Note: This article has been updated slightly to reflect that Joe Biden is now the president-elect of the United States.
If there is one government affected by the outcome of the U.S. elections, it is certainly the Brazilian government. President Bolsonaro, who never hid his idolizing admiration for Trump, to the point of making a proposal to him to exploit the Amazon together, has put out inappropriately effusive statements towards The Donald several times.
“I hope, if this is God’s will, to be able to participate in the inauguration of the president who will soon be re-elected in the United States. I don’t need to hide it, I’m saying it from my heart,” he had said on Oct. 20. “Since my first contact with President Trump, a sentiment of cooperation aimed at the good of our countries was born among us,” he claimed.
Love at first sight, in short. It’s no accident that during the UN General Assembly in 2019, Bolsonaro, in front of the diplomatic staff of both countries, offered Trump a disconcerting “I love you,” receiving in return a much less passionate “Nice to see you again.”
No wonder, then, that on Wednesday, amidst uncertainty over the election result, Bolsonaro not only returned to cheering for Trump, but also attacked Biden directly: “The Democratic candidate spoke twice about the Amazon. Is this what they want for Brazil? That it be interfered with from outside?”
Bolsonaro’s extreme irritation was aimed at the words spoken by Biden during the first of the presidential debates, when the Democratic candidate said he was ready to raise $20 billion for Brazil to put an end to deforestation, but warned that the country could receive sanctions if it failed in its task of protecting the Amazon.
It is certainly the case that Bolsonaro’s passion for Trump, with the consequent and unconditional alignment with U.S. policy, has caused a lot of discontent in Brazil, especially connected to the distance the country took from China and the renunciation of the special and differential treatment that Brazil, as an emerging country, enjoyed within the WCO (in exchange for U.S. support for its entry into the OECD).
And now, the fear in diplomatic and military circles is that, in the event of Biden’s victory, Bolsonaro may end up even more isolated than he already is. It is no coincidence that his deputy, General Hamilton Mourão, has not hesitated to insist on Brazil’s “neutrality” with respect to the U.S. elections, openly contradicting the words of the president.
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