The White House announced on Saturday (10) the first trip to South America of Juan Gonzalez, senior director for the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council, a post which in practice is responsible for Latin American affairs. The itinerary does not include Brazil.
Accompanied by the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Julie Chang, Gonzalez will pass, between April 11 and 15, through Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay, where he will meet with local authorities.
In Bogotá, according to the White House, Joe Biden’s government envoy will address economic recovery, development and security in rural areas, the migration crisis in Venezuela and Colombia’s climate leadership in the region.
In Buenos Aires and Montevideo, the discussion will focus on regional priorities, including the challenges of the climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic and threats to democracy, human rights and security in the region and around the world.
Brazil was excluded from the scenario, although it has most of the Amazon rainforest on its territory, which recorded a record deforestation in March.
The country is also facing a serious coronavirus crisis, with daily death and case records. The month of March was the deadliest and recorded 66,868 deaths from Covid-19, more than double the 2nd month with the most deaths, July 2020 (32,912 deaths).
Brazil has also registered new variants and has failed to launch a national vaccination, with issues ranging from the government’s refusal to purchase millions of doses of Pfizer / BioNTech to lack of inputs for vaccine production to the Butantan Institute and in Fiocruz.
Gonzalez criticizes the environmental agenda of the Jair Bolsonaro government (without a party), and the candidate’s previous statements show that the issue may lead to conflict in relations between the United States and Brazil.
In an interview with the Washington Post in October last year, he said that “in any relationship Biden has with leaders around the world, climate change will be at the top of this agenda, including Brazil.”
“Anyone who thinks they can have an ambitious relationship with the United States while ignoring important issues like climate change, democracy and human rights clearly did not hear Joe Biden during the campaign,” he said. he declares.
Born in Colombia and raised in New York City, Gonzalez was previously director of the National Security Council for Latin America issues between 2011 and 2013, under the government of Barack Obama, of which Biden was deputy.
In an article published in the Americas Quarterly magazine in July 2020, Gonzalez said that “the Brazil-U.S. Relationship has enormous potential under the Biden government,” but questioned whether “Brazil’s current leadership is ready to go. meet the monumental challenges of our time ”.