Daily Management Review

Brazil turns right


The 38th President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, took office. His board promises a u-turn of course for the largest state in Latin America and its allies. The radical right-wing politician has sharply criticized the military maneuvers of Russia and Venezuela and said there was a possibility of defense cooperation with the United States. Bolsonaro, repeating many of Donald Trump’s steps, is starting a new honeymoon in Brazil’s relations with the United States. Visiting the inauguration ceremony, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for a joint fight with Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, Russia's main allies in the region.

Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil
Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil
The 38th President of Brazil, who took office on January 1, solemnly proclaimed that the national flag "will never be red again, unless it is necessary to shed blood for it to remain green and yellow."

“Today is the day when people began to free themselves from socialism, from perverted values, excessive state presence and political correctness,” said Jair Bolsonaro to the crowd’s cheers.

“I ask all congressmen to help me save Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological subordination,” Bolsonaro called on his opponents to implement the new right-wing conservative development strategy of the country.

There are seven retired military men among the 22 members of the new cabinet. This is an unprecedented case since nothing like this happened even during the period of military dictatorship (1964-1985). The government’s financial block is headed by the new Minister of Economics, Paulo Guedes, a graduate of the University of Chicago, a student of Milton Friedman, a professor at the University of Chile during the Pinochet military dictatorship, a banker, a multimillionaire. The ministry headed by him is formed of three departments - finance, planning and budget, industry and foreign trade.

Already this week, the Brazilian Cabinet will discuss two items from Guedes’ economic program. These are plans for pension reform and large-scale privatization (it is planned to exclude China as much as possible for political reasons).

Despite the call for unity, sounded on the day of the inauguration, representatives of the Workers Party, who were in power in Brazil from 2003 to 2016, defiantly ignored the inauguration ceremony.

The list of those who arrived at the inauguration ceremony with regard to foreign guests and those who were denied a trip to the ceremony was also quite symbolic.

Thus, President Bolsonaro’s office recalled the invitations extended earlier by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry to the leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. The new head of state considers them “dictatorships”. State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who represented the United States at the ceremony, during a meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo, called for a joint fight with countries that do not share democratic values. Among them, Mr. Pompeo called Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

“We have an opportunity to work together against authoritarian regimes,” Mr. Pompeo said after meeting with his Brazilian counterpart.

As for President Trump himself, who in many ways became a model for Brazil’s new president, he already congratulated the Brazilian leader on a “brilliant inaugural speech” and received a response of thanks.

In addition to the United States, Israel will be a key ally of Brazil during Bolsonaro’s term. One of the foreign leaders attending the ceremony in Brasilia was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During his election campaign, Bolsonaro promised to follow President Trump’s example and move his country's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

After President Bolsonaro assumed the position, the question of defense cooperation with the United States and the prospects of creating an American military base in the country has became a new intrigue. In an interview with the SBT channel, the new head of state did not rule out the possibility of deploying a US military base in Brazil (this idea was already supported by the Secretary of State Pompeo). 

source: reuters.com, SBT