Democrats Want the United States To Stay Away from Brazil

U.S. House members wrote a letter asking President Joe Biden to withdraw Brazil’s preferential ally status and expressed “deep concern” for Brazilian democracy.

The United States wants to distance itself from Brazil. There is already a congressional movement toward this end. The further away Brazil is, the better. Brazil needs to understand that Donald Trump is no longer president. More than 60 House Democrats are asking Joe Biden to withdraw Brazil’s status as a preferred ally. In a letter to Biden a few days ago, the members of Congress expressed a “deep concern” for Brazilian democracy. They highlighted Jair Bolsonaro’s quest for policies that threaten Brazil’s democratic regime, human rights, public health and the environment. In the letter, obtained by BBC Brazil, the congressional representatives — more than one-quarter of House Democrats — ask that the U.S. remove Brazil’s status as a Major Non-NATO Ally, which Trump granted in 2019. This agreement allows Brazil to acquire surplus military equipment at prices that are so low they look more like a donation.

The members of Congress also want the United States to withdraw support of Brazil as a “NATO global partner,” something that was proposed during National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s trip to Brasilia in August. The Democrats affirm verbatim that “Bolsonaro’s deplorable record in office calls for an urgent review of U.S.-Brazil relations.” These relations have been harmful. The representatives added that this revised relationship focus on bilateral cooperation in the fight against drugs and terrorism.

Brazil was designated a Major Non-NATO Ally of United States NATO in 2019. The Democratic House members note that Bolsonaro used this designation for his political benefit, telling Brazilians it was a great accomplishment and a seal of approval from the United States government. Trump granted Non-NATO Ally status in March 2019 during Bolsonaro’s first trip to the U.S. as president. Only 17 countries enjoy this status. The members of Congress note that the United States cannot help build an army that could be used to achieve a coup d’etat.

In their letter, the Democrats assert that Bolsonaro is already preparing to stage a coup, and the United States must not contribute to it. In the end, the letter calls for taking a tougher and more proactive stand against the Brazilian government. The members of Congress also want Biden to warn Bolsonaro about the consequences of any rupture in Brazilian democracy. At the same time, they suggested that Biden suspend monetary aid to Brazil given the ongoing devastation to the Amazon. They noted that Bolsonaro’s neglectful behavior also applies to human rights issues, which he does not take seriously.

In other words: a large group of elected officials in the United States want distance from Brazil. After all, Trump is no longer president. Times have changed. U.S. politics have changed. Bolsonaro no longer enjoys the comradery he had with Trump, his guru on any issue, including the pandemic. Thus, Brazil is slowly becoming isolated from the great nations of the world. Biden has not yet responded to the letter, but he has already made it clear that he is not enamored with the Brazilian president. Bolsonaro is not enamored with the American president either. Clearly, Brazil’s turmoil is not merely domestic, as if that were not enough. It is also international.

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