Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions adopted in different regions of Brazil, Itamaraty rescheduled the competition for admission to the career of diplomat for Sunday (13). Before, the test was scheduled to be applied on May 30th.
The postponement, the second of this cycle, was announced on May 28 and was justified by decrees that restricted a series of activities, such as the operation of universities, and even the prohibition of the exam in the states of Pernambuco, Alagoas and Maranhão and in the city of Curitiba.
The change of date caused confusion among candidates, since, as some places maintained the restrictions, applicants from five capitals will have to move to another city to carry out the competition. The change was disclosed in the Official Gazette of the Union on Tuesday (8), five days from the date of the race.
Candidates who will be impacted by the change are those who signed up to take the exam in Curitiba, Teresina, Maceió, Recife and João Pessoa. Now, according to the notice, they should move to Pinhais (PR), São Luís, Aracaju and, in the case of the last two, Natal.
The last minute notice generated complaints due to the tight deadline for organizing travel and accommodation. Consultations on airfare websites on Tuesday showed round-trip tickets with prices ranging from R$2,300 on the stretch between Recife and Natal to R$4,000 between São Luís and Teresina.
Traveling by land also means long journeys on the road — there are about 200 km between João Pessoa and Natal and 450 km between São Luís and Teresina. Only the change from Curitiba was to a city actually close, since Pinhais (PR) is in the metropolitan region of the capital of Paraná.
This change, however, is not certain. The notice itself provides for an alternative city, in case it is impossible to take the exam in the place indicated as the second option — which, in theory, is valid for Sunday.
As reported to leaf, those enrolled in Curitiba received an address in São José dos Pinhais (PR) as the venue for the race, and not in Pinhais (PR), both in the metropolitan region. On Thursday, the city was changed to São José dos Pinhais in a statement with the application addresses disclosed by the American Development Institute (IADES), responsible for the examination.
According to the notice, “in the event of an act of God or force majeure”, the test can be taken in these alternative cities, and candidates will be notified by email or text message on their cell phone. The text, however, does not say how far in advance this can happen.
In four of the five cities affected by the move, the contest would revert to the entrant’s original city. The exception is Curitiba, which, in case the test cannot be applied in Pinhais (PR), candidates must travel to Florianópolis.
The main complaint, as reported by a candidate on condition of anonymity, is the difficulty of organizing in the midst of so much uncertainty, precisely in the last week before the test, which hinders studies. The participant also criticizes what he classified as the ministry’s ineptitude, since the STF (Supreme Federal Court) authorized the holding of competitions on May 21, and the governor of Pernambuco, Paulo Câmara (PSB), allowed the holding of a test of the OAB on Sunday, after meeting with the entity.
A manifestation at the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) was made by another participant, who also declined to be identified. Through its assistance, the MPF said it would not comment on the postponement of the test, but requested this Wednesday (9) a position of the Rio Branco Institute within 24 hours.
The chances of the competition being suspended for creating unequal conditions among the candidates, however, are few, according to Ricardo Macau, a professor of constitutional and international law in a preparatory course for the Itamaraty test.
“Although there is an argumentative line regarding the possibility of loss, because there are candidates in Brazil who will take the test without spending too much, I find it very difficult for the Judiciary to accept the argument that, due to a violation of isonomy, the competition would have to be canceled nationally”, he assesses.
According to Macau, the court may claim that there is the option of not taking the test this year and that, by enrolling, the candidate assumed the risk and the investments. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that has to be considered, because it’s part of the principle of reasonableness [adoção de padrões esperados]”, explains the teacher. “This contest traditionally has every year, it didn’t last year due to the pandemic.”
There is no hierarchy between equality and reasonableness, says Macau, and “if the biggest gain is to take the competition and allow positions to be filled, even if some candidates do not take the exam, it seems that equality loses space and reasonableness will prevail” .
When Itamaraty rescheduled the contest earlier this year, the teacher had told the leaf that the career of diplomat has a shortage of professionals. “Today, the staff has only been replacement, there are no new vacancies. The competitions are for vacancies open due to retirement, death or even dismissal”, he explained at the time. “The universe of international relations increasingly demands more resources, strategy and diplomats, and in recent years we have only been concerned about filling the vacancies that already exist.”
The shortage of employees is one of the arguments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a note sent to leaf, for the competition, stating that the non-application of the test would harm the public interest and institutional needs of the Ministry. In the text, Itamaraty also mentions other competitions, such as the Federal Highway Police and the Federal Police, held recently, and the OAB exam, scheduled for Sunday. “It is, moreover, a measure that aims to respect the legitimate aspirations of candidates who have been waiting for almost a year to take the tests.”
The folder also defends that the changes are foreseen in the notices and that they were made within the foreseen deadlines. According to the ministry, there is no record of formal complaints or requests for change addressed to Instituto Rio Branco. About the cities absorbing candidates, Itamaraty stated that “all sanitary protocols will be maintained” already published by Iades and that the “test places and alternative places are suitable for the competition, with due security for the participants”.
This is the second time the contest has been rescheduled. In June of last year, when Brazil was experiencing its first pandemic peak, Itamaraty scheduled the race for August. After action by the MPF, however, the examination was suspended. In February of this year, when Brazil was entering the worst moment of the health crisis, a new date was announced, for April 11th — this one postponed again to May 30th.
This Wednesday, Brazil registered 84,854 new cases and 2,484 new deaths by Covid-19 — the highest number since May 20th. The moving average of deaths was 1,727 deaths per day – the number is 138 days above a thousand daily deaths, considered a very high level. In terms of vaccination, 51,846,929 people received at least one dose in the country —23,418,325 of them have also received the second.