Published 10/02/2023 13:14 | Edited 02/11/2023 11:11
The visit of the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to the White House has revealed that President Biden may have more in common with his Brazilian counterpart than he would like. That is the tone of much of the American media when talking about the meeting. It also takes on a strong symbolic character, as the visit is configured as an important sign that their democracies are resilient.
The two presidents have already signaled that the defense of democracy will be one of the main topics of conversation. Lula and Biden realize they can lead a global movement against the undemocratic far right. After the meeting, the two presidents should make a joint statement, which will seek to bring together all points of convergence.
All because of the comparison between the two beginnings of government, tumultuous by far-right coup attempts. The meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva follows last month’s insurrection in Brasilia, reminiscent of the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Worse, writers from important newspapers – such as Gabriel Pasquini, from the Washington Post – argue that the US has a lot to learn from the way Brazil reacted to the coup, turning it into a gigantic failure and isolating its mentor, Jair Bolsonaro, who , ironically, settled in Florida, as Trump’s neighbor. For the journalist, the consequences of the invasion of the Capitol continue to echo as a latent threat to American democracy.
In the USA, Donald Trump continues to be quick and coquettish in control of the Republican Party, and in the middle of the campaign for the next presidential election, despite being involved in the coup against Biden, apart from other scandalous accusations in various areas of the country’s Justice.
Pasquini says that “the Bolsonaristas revolt was not just a helpless echo of a foreign revolt – which was a serious threat to democracy – it is evident in the strong reactions to it in Brazil.” Comparisons observe how the arrest of thousands of coup plotters makes a difference in Brazilian investigations, while in the US, the fact that Biden was not in power at the time of the crisis, made everything difficult.
The fascist character of events in both countries is seen as a global threat. “The only difference between the uprising in Brazil and the attack on our Capitol was that the branches of the Brazilian government were all united in opposing the insurgents,” he says.
“Republicans are still running, promoting and retaining people who deny the 2020 election results. This is far from over. Democracy is not easy. It is a constant struggle against the authoritarians of the world”, completes Pasquini.
The article had repercussions, and other journalists commented that it went without saying that intellectual mentors like Jason Miller and Steve Bannon are involved in both the US J6 and Brazil’s J8, as they dubbed the January 6 and 8 insurrections. Miller and Bannon are seen as political advisers who are creating an organization that will use their social media campaigns of disinformation and conspiracy theories, with accusations of “election fraud” to help their allies try to seize power in susceptible democracies around the world. now.
But the comparisons continue. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s visit to Washington marks a meeting of the leaders of the two largest economies and democracies in the Western Hemisphere. The fact that the two are the oldest presidents of their countries – Biden is 80 years old, while Lula is 77 – is also mentioned.
More clearly, they came to power amidst disturbing political turmoil just two years apart. Both campaigned on promises to return their countries to normalcy after four years of sometimes chaotic rule by populist-style leaders. And they defeated incumbent presidents who refused to recognize election results as legitimate, leading to insurrections in both countries’ capitals – one on January 6, 2021 and another on January 8, 2023.
Thus, this visit is being framed as a chance for a new beginning after the chaos left by the predecessors of both presidents – mandates marked by polarization, political turmoil and ideological convergence of far-right nationalists in both countries. As well as a chance to bury Bolsonarism and Trumpism as legacies. Both defend flags that are totally averse to scientific denialism and spite for democratic institutions, such as the press. Thus, they want to highlight the contrast of governments.
The convergences continue as the two leaders prepare to publicize their shared commitment to protecting the Amazon rainforest. Lula and Biden should also talk about actions to promote racial equality and combat racism. The Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, is part of the entourage.
Indeed, the two pledged to preserve the Amazon, a vital tool in the fight against climate change that has seen record deforestation under Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.
Biden’s pledge meets with an uncomfortable reality: Americans’ passion for beef is helping to destroy the Amazon, while cattle ranching pushes the rainforest to a dangerous tipping point.
Environmentalists say the United States should do more to protect the world’s largest rainforest – and are using the high-level meeting to press the issue.
“Lula demonstrates will and action to end deforestation, but his budgets are tight,” Toerris Jaeger, executive director of Rainforest Foundation Norway, said in a statement. “Biden now has a golden opportunity to facilitate real change.”
The two leaders share efforts to strengthen democracy but differ on Ukraine and China. By strengthening commercial ties with Brazil, the United States also seeks to stand up to China, which has increasingly gained ground in partnerships with Latin American countries.
The subject of the Nicolás Maduro regime in Venezuela seems to be a topic that has been overcome, as, in recent months, the US has resumed buying Venezuelan oil and relaxed economic sanctions.
Ukraine’s war holds huge differences, on the other hand. The American, from the first moment of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was against Moscow’s initiative and led the imposition of trade sanctions on Russia. It has huge interests in the arms trade for war.
Lula intends to discuss the formation of a Peace Club, involving countries that want to put pressure on warring governments for a negotiating table. It is not known how Biden will react to the idea that has already been discussed with European governments. The Brazilian initiative is well regarded, as war exhaustion deepens in Europe.
Brazil, despite having positioned itself against the invasion in deliberations at the UN, does not make incisive statements condemning the Russian invasion. Posture of both the previous government and the Lula administration. In addition, Brazil has not sent war equipment to help Ukraine, contrary to the movement that western nations have been doing.