of articles about Osvaldo Aranha key role in the 1947’s UN general assembly, as well as, an amazing story that possibly links Aranha to Jewish ancestors.


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