Brazilian President Lula kicked off his international comeback on Monday with a visit to neighboring and close ally Argentina. He tried to reassure about an upcoming return to “normality” in Brazil after the recent upheaval that threatened the seats of power.
Three weeks after the beginning of his presidency, and just two weeks after the Bolsonarist assault on the headquarters of Brazilian institutions, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was received this Monday on an official visit to Buenos Aires. Next Tuesday in the Argentine capital there will be a summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC-33 member countries), in the presence of about fifteen Heads of State and Government.
Lula will then make his first international trip to Uruguay on Wednesday, before receiving German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Brasilia on January 30, going to Washington on February 10 to meet his American counterpart Joe Biden.
The military “does not serve a politician”
In Buenos Aires, the 77-year-old leftist leader, who is entering his third term (after those from 2003 to 2010), was taken by questions about the internal situation in Brazil.
He said he was convinced, three days after the resignation of the head of the Army, that Brazil will return “to normality” and that the Armed Forces there “will fulfill their role” without “serving a politician”, as he says they were able to do so. under his far-right predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.
He was speaking for the first time since the resignation of General Júlio César de Arruda on Saturday, two weeks after the January 8 attacks in Brasilia. The defense minister had mentioned a “breach of trust” with the officer.
“I had chosen a head of the Army, but it didn’t work. I had to choose another,” Lula explained on Monday at a press conference, when asked about whether or not confidence has now been restored with the nomination of General Tomás Ribero Paiva. “I had a good conversation with him. He thinks exactly the same as I do about the Armed Forces.”
“The Armed Forces do not serve a politician, they do not exist to serve a politician,” he insisted. The military, as “state agents, cannot get involved in politics during the exercise of their functions”.
“A phenomenon happened in Brazil (…) I can’t explain it, but Bolsonaro managed to get a majority in all military forces, from the police of each state to the traffic police, part of the military police and armed soldiers”, support him it, added Lula.
Distant dream of a “common currency”
At the bilateral level, the Brazilian president came to Buenos Aires to reconnect with a strong bilateral relationship since his first terms and recalled his gratitude to his Argentine counterpart Alberto Fernandez (center-left) who came to see him in prison in 2019.
Lula, asking “Argentines’ forgiveness” for Bolsonaro’s lack of interest in recent years, promised that at the end of his term “the relationship with Argentina will be the best (bilateral) that can exist in all of Latin America.” Brazil and Argentina, the first and third largest economies in Latin America, also signed a battery of bilateral agreements on Monday: energy, science, health, education, agriculture, finance…
The two heads of state discussed the perspectives of Argentine gas for Brazil, Brazilian electricity for Argentina. And yet the first steps towards a “common currency” for the two countries that would facilitate their transactions and substantial trade – Brazil is Argentina’s main economic partner, Argentina the third of Brazil.
“We want our finance ministers to be able to make us a proposal” in that sense, said Lula. “We don’t know how a common currency would work in Argentina and Brazil or in the region. But we know how national economies work with foreign currencies…”, lamented Mr. Fernandez, referring to Argentina’s de facto bi-monetary economy, with a weight under the yoke of the dollar and in constant depreciation.
On Tuesday, Lula was in Buenos Aires to seal Brazil’s return to CELAC, a forum for dialogue and consultation with countries in the region – as well as the United States and Canada. Bolsonaro had distanced Brazil from it, denouncing the place given to “anti-democratic” regimes, such as Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua.
This article was automatically published. Sources: ats/afp