Bolsonaro Signals Better US Relations 03/19 06:40
The president of Brazil made an unusual visit to CIA headquarters and later
spoke of his admiration for the United States on the second day of a trip that
reflected his country's shift to a more pro-American stance.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The president of Brazil made an unusual visit to CIA
headquarters and later spoke of his admiration for the United States on the
second day of a trip that reflected his country's shift to a more pro-American
President Jair Bolsonaro , a far-right politician who succeeded a leftist
who at times had a frosty relationship with the United States, arrived in the
country with a half-dozen ministers and a goal of expanding trade and
diplomatic cooperation between the two largest economies in the Western
He was expected to meet on Tuesday with President Donald Trump to discuss a
range of issues, including ways to increase U.S. private-sector investment in
Brazil and ways to resolve the political crisis in Venezuela .
"Nowadays, you have a president who is a friend of the United States who
admires this beautiful country," Bolsonaro told an audience at the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce on Monday.
Bolsonaro underscored the difference between his administration and that of
former President Dilma Rousseff by stopping by CIA headquarters in Langley,
Virginia, to discuss "international themes in the region," according to his
son, Eduardo, a Brazilian lawmaker accompanying him on his first bilateral
Eduardo Bolsonaro described the CIA as "one of the most respected
intelligence agencies in the world," in a tweet that was likely to raise
eyebrows back home in Brazil, where the U.S. and its spy services have been
regarded with suspicion in recent years.
In 2013, leaks from Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security
Agency had wiretapped conversations of Rousseff, leading to several years of
tense relations between the U.S. and Brazil.
"No Brazilian president had ever paid a visit to the CIA," said Celso
Amorim, who served as foreign minister under former President Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva and is a Bolsonaro critic. "This is an explicitly submissive position.
Nothing compares to this."
The CIA had no comment on the visit.
The far-right Bolsonaro was elected last year and is an admirer of Trump. He
sought to underscore his pro-America stance with a tweet upon his arrival
"For the first time in a while, a pro-America Brazilian president arrives in
DC," he said in the tweet. "It's the beginning of a partnership focused on
liberty and prosperity, something that all of us Brazilians have long wished
Bolsonaro's insurgent candidacy against the candidate of Rousseff's party
has been compared to Trump's victory in 2016. The Brazilian president made the
comparison himself in his speech to the Chamber of Commerce, describing how he
has had to contend with "fake news" and tough coverage from established news
"We want to have a great Brazil just like Trump wants to have a great
America," he said.
The speech came after the two countries signed several bilateral agreements,
including one that allows the United States to use Brazil's Alcantara Aerospace
Launch Base for its satellites, and Brazil announced an end to visa
requirements for U.S. tourists who visit the country.
Brazil is seeking U.S. help with its efforts to join the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development and to expand trade. The Bolsonaro
administration is seeking to reduce public-sector spending and privatize state
enterprises to reduce debt and grow its economy.
A senior U.S. administration official noted that the U.S. does have a $27
billion trade surplus with Brazil and that there are opportunities to bring the
nations' business communities closer. He said there are expected to be new
initiatives on energy infrastructure.
The official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, noted that
Brazil has a close relationship with Venezuela's military and may be able to
serve as a go-between with the security forces that continue to support Maduro.
Brazil, like the U.S., has recognized the leader of the National Assembly,
Juan Guaido, as Venezuela's interim president under the argument that Maduro's
re-election last year was illegitimate.
"We have to sort Venezuela out," Bolsonaro said. "We cannot leave them the
way they are. We have to free the nation of Venezuela."