Trump critic named Brazil's foreign minister

BRASILIA:   Aloysio Nunes, a pro-business senator and blunt critic of US President Donald Trump, was named Brazilian foreign minister on Thursday.

President Michel Temer picked Nunes, of the center-right PSDB party, to succeed José Serra who resigned last week citing health reasons.

A leftist guerrilla when a student who fought against Brazil's military dictatorship in the late 1960s, Nunes is today a strong advocate of free trade and private initiative.

He promoted closer ties to the United States as chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, but his initial response to the election of Trump last year was very negative.

"Trump is the Republican Party on a drunken binge. He represents the worst of his party, the most uncontrolled and inflamed side," Nunes tweeted the day after the November 8 vote.

Nunes (71) is expected to follow Serra's lead in moving away from a foreign policy of alignment with left-wing governments in Latin America followed by the Workers Party that was ousted from power with the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff last year.

"At this moment, in which Brazil is beginning to emerge from a deep crisis, foreign policy can make a big contribution in the economy, in foreign trade, in attracting investments to create more jobs," he said in a video on his Facebook page.

Nunes said he will work to revive the four-nation Mercosul trade bloc of South America by drawing it closer to the Pacific Alliance countries and concluding a trade deal with the European Union.