The visit by President Jair Bolsonaro to the American Donald Trump, on the 19th, will result in a joint declaration based on three pillars: the consecration of common values, the announcement of concrete measures – such as permission to use the base by foreigners of rocket launches from Alcantara, in Maranhao – and the indication of a path to be pursued in the Brazil-US relationship, especially in the economic and commercial areas.
The meeting with Trump in the White House will be the first bilateral visit of the Brazilian president since his inauguration. The US’s choice as the first destination is significant. Bolsonaro administration has made it clear that there is a reorientation of the foreign policy in force in the country and seeks a greater approximation with the Americans.
After winning the election, Bolsonaro was visited by Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, and in the possession of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Last week, an emissary from Pompeo, Kim Breier, was in Brasilia to discuss the final details of the agreements to be announced by the two countries.
In the statement on value affinity, the Trump and Bolsonaro governments want to go beyond the traditional reaffirmation of structural principles such as the celebration of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The two teams also intend to include a manifestation of convergence of political vision. In this context, the crisis in Venezuela will serve as an example.
The Trump government sees in Brazil under Bolsonaro an unprecedented moment where there are more ranges of agreement than of disagreement, not only for the admiration that part of the Brazilian government feeds by the Americans as for the structure of the economic team named by Bolsonaro.
For one wing of the Itamaraty, however, the change in the foreign policy route represents an “inflection“, expressed by former ambassador Rubens Ricupero in a speech promoted by the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI), at the Casa das Garças in Rio de January in the last week. At the time, Ricupero criticized the alignment of the new Itamaraty to the US, saying that he sees no limits in this initiative.
The crisis in Venezuela is a mandatory topic of the meeting between the two leaders. Brazil, together with the Lima Group, was one of the first nations to follow the US and recognize the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as interim president of the country. Regional support is crucial for the US to show that they are not isolated in the policy of tightening up against Nicolas Maduro‘s regime.
The Bolsonaro government is aligned with that of Trump in increasing pressure on Maduro, but Brazil’s statement expressly opposed to a military intervention in the neighboring country was the first bad sign of the new Brazilian government to the White House.
However, according to officials attending preparatory meetings hosted by Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo in Washington, there was no pressure from the Americans for Brazil to support Trump’s speech or not to speak on the subject. They recognize, however, that the “all options are on the table“ speech gets weakened when one of the neighbors, like Brazil, is vocal about nonintervention.
Trump’s team does not intend, according to the president’s aides, to take military action. At the same time, Americans want to leave this living threat as a strategy of force.
The teams in Brazil and the United States consider that the Technological Safeguards Agreement, which allows foreigners to use the Alcantara rocket launch base in Maranhao, is practically closed. If not signed at the meeting between Trump and Bolsonaro, will be at least announced by the two presidents, according to sources involved in the negotiations revealed to the state.
The agreement is considered the strategic announcement to be made during the visit, although the theme has been negotiated by the two countries since the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. The government Michel Temer tried to issue a new text, but it did not prosper. In addition to points that were still open, the negotiations went into waiting for the result of the election.
To reach a consensus, the two countries have changed sensitive sections and also have adjusted ambiguous terms. Countries agreed to reformulate, for example, the section that determined the existence of a “segregated area.“ The classification, according to Brazilians, meant that Brazil would be segregating part of the territory to the Americans and losing sovereignty. The term that is now being used is “controlled or restricted area“.