More than 60 US deputies signed a letter asking President Joe Biden to step back in US-Brazil relations until “a new leader, more in line with democratic values and human rights, is elected.”
In the message, dated this Thursday (14), Democratic lawmaker Hank Johnson (Georgia) and other 63 lawmakers point to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s attempts to delegitimize the 2022 presidential elections and his support for contesting the victory of Biden in the American election of 2020.
“Bolsonaro supported the false statements of [Donald] Trump on election fraud and was one of the last global leaders to recognize his electoral victory, which calls into question his willingness to accept the results of the Brazilian election in 2022”, write the lawmakers.
“Bolsonaro’s son, a prominent legislator, was in person at activities linked to ‘Stop the Steal’ on January 6, in Washington.” The text refers to the fact that Congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP) participated in a meeting, on January 5, with businessman Mike Lindell, one of the great sponsors of the campaign to contest the election results that would culminate in the invasion of the Capitol.
The act, one day after the meeting that was attended by the Brazilian, ended with five deaths.
In the letter, lawmakers also reinforce requests for Biden to cancel the designation of preferential extra-NATO ally, granted to Brazil during the Trump government; withdraw the offer of support for the country to become a global partner of NATO (Western Military Alliance); and review other cooperation programs between the two nations.
“Bolsonaro used this designation [aliado preferencial extra-Otan] for their political benefit, citing it as a great achievement and a seal of approval given by the US government,” the letter reads. “Offering Brazil support to become a global NATO partner would signal that the US does not see the human rights violations, attacks on democracy and the environment that are taking place in Brazil.”
Support for the country to become a global NATO partner was offered during a visit by US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in August and drew criticism in the US Congress. Both the non-NATO preferred ally and global partner designations give the country greater access to purchase military equipment and training.
In late September, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democrat Bob Menendez, and three other lawmakers sent a letter urging the Biden administration to make clear to Bolsonaro that any democratic break in Brazil “will have serious consequences.”
In the letter then sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the senators warned that the Brazilian president has been threatening a breach of the constitutional order in the country, using “irresponsible” language and intimidating gestures against ministers of the Supreme Court (STF).
Democratic Party parliamentarians had already presented an amendment to the defense budget to prohibit the US government from using public resources to benefit Brazil as a result of the country’s status as an extra-NATO priority ally. The amendment was not approved.
In Thursday’s letter to the US president, the 63 deputies recalled Biden’s actions as vice president of Barack Obama, citing that he was the one who sealed reconciliation with Brazil after the NSA spying scandal by taking documents about the dictatorship to the then president Dilma Rousseff.
They also point out that Bolsonaro, when he was a federal deputy, paid homage to General Brilhante Ustra, appointed by the Truth Commission as one of the greatest torturers of the Brazilian military regime.
The letter cites that the Brazilian president’s term has been marked by “anti-democratic policies” and “hateful insults against Afro-Brazilians, indigenous people, the LGBTQIA+ community and unions, and praise for the brutal military dictatorship he sent in Brazil from 1964 to 1985”.
In his government, the text says, Bolsonaro implemented policies that “threaten minorities, created historically high unemployment, harmed the environment, endangered Brazil’s relatively young democracy and led to hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths by Covid-19”.
Deputies also criticize former US ambassador to Brazil, Todd Chapman, saying he maintained “a problematic friendship with Bolsonaro.”