Jair Bolsonaro received this Tuesday (24) the President of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, at the Planalto Palace. Known as the ‘Bolsonaro of Africa’, he was received in a ceremony that lasted about half an hour, which included 21 cannon shots and a parade of cavalry, as it was a state visit.
After the ceremony, there was a lunch in honor of the guest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The delegation from Guinea Bissau arrived on an FAB plane, sent by the Brazilian government, although it is customary for heads of state to come to the country in their own plane or pay for the flight.
Embaló, a declared admirer of Bolsonaro, was invited by the Brazilian president himself, who called the African leader a “brother”. “We spoke quickly about some issues, such as agriculture, health and defense. And I told him we were ready to serve him,” Bolsonaro said alongside Embaló.
The visitor said Brazil has the necessary tools “right now to modernize agriculture and sanitation” and invited Bolsonaro to visit Guinea Bissau in October. The Brazilian leader, in turn, declared that he had made a commitment to visit him “at the first opportunity”.
In Guinea-Bissau, Embaló 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. The African is also defending a reform of the country’s constitution, which, according to opponents, aims to concentrate powers in the hands of the president.
The authoritarianism of the Guinean leader accuses him of wanting to set up a dictatorship.
Ministers Tereza Cristina (Agriculture), Marcelo Queiroga (Health), Milton Ribeiro (Education), Carlos França (Itamaraty), Luiz Eduardo Ramos (General Secretariat), Anderson Torres (Justice), as well as the Secretary for Strategic Affairs, the Admiral Flávio Rocha, and Célio Faria, Chief of Staff to the President. Only Tereza, Queiroga and Ribeiro wore a mask.
In the African presidential delegation, by contrast, everyone used protection, including Embaló.
A retired soldier, the African leader said in a recent interview that he saw Bolsonaro as an inspiration. Working in Portuguese at Deutsche Welle, the German public communications network, Embaló said he spoke with the Vice President of Brazil, Hamilton Mourão, at a meeting of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), in Luanda, capital of Angola. Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony.
During the conversation, Mourão reportedly said that the current Brazilian president had come forward because he understood that “Brazil could not take more risks and because civilians do not understand each other”. “Then, [Bolsonaro disse:] ‘If we win, let’s put Brazil in order.’ “Embaló said he had done the same in his country.