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A New Outlook

The nails dotting the barren walls giveaway that someone has just moved out, and the new tenant has yet to unpack his bags. Ernesto Otto Rubarth, the new Brazilian Consul General in Vancouver arrived from the Swiss capital in September and is starting to get acquainted with the city. Rubarth’s diplomatic career has taken him to countries in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe before arriving in Canada.
He holds a Bachelor of Law and Philosophy from the Rio Grande Federal University (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande, in Portuguese) and a Masters from the Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-RJ). The new Consul General sat down with Brazilian Vibe after a long day of work for a chat.
Brazilian Vibe – Is this your first time in Vancouver?
Ernesto Otto Rubarth – I’ve been to Vancouver once before during a personal trip in 2000 and had a very good impression of the city. It seems like this is a very dynamic and pleasant place to be, but I came during the summer season, so it was sunny. I am very happy with the opportunity to be here.
BV – In which cities have you worked as a representative of Brazil?
EOR – I have worked in Prague, Stockholm, Los Angeles, Montevideo, Pretoria, Seoul, in addition to periods working in Brasi­lia and as secretary of international relations for the state of Rio de Janeiro. Most recently I was working in Geneva, and now I am here.
BV – What are the similarities and differences between the Brazilian community here and in Geneva?
EOR – Here the community is comprised mostly of professionals and highly educated individuals who immigrated to Canada through a directed process. There basically aren’t any illegal or undocumented Brazilian immigrants here. In Switzerland it’s mostly people with not a lot of education and who immigrate looking for a better financial standing. It’s a contrast.
BV – What is your daily routine like?
EOR – Usually I try to keep up with the day’s news, and then I read the information on the wires from Brasi­lia to learn about instructions, news and official positioning on different affairs. After that I go around the office to check on the service that is being provided to the public. I also pay visits to my colleagues and local authorities to discuss different topics and get to know their agendas better.
BV – What was the most difficult decision that you had to make in your career?
EOR – There were many, it’s hard to choose one, but there were several interesting events. I helped organize the first summit of South American and Arab countries. It was a very innovative experience to promote dialogue between two regions that did not know too much about each other, despite the massive presence of Arabs in Brazil. In Prague, reporters from a Brazilian magazine got in trouble when they tried to interview a dissident movement near the border with then Czechoslovakia. They thought it was going to be easy, but it wasn’t.
BV – What will change in the Canada/Brazil relationship after the recent revelations in the media that Canada was spying on Brazil?
EOR – I think there is going to be an impact in the immediate relations, it’s an irritating factor, and we are appalled. We were not expecting that something like this could happen. Both countries have a strategic partnership; investments are growing on both sides. I think there won’t be a more serious repercussion in the long run since our relations are stronger than this [episode].
General Consulate of Brazil in Vancouver:A http://vancouver.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us/

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