by Lisandra Paraguaçu
BRASILIA (Reuters) – In his speech of no more than 13 minutes at the United Nations, President Jair Bolsonaro did not recall that he was at an international forum and dedicated his speech entirely to revitalizing his internal audience, in a speech he did little to improve. The external image of Brazil or persuading the world that the country he describes actually exists.
At the podium where Brazilian presidents traditionally attempt to lay out the country’s position on relevant international issues, Bolsonaro provided quick, in-depth references to the Afghan crisis and reform of the United Nations Security Council, with an emphasis on defending his government.
“The speech was given to investors and to the domestic public, it was not to address global problems,” former Brazilian ambassador to the United States Rubens Barbosa told Reuters. “It’s interesting that of the 12 or so minutes he talked about, he didn’t spend a minute outside, he only mentioned four or five stitches while passing.”
Bolsonaro received from Foreign Minister Carlos Franca a draft final letter, highlighting topics such as Brazilian production of vaccines, which can help Latin America, defending a sustainable economy in the Amazon region, and investment opportunities in the country.
However, the text has not been used much by the president, who has inserted his worldview into it, on topics such as advocating early treatment for Covid-19 or attacks on the press.
“In the whole of the discourse, what it does is just address the internal audience. Deep down it does not deal with the international audience. It was more calculated than in previous years, but it was very bad because it is full of lies and lies,” said Ambassador Roberto Abdelnour, the former representative of Brazil in China. The United States told Reuters.
“The discourse comes from a position in Brazil of retreat and isolation. In addition to distortions, it is a very weak, irrelevant discourse, another moment in the path of the far right, the politics of retreat, deflation, opposition to multilateralism.”
Those betting their cards on Bolsonaro’s attempt more accurate, more in line with the Declaration of the Nation prepared and signed by Michel Temer, were disappointed. What was seen was the president himself in Thursday’s life or conversations with supporters in the kindergarten in Palacio da Alvorada.
“None of this helps improve Brazil’s image abroad, which is already very negative and much less personable, of what it does. The image is the worst possible image, pariah among heads of state, lenient with the destruction of the Amazon, hostile to indigenous peoples, and disrespectful of institutions” Abdelnour says.
This is the third year that Bolsonaro has been building a speech to his constituents, says political advisor and executive director of DHARMA Politics, Criomar de Souza, and despite quick references to classic issues of Brazilian diplomacy, he has mostly reformulated topics of interest limited to his most loyal audience .
“I think there is a hypothetical problem with the Bolsonaro government’s foreign policy. The international projection of the country under the current government was based on the principle that foreign policy could have been turned into an electoral tool and gain through the president’s personal relationship with other right-wing populist leaders around the world. Scientist, Kryomar explained.
“The problem is that this has been so entrenched fundamentally in the Trump administration, and that his defeat has made the contradictions more apparent, at the same time that it is asking for a repositioning that the government probably won’t do, mainly due to the internal electoral factor.”
After Trump’s defeat, Bolsonaro reluctantly tried to establish a relationship with Democrat Joe Biden, but to no avail. Staying at the same hotel in New York, the site — and that of Biden’s speech at the United Nations immediately after Bolsonaro — were as close as they could be to each other. Despite constant attempts by Brazilian diplomacy, the US government was not interested in a bilateral meeting between the two presidents.
Bolsonaro’s agenda is a reflection of isolation. The president had two bilateral meetings, one with the UK Prime Minister on Monday afternoon and another Tuesday morning with Polish President Andrzej Duda – one of Europe’s few far-right leaders.
For the rest of the Monday afternoon, he didn’t have a schedule until evening. On Tuesday afternoon, the president paid a visit to the One World Center, where a memorial to the victims of 9/11 was erected. Bolsonaro leaves for Brazil on Tuesday night.
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