For 30 years, Brazil has opted for “narcosocialism”, but now, under the government of Jair Bolsonaro, the country is finally on the road to liberal democracy with a market economy and has once again become a strategic partner of the United States. .
This was the message of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo, during a virtual event this Friday (5) of the American think tank Council of the Americas.
“Bolsonaro has a project to transform Brazil into a modern market economy, encourage privatization and end patronage and corruption, and we want the United States to be our key partner in this,” he said. declared.
In nearly 45 minutes of speech in English, the minister also underlined the need for a defense and security partnership with the United States. “We want to work with the great democracies of the hemisphere, like the United States and Canada, to free Latin America from narcosocialism. To prevent totalitarian projects from developing in the region, we must fight organized crime. “
According to the Chancellor, a criminal network keeps dictator Nicolás Maduro in power and Brazil is investigating the Venezuelan leader’s links with organized crime. “Unfortunately, terrorism and crime are alive and growing in the region, threatening democracy not only in Venezuela, but in all countries.”
He summed up the current threat to Latin America as “a criminal political system against law and order, open economies and true democracy”. “Brazil was part of the problem, now we’re trying to be part of the solution, and the United States is a key player. “
Ernesto tried to dispel the unease between the Bolsonaro government and the Joe Biden administration. Bolsonaro was one of the last heads of state to recognize the Democrat’s victory in the 2020 election, embracing conspiracy theories that the election was rigged, and Ernesto himself even endorsed the Capitol invaders on the 6th. January, calling them “good citizens”.
According to the Chancellor, Biden and Bolsonaro exchanged several letters and created a framework of trust and shared values. “They even have the same initials, JB,” he joked.
“For us, nothing changed on January 20 [posse de Biden]. We share a worldview that we must work together against organized crime and threats to democracy in the region and around the world. In his government program, Biden had announced his intention to hold a summit on democracy, in order to bring together a front of countries opposed to China.
Ernesto dismissed criticism that Brazil had made concessions to the United States over the past two years without receiving anything in return, such as in cases of visa exemptions for Americans, the temporary suspension of tariffs on the ethanol, the surcharges on Brazilian steel and the decline in American support for Brazil’s entry into the OECD. “I think it’s quite the opposite, and I shouldn’t be saying that.”
The minister said Brazil was interested in a broad trade deal with the United States and the two countries were fully aligned with the WTO. “Brazil and the United States are working together to reform the WTO, especially on difficult issues like state-owned enterprises and industrial subsidies. And agricultural, of course.
The United States accuses the WTO of being lenient with China and of tolerating state-owned enterprises and industrial subsidies in that Asian country.
Ernesto also described US support for Brazil’s membership in the OECD, the so-called club of the rich, as essential to prevent the country from sliding to the other side.
“Joining the OECD is a way to strengthen the model of liberal democracy and market economy in Brazil. We know that if we leave gravity behind, we come back to statism and patronage. “
For an audience of mostly US-based investors and businessmen, Ernesto contrasted the Bolsonaro government with the previous 30 years, which included PT and PSDB governments, in addition to the short-lived government of Michel Temer (MDB), whom the chancellor called “transition”.
According to him, for three decades, Brazil wanted to stay away from the United States and align itself with developing countries. With this, Brazil “tried to destroy” the idea of a free trade agreement in the Americas and wanted to be part of “a type of South American bloc hostile, or at least very distant and cold towards the USA “on the basis of an ideological approach.
“At that time, around 2000, the presidents decided to rebuild the Iron Curtain in Latin America that had just disappeared in Eastern Europe,” he said. “Basically it was a joint venture between Lula and [Hugo] Chávez who kicked us out of the United States.
The Chancellor has been very aggressive towards Venezuela, saying that threats to democracy that have arisen there are generated in Brazil. “It is a system irrigated by corruption schemes with roots in Brazil which has helped to maintain certain political currents in power in several Latin American countries.”
It is this “narcosocialism,” a system that combines corruption, organized crime and socialism, that Ernesto says has guided governments for the past 30 years. “The plan was to make Latin America a safe place for corruption.”
He says that during this period there was an effort to replace traditional economic partners, such as the United States, the European Union and Japan, with other countries. “Domestically, this led to the deindustrialization of Brazil, as the US, EU and Japan were our partners in manufacturing and investing in high technology.”
Asked about criticism from Europeans and Americans of Bolsonaro’s environmental policy and deforestation in the Amazon, Ernesto followed the government’s line in saying it was disinformation. “We are open to showing any partner that there is a lot of misinformation about Brazilian environmental policy, agriculture and the link between deforestation and agriculture, which does not exist.”
The Biden government has chosen environmental policy and the fight against climate change as one of its priorities. Brazil will attend a climate summit called by Biden on April 22.
“For us, it is very important to see more funding from the richest countries, we want these countries to respect the financial commitments of various agreements,” he said. “In the Amazon, it is not enough to eliminate deforestation, it is necessary to invest to create jobs for the people who live there”.