Brazilian President Lula began his international trip to his neighbor and close ally Argentina on Monday. He sought assurances of an impending return to “normalcy” in Brazil after the latest spat that threatened the seats of power.
Three weeks into his presidency, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made an official visit to Buenos Aires on Monday, two weeks after a Bolsonaroist attack on the seats of Brazilian companies. This will be followed by the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC- 33 member countries) in the Argentine capital on Tuesday, in the presence of about fifteen Heads of State and Government.
Lula will wrap up his first international trip in Uruguay on Wednesday, before receiving German Chancellor Olaf Scholes in Brasilia on January 30 and then traveling to Washington on February 10 to meet his US counterpart Joe Biden.
Army “Don’t Serve Politicians”
In Buenos Aires, the 77-year-old leftist leader, in his third term (after a term from 2003 to 2010), has been overtaken by questions about Brazil’s domestic situation.
Three days after the army chief was sacked, he said Brazil would return to “normality” and that the armed forces there would “fulfill their role” and not “serve the politicians”. So under his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.
He spoke for the first time since the ouster of General Julio Cesar de Arruda on Saturday, two weeks after the January 8 attack in Brasilia. The defense minister had referred to a “breakdown of trust” with the officer.
“I chose a military leader, but it didn’t work. I had to choose someone else,” Lula explained at a press conference on Monday, when asked whether or not confidence had now been restored with the appointment of Gen. Tomás Ribeiro Paiva. “I had a good conversation with him. He feels the same way about the armed forces as I do”.
“The armed forces do not serve a politician, they are not there to serve a politician,” he asserted. The military, “agents of the state, cannot engage in politics in the course of their duties”.
“There was an event in Brazil (…) I don’t know how to explain it, but Bolsonaro won the majority of all the military forces, from the police of each state to the traffic police, part of the military police and the armed forces,” Lula added, to support him.
A distant dream of a “common currency”.
On a bilateral level, the Brazilian president arrived in Buenos Aires to rekindle the strong bilateral relationship from his first terms, recalling his gratitude to Argentina’s representative, Alberto Fernandez (center-left), who visited him in custody in 2019.
Lula “apologized to Argentinians” for Bolsonaro’s lack of interest in recent years, promising that by the end of his term “the relationship with Argentina will be the best (bilateral) relationship we can have in all of Latin America.” Brazil and Argentina, Latin America’s first and third largest economies, also signed bilateral agreements on Monday: energy, science, health, education, agriculture, finance…
The two heads of state discussed opportunities such as Argentina gas to Brazil and Brazil electricity to Argentina. And even the first steps toward a “common currency” for both countries will facilitate their transactions and considerable trade – Brazil is Argentina’s leading economic partner, Argentina’s third.
“We want our finance ministers to present us with a plan,” Lula said. “We don’t know how a common currency will work in Argentina and Brazil or in the region. But we know how national economies work with foreign currencies…”, Mr Fernandez lamented Argentina’s de facto bimonetary economy. , yoked to the dollar and with a peso in constant depreciation.
On Tuesday, Lula was in Buenos Aires to seal Brazil’s return to CELAC, a forum for dialogue and consultation among regional countries other than the United States and Canada. Bolsonaro removed Brazil from it, condemning the space given to “anti-democratic” regimes like Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua.
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats / afp
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