‘Same rhetoric’: Bolsonaro’s US visit to showcase populist alliance with Trump

Brazilian president shares some of Trumps habits: he is active on Twitter and also dismisses negative media coverage as fake news

Brazils president, Jair Bolsonaro, landed in Washington DC on Sunday two days before meeting Donald Trump, his first visit to a foreign leader since taking office on 1 January a visit he hopes will showcase the alignment between the right-wing, populist leaders of the two biggest economies in the Americas.

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Bolsonaros spokesman said the visit showed the priority the government gives to building a solid partnership with the United States of America, while Trumps national security adviser, John Bolton, called the trip a historic opportunity (although the effect was somewhat undermined by a tweet in which he called the Brazilian president Bolonsaro).

As well as trade talks, the presidents will sign a technology deal to open up an underused Brazilian satellite base. Brazil will likely be given major non-NATO ally status, which could help it buy cheaper military equipment.

President Bolsonaro brings a real energy to the relationship, hes determined to make progress, Bolton told TV Globo. Were really very excited about being able to partner on a number of issues internationally. The crisis in Venezuela is a priority, he said.

The visit marks the first state visit by a Brazilian president since Dilma Rousseff cancelled a 2013 visit after revelations the National Security Agency had been spying on her.

But diplomats caution that traditionally-neutral Brazil may shoot itself in the foot by getting too close to Trump as he wages a trade war against China Brazils biggest commercial partner.

This wont further any national interest, said Rubens Ricupero, a former Brazilian ambassador to Washington and Rome. Todays international American agenda has nothing to do with Brazil.

Brazils
Brazils president Jair Bolsonaro promised to follow Trumps lead and move Brazils Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Adding to such concerns was the presence of Trumps former strategist Steve Bannon, seated beside Bolsonaro at a conservative, opinion formers dinner on Sunday night. Bannon recently named Bolsonaros congressman son Eduardo, also in Washington, the South American representative for his international far-right network, the Movement.

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But it remains unclear what benefit for Brazil such close ties might bring: the former Trump adviser was sacked from the White House in 2017, and the US president genuinely dislikes Bannon, according to a friend of Trump, talking privately.

Bolsonaro shares several of Trumps habits: he is active on Twitter, which he uses alongside Facebook to reach his millions of followers. He also dismisses negative media coverage as fake news.

He has promised to follow Trumps lead and move Brazils Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and travels to Israel this month.

Bolsonaro has purposely been emulating Trump, said Monica de Bolle, director of the Latin American programme at John Hopkins University. The rhetoric is the same.

Much of that rhetoric owes much to another star guest seated beside Bolsonaro at the opinion formers dinner: Olavo de Carvalho, a pipe-smoking right-wing Brazilian philosopher who broadcasts via internet to hundreds of thousands of followers from the amply-stocked library of his house in Virginia.

Hes the ideological lynchpin in all of this, said de Bolle.

In January, De Carvalho dined at the home of Bannon, who has described him as a hero, and on Saturday night, the former White House adviser hosted a screening of a crowded-funded film about De Carvalho.

De Carvalho, who once worked as an astrologist, became more widely known in Brazil after some of his newspaper columns were compiled in a best-selling book which raged against globalists, Marxists, feminists. The book referenced right-wing conspiracy theorists like Jerome Corsi, and declared that anal and oral sex can cause cancer. It became a best-seller in Brazil.

Although de Carvalho was a communist in his youth, his main target is the left which he regards as immoral, drawing little distinction between the centre-left Workers Party which ran Brazil from 2003-2016 and communist dictators such as Stalin and Chairman Mao.

Communism was not destroyed, it only changed its strategic framework, he said in one video interview. In another video he accused Pepsi Cola of using aborted fetuses as sweetener.

De Carvalhos writings provided an intellectual basis for Brazilian conservatives angry at the corruption crisis and recession that beleaguered the last years of Roussefs rule.

Steve
Steve Bannon speaks with Olavo de Carvalho, a right-wing Brazilian philosopher, before the showing of a documentary on the government of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro in Washington DC on Saturday. Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

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Such ideas have been echoed by Bolsonaros foreign minister Ernesto Arajo who told diplomacy students last week a global Marxist conspiracy had seized control of the production of ideas, adding: We will sell soy and iron ore. But we will not sell our soul.

Arajo, who had never served as an overseas ambassador before Bolsonaros surprise appointment, has previously downplayed climate change as part of a plot by cultural Marxists, and wrote in a 2017 article that Donald Trump could save the West.

I was surprised and a little bit scared by some of the ideas in that article, said one diplomatic source familiar with the US negotiations, who argued Arajos ideological excesses will be constrained by foreign policy realities: Interests will prevail over ideology in the long run.

In his weekly Facebook Live on Thursday, Bolsonaro sounded unsure as to where to place Brazils relationship with the US.

The United States for us it could be, with all certainty – a great partner. Our great economic partner is China. In second place, the United States, he said.

Last year he accused the Chinese of buying Brazil and angered the Chinese government by visiting Taiwan. Now he plans to visit China.

Analysts said the mixed messages are due to an a power struggle between an ideological group representedrepresented by Bolsonaro, his son Eduardo and Arajo and a more pragmatic faction including finance minister Paulo Guedes one of seven ministers on this trip and former military officers in Bolsonaros administration such as vice-president Hamilton Mouro, who has repeatedly contradicted the president.

Last week Mouro told the Financial Times Brazil could create a back channel with Venezuelan military officials for a negotiated exit for Nicols Maduro, a much less aggressive posture than that voiced by the Bolsonaros and US hawks like Bolton.

This struggle is the most significant political dynamic in Brazil today, said Oliver Stuenkel, a professor of international relations at So Paulos Getulio Vargas Foundation, reaching for a Portuguese metaphor to describe it.

A tarntula bbada the drunk tarantula.

Additional reporting by David Smith in Washington.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

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