‘Nobody Tells Him What to Do.’ Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Is Visiting Putin Despite U.S. Criticism
It has been awkward timing. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far right leader, touched down in Moscow on Tuesday for a visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, defying the Biden Administration and critics at home who wanted him to cancel the trip amid concerns that Russia is planning an invasion of Ukraine.
The Brazilian government accepted Russia’s invation for the meeting, designed to strengthen bilateral cooperation In December, the meeting was jointly scheduled between both countries. It took place alongside an Hungarian meeting between Bolsonaro (rightwing populist) and Viktor Orban (leftwing populist). Bolsonaro’s team, it’s fair to say, couldn’t have anticipated that Russia would send more than 100,000 troops to encircle Ukraine’s borders over the following weeks.
Continue reading: The Ukraine Crisis: Untold Stories
Bolsonaro claims that the Wednesday meeting with Putin is about trade. Brazil plans to boost imports of Russian fertilizers in support of its vast agricultural sector. rising fertilizer pricesBecause of a worldwide shortage. “We know the region is having a difficult moment, [but] we have business to discuss with them,” the Brazilian President said Monday.
The Kremlin’s spokesperson, though, hinted that geopolitics would be on the table. “It will be a good occasion to share opinions on current issues in today’s global order,” He spoke. Monday.
Bolsonaro and Putin have had warm relations for many years. At a 2020 summit of the BRICS countries, Putin praised Bolsonaro for his pandemic leadership—which included flouting social distancing rulesAnd Refusing to accept offersBy vaccine manufacturers. “The gentleman expressed the best qualities,” the Russian president in a video shared on Twitter by Bolsonaro, “Masculinity and determination.”
Putin recently increased diplomatic outreach to Latin American officials in the last few months. A series of calls were made to Latin American leaders, not just those in Venezuela or Cuba that are linked to Russia from the Soviet era but also to countries such as Brazil and Argentina which normally have closer ties to Washington and Europe.
Brazilian journalists and politicians warned against the risk of Western friendships being put at stake by going on with Russia’s trip. “Brazilians are present [president] in the midst of the crisis, without a visit to Kiev, tends to be read as tacit support for Russian demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO,” A columnist wrote For the Folha de São Paulo, the country’s largest daily, dubbing the visit “the most dangerous trip of Bolsonaro’s presidency.”
A deliberate snub
Brazilian media reported in late January that White House representatives had asked their counterparts in Bolsonaro’s Administration to cancel or delay the trip. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed concern over the message it could send to Putin and the rest of the world about Brazil’s allegiances on a call with Brazil’s foreign minister in late January, according to the reports.
However, the diplomatic effort to stop the trip was probably counterproductive, according to Thomas Traumann (a columnist and political consultant for Brazilian magazine). Veja. Bolsonaro has a well-documented obsession with protecting Brazil’s national sovereignty, visible in NATO leaders join spatsTheir efforts to save the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. “The fact that the Americans were so furious with him, that’s what made Bolsonaro want to do it,” Traumann says, “to show that he is independent from Biden and nobody tells him what to do.”
Traumann says it’s unlikely, though, that Bolsonaro’s trip will lead to more explicit moves in support of Putin, such as voting with Russia on the U.N. security council, where Brazil is a non-permanent member. Brazil voted for a U.S. resolution to address the Ukraine crisis on January 31st, which Russia rejected.
Bolsonaro spoke to his supporters at his official residence Monday and said that he hopes for peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis. However, he suggested that it wasn’t his concern. “The whole world has its problems. If you start wanting to fix other people’s problems….,” he said. “We want peace but we have to understand that everyone is human. Let’s hope it works out. If it depended on a word from me, the world would have peace.”
The way out of isolation
As well as a chance to stick a thumb in President Biden’s eye, analysts say Bolsonaro’s Russia trip guarantees Bolsonaro a rare photo op with a major world leader ahead of Brazil’s October elections. Since he evicted European powers such as France and Germany in the early days of his term, he has been unable to reconcile his relationship with them. Destructive environmental policies in the Amazon rainforestHe has lost his global standing as the president of Brazil. He lost He is his most trusted allyDonald Trump was defeated in the 2020 U.S. election.You can stay for more than one monthTo congratulate Biden for his win. Remarks by Bolsonaro and his sons on the origin of COVID-19, which he suggested could be “chemical warfare” have Relations chilled China. Then there was a tsunami of LeftwingElection TriumphsIn Latin America, he has been at odds with many of his neighbours over the last year.
Bolsonaro’s isolation culminated inUncomfortable scenes at last year’s G20 summit in Rome in November, where he wandered the crowd of leaders alone, ate by himself, and did not appear in the farewell photo. A week later, his main opponent at October’s election, leftist former president Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, received a warm welcome from European leaders on a tour of the region. Members of Bolsonaro’s team began casting around for possible foreign trips that same month, according to Traumann.