President Jair Bolsonaro (non-party) invited an African leader accused of promoting an authoritarian turn in his country to an official visit to Brazil.
The information was revealed by Bolsonaro himself during a conversation with supporters on Wednesday evening (28). However, at the time, he could not remember the name of his host or the country he ruled.
“I will receive it at the end of September if I am not mistaken. From Africa, which country in Africa? I spoke to him,” the president told his supporters.
“He is known as the Bolsonaro of Africa. He happens to be an army general,” he said.
According to interlocutors, Bolsonaro referred to the president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló.
The Brazilian president spoke by phone with Embaló last week. The meeting was not on the official agenda.
Over the phone, the president invited Embaló to come to Brazil.
Although the president has said he hopes to receive the Guinean in September, people who follow the subject told Folha that there are still no plans for the visit.
The Guinean leader is an admirer of Bolsonaro and shares a military past with the Brazilian.
In Guinea-Bissau, he is criticized for having appointed soldiers to key positions in the state structure, to the detriment of civil servants, and for having supported police repression against a strike by teachers and health professionals.
Embaló also advocated reform of the country’s constitution. Critics say the constitutional change is aimed at concentrating power in the hands of the president.
The authoritarianism of the Guinean leader causes his opponents to accuse him of wanting to set up a dictatorship in the country.
A retired soldier, Embaló said in a recent interview that he sees Bolsonaro as an inspiration.
“The vice-president of Brazil [Hamilton Mourão] told me during the summit [cúpula] of the CPLP [Comunidade dos Países da Língua Portuguesa], in Luanda, that Jair Bolsonaro decided to run for the Brazilian presidency because he understood that Brazil could no longer take risks. Because civilians don’t understand each other, ”Embaló said on July 20, according to the Portuguese-language service of Deutsche Welle, the German public communications network.
Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony, which is part of the CPLP.
“Then, [Bolsonaro disse:] we are going to stand for the presidential elections and, if we win, we will put Brazil in order, “said the Guinean president, again according to the German portal, Embaló said the same had been done in his country.
The CPLP summit took place in mid-July, in the Angolan capital.
According to Alexandre dos Santos, professor of Africa at the Institute of International Relations of PUC-Rio (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro), Embaló uses his association with Bolsonaro to defend his internal political actions.
He cited the Brazilian president to justify the militarization of his government, saying that uniforms occupy several positions in the state to deal with problems that civilians have not found a solution to, such as corruption.
In addition, Santos said, Embaló used Bolsonaro’s rhetoric while he was still in the presidential campaign, when he ran as a candidate against “old politics.”
If the visit continues, Embaló should experience in Brasilia a different scenario than the one he described for the Guinean population.
Cornered by a popularity slump and his threatened re-election, Bolsonaro sealed an alliance with the powerhouse, which in practice reduced the power of the military wing of the government.
According to Santos’ assessment, the possible visit to Brasilia will represent expressive political gain for Embaló and should be explored by the Guinean.
“For Bolsonaro, it will not make any difference, because he will receive someone with whom he has only ideological proximity. Embaló will gain a lot, because he will use the journey to defend his ideological positions internally, which is very important. bad for the democracy Guinea-Bissau “, he declared.
The invitation to the Guinean leader comes the same week Bolsonaro was criticized for receiving far-right German leader Beatrix von Storch at the Palácio do Planalto. She is the granddaughter of a former Nazi government finance minister Adolf Hitler.