The government of Jair Bolsonaro will send a plane of the FAB (Brazilian Air Force) to Guinea-Bissau, in order to allow the president of the country to make an official visit to Brazil.
Umaro Sissoco Embaló, who used to be called “Bolsonaro da África”, is an avowed admirer of the Brazilian. He is accused of promoting an authoritarian turn in Guinea-Bissau, and opponents accuse him of trying to set up a dictatorship in the country.
He should arrive in Brasilia earlier this week. The use of official Brazilian government planes to transport it was confirmed by Itamaraty, after questioning by Folha.
It is customary for heads of state to come to the country in their own aircraft or pay the cost of the flight. According to diplomats heard by the report, the practice of offering FAB flights to foreigners has already been used, mainly to smaller countries with few resources.
“Like the precedents of official transport offers by high foreign authorities, the transfer of the President of Guinea-Bissau to a Brazilian Air Force plane is part of the cultural, historical, linguistic and friendship ties that Brazil is in talks with Guinea-Bissau, especially in the context of the pandemic, which has affected international air links, ”the ministry said.
Embaló’s likely agenda includes, Tuesday (24), a reception by Bolsonaro at the Palácio do Planalto and a lunch in his honor at Itamaraty. The next day, the two presidents are expected to attend a ceremony alluding to the Day of the Soldier.
Officials from the African country’s embassy are also trying to organize Embaló meetings with the Presidents of the House, Arthur Lira (PP-AL), and of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG). These hearings have not yet been confirmed, according to interlocutors.
In Guinea-Bissau, Embaló, 48, is criticized for appointing soldiers to key positions in the state structure, to the detriment of civil servants, and for supporting the police crackdown on a strike by teachers and health professionals.
He also advocated reform of the local constitution – which critics say aims to concentrate power in the hands of the president. 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] that Jair Bolsonaro decided to run for president because he understood that Brazil could no longer take risks. Because civilians don’t understand each other, ”Embaló said on July 20, according to German network Deutsche Welle.
“[Bolsonaro disse:] We are going to run for president and, if we win, we will put Brazil in order. Embaló then claimed to have done the same in his country.
Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony, which is part of the CPLP. The summit took place in mid-July, in the Angolan capital.
The announcement of Embaló’s visit was made by Bolsonaro himself, in a conversation with supporters last month – in which he could not remember the name of the leader or his country. “I’m going to receive, [no] end of September if I’m not mistaken. From Africa, which country in Africa? I spoke to him, “he said.” He is known as the Bolsonaro of Africa. He happens to be an army general. “
According to people familiar with the subject, the Guinean Bissau should stay in Brazil for about a week, with passages also in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The long period contrasts with that of other visits by heads of state on bilateral agendas. Normally, government officials on official business stay for a short period in the same country.
So far, Embaló has planned a meeting with Governor João Doria (PSDB) in São Paulo and a visit to the recently reopened Portuguese Language Museum. Members of the immigrant community from Guinea-Bissau in the capital of São Paulo prepare acts of protest against the president.
In Rio de Janeiro, he is to have a meeting with senior Navy officials.
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 internal political actions.
He cited the Brazilian president to justify the militarization of the government, saying that the uniforms occupy positions to deal with problems civilians have not found a solution to, such as corruption. Embaló also adopted Pocketnarist rhetoric in the presidential campaign, presenting himself as a candidate against “old politics”.
According to Santos, the visit to Brazil will represent expressive political gain for Embaló and should be explored by the Guinean.
“For Bolsonaro it will not make any difference, he will receive someone with whom he has ideological proximity. The one who will gain a lot is Mbaló, who will take advantage of the trip to defend his positions internally, which is very bad for Bissau-Guinean democracy, he said.