The statements by President Jair Bolsonaro and Chancellor Ernesto Araújo about the invasion of the US Congress are expected to bring further obstacles to the Brazilian government’s relationship with Joe Biden.
In the assessment of the interlocutors of the two countries heard by Folha, the speeches of the Brazilians must, first of all, reinforce the image that the Democrats have of Bolsonaro: a radical far right, unpredictable, loyal to Donald Trump and able to take decisions contrary to these. the interests of his own country.
In the long run, the position on a theme that sparked an institutional crisis in the United States has the potential to undermine both the dialogue between the two governments and the strategic partnerships, especially if Bolsonaro insists on upsetting Biden and continues to present himself. like the ‘Trump of the tropics’ ”.
After the scenes of violence in Washington last Wednesday (6), when a crowd swollen by Trump invaded the Capitol and suspended the session to certify the Democrat’s victory, Bolsonaro declared that he was “linked to Trump” and that ‘there had been “a lot of denunciation of fraud” in the American elections. He also said that “we will have a worse problem than the United States” if Brazil does not institute the printed vote for 2022.
Ernesto, for his part, posted messages on Twitter in which he condemned the act, but said that it was necessary to “recognize that a large part of the American people feel assaulted and betrayed by their political class and are wary of the electoral process “. The chancellor also called the vandals “good citizens” and suggested “investigating the involvement of undercover elements” in the episode.
On Friday (8), Steven D’Antuono, deputy director of the FBI, told a press conference that he had no evidence that anti-fascists were among the troublemakers who invaded Congress.
Former US Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon says the Bolsonaro and Ernesto protests are unfortunate and show that the two have personalized the relationship between Brazil and the US, “which is a mistake.”
“Plus, they don’t understand what’s going on. There was an attack promoted by the president [Trump] against the democratic institutionality of the United States. It was a failed coup attempt. Condemning violence alone is not enough. We need a condemnation of the attempt to undermine democratic institutionality, “he says.” The way the Brazilian government is trying to use events in the United States to anticipate what might happen in the election in Brazil. [em 2022] it is very disturbing.
Nick Zimmerman, former director of Brazilian and Southern Cone affairs at the White House National Security Council (2014-2016), called the president and minister’s comments surprising. For him, the Chancellor’s publication, in particular, shows support for acts of “domestic terrorism” in the USA.
“The statements make it clear that Bolsonaro and Ernesto are not interested in a partnership with the United States, but in a partnership with a radical faction of the Republican Party. These are not the acts of an ally.”
Zimmerman says that the continuation of pro-Trump rhetoric by Brazilian authorities will lead Brazil to a situation of greater isolation. “The positioning does not leave much room for cooperation. There is a strong bilateral agenda, but I don’t know how far it will be possible to move forward under these circumstances. Because in any diplomatic relationship, both sides must be engaged. “
Bolsonaro and Ernesto’s statements have also raised concerns among the Brazilian president’s aides, as they say the speeches cast more uncertainty on the future of the agenda between the countries.
A member of the Bolsonaro government said, on condition of anonymity, that the protest over a sensitive US issue is certainly not helping, but it will only be possible to know the true effect of the Brazilian position after the inauguration. by Biden on January 20. This interlocutor said he expected the Democratic government to understand that the statements were aimed at serving the most radical supporters of Bolsonaro.
In other words, although it was about the United States, the speech, according to the aide, focused on domestic politics.
Another aide points out that Bolsonaro and Ernesto have taken a risky stance and therefore any attempt to speak to Democrats will be more difficult, costly and time consuming.
At the Foreign Office, diplomats view with frustration the prospects for future relations between the Biden and Bolsonaro governments. Some say Brazil is wasting opportunities that would open up under the Democratic government, regardless of ideological differences.
That’s because Biden comes to the White House as one of the US Presidents who, at the start of his term, knew Latin America best – and Brazil in particular. When he was Vice President of Barack Obama, he was chosen as the interlocutor responsible for bringing Brazil back from the United States after revelations that a US intelligence agency had spied on former President Dilma Rousseff.
The new American leader has also served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meaning he is passionate about foreign policy issues. Brazil, however, comes on the eve of the Democrat’s inauguration in a precarious situation in several respects, including the lack of high-level contacts.
Biden has received calls and congratulatory messages from several Latin American presidents, such as Alberto Fernández (Argentina), Sebastián Piñera (Chile) and Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico).
It’s hard to think of a time when Brazil’s image was more eroded among members of the Democratic Party. In October, Juan Gonzalez, recently appointed by Biden to the post of director for the Western Hemisphere of the National Security Council – a post that in practice deals with issues related to Latin America – posted a post on Brazil on social networks.
“Anyone, in Brazil or elsewhere, thinks that it is possible to move forward in an ambitious relationship with the United States while ignoring important issues such as climate change, democracy and human rights, don’t clearly not listening to what Joe Biden said in the campaign, “he wrote. .
During the first presidential debate with Trump, the Democrat said that “the rainforest in Brazil is being destroyed.” He said he could impose sanctions on Brazil and raise up to $ 20 billion to help protect the Amazon. At the time, Bolsonaro called the speech regrettable.
More recently, the new chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Gregory Meeks, made another demonstration of the Brazilian president’s popularity among Democrats. He promised to put pressure on “the Bolsonaros of the world”.