Brazil's Foreign Minister Jose Serra, known for inviting Chevron back into the country, resigned from his post Wednesday, citing health reasons.
Serra said in a letter to President Michel Temer that he leaves "with sadness, but aware of my health problems that prevent me from keeping up with the pace of international travel required by my role as foreign minister."
"To me, it was a source of pride to be part of his team,” wrote Serra. “I will honor my mandate as a senator in Congress, working to approve projects that seek the recovery of Brazil's economy, social development and democratic consolidation."
He gave no details on his health but said doctors told him recovery would take four months.
The Brazilian top diplomat received US$7.2 million in Swiss bank accounts in the mass corruption scandal with state-owned Petrobras known as “Operation Car Wash,” according to Odebrecht, also investigated for bribery.
The money received by Serra was used to finance his presidential campaign in 2010, when he lost to Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached last year in what many considered a parliamentary coup.
Serra was seen as a U.S. State Department darling when he ran for president, described in cables as having “little patience for — and little in common with — the antics of the ‘resource caudillos’ (Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez) that now lead South America's anti-Washington Left." To add to this, Serra was seen in Washington as having the best shot against President Dilma Rousseff who “might well function as a positive interlocutor for the United States,” if his qualities are “managed carefully.”
He came to political prominence as health minister during Fernando Henrique Cardoso's presidency from 1994 to 2002, when he defied the international pharmaceuticals industry and allowed generic copies of brand-name drugs to be made in Brazil without the permission of the company that owns the patent.