Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is touting his country as a “solution” to the world’s problems as the leaders and ministers of Western Hemisphere countries meet this week to address climate change, the economy, immigration and other global issues.
During a bilateral meeting between President Biden and Bolsonaro at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, California, Thursday, the Brazilian president declared that the world depends on Brazil “for its very survival.”
“The world today, I dare say, depends and largely depends on Brazil for its very survival,” Bolsonaro told Biden during the meeting. “But as I said before, we stand as an example in the eyes of the world when it comes to the environmental agenda, in addition to food security, and clean energy and also as regards the environmental agenda, in addition to these topics, Brazil remains a huge country, a giant, and presents herself to the world as a solution for many of the current problems.”
Biden, who said he has been fortunate to visit Brazil three times in the past, called the country “magnificent” and a “wonderful place,” that is closely linked with the United States based on shared democratic values.
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“Because of a vibrant, inclusive democracy, strong electoral institutions of our nations are linked by deeply rooted shared values that unlocks incredible opportunities for both our nations,” said Biden.
The meeting was the first between the two leaders and came as the Summit of the Americas has been swirling in controversy. The Biden administration has officially decided to exclude the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from the summit at the last minute, leading to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s boycott of the event
Bolsonaro, who enjoyed a close relationship with former President Donald Trump, was also reportedly considering not attending the summit, but confirmed once the bilateral meeting with Biden was set.
The Brazilian president also expressed interest in keeping close ties with the U.S. despite “ideological issues” in the past.
‘We are tremendously interested in drawing closer and closer ties with the United States. We have experienced almost 200 years of good partnership in our history a few times there, we may have distanced from each other due to perhaps ideological issues, but I am quite certain with the advent of my administration, our both administrations have never had such a great opportunity given the many affinities or shared areas of interest we have this year.”
The president also discussed the upcoming elections in Brazil, stating that he wishes to have “honest, clean, transparent, auditable, reliable” elections so there will be “no shadow of a doubt.”
Sergio de la Peña, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Western Hemisphere affairs at the Pentagon and a retired U.S. Army officer, told Fox News that the meeting between Biden and Bolsonaro is “a step in the right direction.”
“I think its important that there’s a dialog between the President of the United States and the president of Brazil, and this is a step in the right direction. It should have done sooner, but that’s water under the bridge. The fact is that we have to maintain good relations with every neighbor that we have, or every partner that we have in the hemisphere.”
“Everyone is important, but when you talk about the level of economic potential and the exchange that you have commercially between Brazil without taking into account of security aspects and the other stuff in Brazil is one of the major economic powers in the hemisphere. Now compared to everybody else in the world, obviously, there’s bigger economies in Europe, but in this case, Brazil is obviously one of the more important ones that occupies half of the continent, and contains half of the population of South America.”
De la Peña recommended that the United Sates and Brazil need to get together again and discuss issues “of mutual interest to both parties.”
“Commercial ties between the United States and Brazil are immense. The security ties [are] something we worked on significantly with [former Defense] Secretary Mattis when we traveled to Brazil, and we were moving in a very positive direction. I think institutionally we still are. So we need to make sure that we maintain close ties with those partners that we have to ensure are strong when it comes to prosperity and security.”