The visit to Brazil of William J. Burns, head of the CIA, the US intelligence agency, focused on security issues in South America and also served the US government to strengthen the anti-China offensive with the main authorities of the Jair Bolsonaro administration. (no party).
The passage through Brasilia was shrouded in mystery. There was no notice from the delegation and the meeting agenda was kept confidential. Thursday afternoon (1st), he was received by Bolsonaro and by Ministers Augusto Heleno (Institutional Security) and Walter Braga Netto (Defense). The director general of the Abin (Brazilian intelligence agency), Alexandre Ramagem, also participated in the hearing at the Planalto Palace.
Another well-known engagement was a dinner at the residence of the American Ambassador to Brasilia, Todd Chapman, in the Lago Sul region. The Planalto Palace and the American Embassy did not provide any information on the subjects discussed by Burns with the Brazilian authorities.
Wanted, the CIA said it would not comment. Despite the secrecy, Bolsonaro told his supporters he had met the diplomat and referred to China and the regional crisis in Venezuela, among other countries.
“Brazil’s interest in [parte de] few countries is huge. Some countries depend on us, on what we produce here. And these countries think 50, 100 years in advance. And here, unfortunately, at most, we’re thinking a few weeks or days later, ”Bolsonaro said, referring to China.
“I won’t say he took care of it [Burns], but we are analyzing in South America how things are going. We can’t stand talking about Venezuela anymore, but look at Argentina. Where is Chile going? What happened in Bolivia? Evo Morales gang has returned. And more: the president who was there during the buffer mandate [Jeanine Añez] is in prison, accused of anti-democratic acts. Do you feel a similarity with Brazil? “, He added. Interlocutors consulted by Folha said that regional security was among the issues discussed, including the crisis in Venezuela.
Before landing in Brazil, Burns traveled to Bogotá, Colombia, which reinforced the emphasis on security in South America and Venezuela as one of the themes of the scenario. Biden recently changed his approach to the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship and expressed his willingness to review the sanctions imposed if there are significant advances in restoring democratic processes and institutions in the country.
The Democratic government, meanwhile, has publicly expressed concerns about Maduro’s relationship with the Iranian regime and accused the Chavistas of trying to buy arms from Tehran.
With Burns’ visit, the Biden government is also trying to strengthen the anti-China offensive, especially on the technological front. Containing Beijing’s influence in the southern hemisphere is currently state policy in the United States and independent of the political party that occupies the White House.
The Americans’ goal is to pressure the Bolsonaro government to create barriers to Chinese firm Huawei’s participation in the country’s future 5G networks. The election is part of most dialogues on intelligence and security cooperation between the two countries. The US argument is that Huawei allows the Chinese government to spy on data traffic.
In the Bolsonaro administration, the defenders of the limitation of the activities of Huawei are located precisely in the Office of Institutional Security, headed by Heleno, and the case prompted the trip of a delegation to the United States at the start. June – the mission was led by Minister Fábio Faria (communication).
In addition to the issues discussed, Brazilian authorities commemorated Burns’ visit as an important sign that cooperation in the areas of regional intelligence and security should not be affected by ideological differences between Bolsonaro and Biden. Bolsonaro was an avowed admirer of former US President Donald Trump and, during the campaign, said he supported the Republican’s re-election.
Since the Democrats’ victory, the most important issue in the bilateral relationship has become the environment, and political contacts have cooled. The US leader has not yet spoken with Bolsonaro and, after the police investigation against former Minister Ricardo Salles (Environment), he ordered the suspension of environmental negotiations with Brazil. Thus, Planalto hopes that Burns’ visit will mark the standardization of a second level visit schedule by the two administrations.
This is an important signal for the Bolsonaro government. The country has been left off the itinerary of the first trip to South America by Juan Gonzalez, senior director for the western hemisphere at the National Security Council. In April, he visited Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay, but skipped Brazil.