The chairman of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, on Friday 12 sent a letter to President Jair Bolsonaro asking that the President and Chancellor Ernesto Araújo “condemn” and “categorically reject” the attacks. of ex-President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, declaring that if not, there will be “damage to the bilateral relationship.”
The letter, obtained by Folha, was delivered this Friday (12) to the Brazilian Embassy and criticizes Bolsonaro and the Chancellor’s comments on the alleged fraud in the US elections, saying that it demonstrates “his government’s support for the theories of the plot that attacked the Capitol and threatened to “undermine the partnership between the United States and Brazil”.
The letter was sent the day after Ernesto and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made their first telephone conversation since President Joe Biden took office. The conversation had a calming tone, and Blinken invited President Bolsonaro to attend the climate change summit Biden is expected to host on April 22.
Menendez’s letter, however, once again raises the temperature between the two governments. The senator is a highly respected moderate in Washington and, as the head of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, has a major influence on American foreign policy. He specifically criticizes Ernesto Araújo.
“These events were acts of internal terrorism which resulted in several deaths and were not, as Minister Araújo said, acts of” good citizens “,” the senator said in the letter. “Minister Araújo essentially prioritizes the relationship between the Brazilian government and a radical faction on the American political spectrum.”
He also says that the fact that Ernesto defends these acts of domestic terrorism “shows how out of touch he is with the current reality in the United States”.
According to US congressional advisers, the purpose of the letter is to show that if Bolsonaro is serious about having a good relationship with Democrats, he needs to respond to the statements, because lawmakers won’t forget them so easily.
In the midst of the second impeachment trial for Trump, accused of inflating extremists in the attack on Capitol Hill, this would be the perfect time for a statement by Bolsonaro saying the election was legitimate and rejecting the attacks, advisers say.
According to Menendez, unless the Brazilian government makes a “categorical rejection of the January 6 attacks”, it will help maintain the rhetoric of the extremists and “harm the bilateral relationship”.
The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee also points out in his letter that Bolsonaro congratulated Biden “belatedly” on his victory and says that Bolsonaro and Ernesto’s statements on the elections could represent “a setback in the Brazil-US partnership” .
“These comments are not worthy of an ally” and “are a strategic error which could have implications for our diplomatic relations in the future,” Menendez said.