The first actions of the Joe Biden government in relation to the protection of the Amazon will be treated with dialogue and should not result in sanctions against Brazil.
Despite pressure from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and activists calling for punitive measures against the administration of Jair Bolsonaro, the order to the White House is to bet on a plan of collaboration for the preservation of the forest, before applying any sanction to the country.
Biden’s orientation is that the US Treasury, in collaboration with the State Department and international development and cooperation agencies – in English, USAID and DFC – develop an agenda for the protection of the Amazon, in partnership with the Brazilian government and other interested countries.
Biden associates acknowledge that Bolsonaro is deviating from the Democrat in many areas, mostly environmental and human rights, but they believe the history of bilateral relations in other areas, such as the defense and trade, may pave the way for eventual understanding.
“In bilateral relations between Brazil and the United States, diplomacy will be at the forefront of any issue, including that of the climate,” said Kristina Rosales, spokeswoman for the US State Department.
“There will be an opportunity to interact with President Bolsonaro and his team to address this global challenge and, thus, include the concept of dialogue to resolve issues. This issue is not just in Brazil or the United States, this is something the Biden government will treat as global cooperation It will be a team effort.
During the negotiations, Biden’s team intends to signal the US government’s concerns about Brazil’s bottlenecks and does not rule out more assertive action in the future. However, none of this will happen until there are talks at various diplomatic levels, with the goal of shaping a plan without major wear and tear.
“The goal is to approach this issue diplomatically. As President Biden said last week, this government’s foreign policy is based on conversations. This means that no action will be taken without conversation, because it is not diplomacy, it is being aggressive., and this government will not treat this question or any other in this way ”, adds Rosales.
The position is not entirely to the liking of activists or the progressive wing of Democrats, who have called for more forceful attitudes against the Brazilian government since the administration of Donald Trump.
Democratic Congressman Don Beyer (Virginia), for example, is one of those who say Biden must do “everything in his power” to make sure trading partners deal with the climate crisis.
Beyer told Folha that Bolsonaro must “overcome his obvious disappointment with the outcome of our November election and adopt a stance towards the United States that reflects the new realities in Washington”.
A member of the US House Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee and one of the leading voices on climate in the House, Beyer signed a letter last year with other Democratic MPs who spoke out against to the conclusion of a broader trade agreement between Brazil and the United States.
“We must promote a relationship with Brazil that advances civil, human, environmental and labor rights. Any economic partnership must demonstrate our priorities in these areas – in which the Bolsonaro government has been far from compromised so far. As a result, we have constantly opposed new agreements with Brazil “, added the deputy.
Last week, several international NGOs and academics from US universities sent a document to the White House asking Biden to stop trade talks with Brazil and to withdraw US support for Brazil’s entry into the OECD if Bolsonaro does not respect environmental and human rights commitments.
On Monday (8), White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US government is looking into what is happening in Brazil, but called the bilateral relationship vibrant, with 200 years of “shared values” , and stressed that the United States would strengthen economic ties with the country.
Biden and Bolsonaro have yet to speak by phone, and there is no date for that to happen. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to meet with Brazilian Chancellor Ernesto Araújo in the coming weeks to discuss priorities for the relationship between the countries.
Biden has appointed John Kerry, former secretary of state in the Obama administration, as his special representative for climate issues, placing the issue at the center of his domestic and foreign policy.
Called the Climate Czar, Kerry has a diplomatic profile and his allies say he no longer intends to clash with the outgoing Brazilian government.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be a charge. One idea is that there is a fund to fund in exchange for the commitment to conservation goals in the Amazon.
In an election debate last year, Biden previously spoke about creating a $ 20 billion fund to tackle forest deforestation, and cited the consequences for Brazil if the Brazilian government did not act. against the destruction of the region. At the time, Bolsonaro reacted and said he did not accept bribes.
After the Democrat took office, diplomats and the Plateau military wing entered the field in an attempt to lower the temperature and open up avenues for dialogue with the Biden government.
The Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, Nestor Forster, affirms that there is no new diplomacy in the face of the priorities of the new American government and that it is necessary “to continue the work which was already underway, with a dialogue in white House and Congress, in addition to the private sector and society “.