The visit to Brazil of Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, caused unease with the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ). In a note, the parliamentarian said that the meeting in Boa Vista (RR) a month and a half from the American election “does not match the good international diplomatic practice and affronts the traditions of autonomy and pride” of the country’s foreign and defense policy. Maia stated that the Brazilian Constitution provides that government officials must guide their international relations in compliance with the principles of national independence, self-determination of peoples, non-intervention and the defense of peace. No representative of the Brazilian or American governments responded to the criticism.
The trip is set against the backdrop of Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and criticisms of Venezuelan Nicolás Maduro’s regime. The secretary wants to demonstrate to the Latin voter that the United States still has influence in the region. In that round, the secretary traveled to Suriname, Guyana and Colombia. Only in Brazil did he not meet with the country’s main authority. This Friday, President Bolsonaro was inaugurating works in two cities in the state of Mato Grosso at the pace of an electoral campaign, which will only happen, in fact, two years from now.
In Suriname, Pompeo met with the president, Chan Santokhi. In Guyana, with Irfaan Ali. And in Colombia, there is a meeting scheduled with Ivan Duque. On Sunday, he heads to Texas, a state with a strong Latin influence. In Boa Vista, he was received by Brazilian Chancellor Ernesto Araújo.
At the meeting with Araújo, Secretary Mike Pompeo called the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, a drug dealer and, without giving further details, said he would be removed from the government. “We must not forget that he is destroying his own country and is also a drug dealer. It is impacting the life of the USA. But let’s get him out of there ”. The two made almost unanimous speeches about Venezuela. Araújo said, for example, that Nicolás Maduro’s regime should “disappear”. While Pompeo said that Venezuela should return to democracy.
This week, a report by the United Nations (UN) has accused the Maduro government of crimes against humanity since 2014. Among them would be the systematic use of torture and murders.
In the meeting with Araújo, Pompeo also highlighted his interest in maintaining the partnership he has with Brazil. According to him, since the country began massively receiving Venezuelan migrants in February 2018, the United States has already transferred about US $ 80 million (R $ 400 million) to Brazil. The value represents 20% of the cost of Operation Welcoming, a humanitarian action that receives migrants and tries to insert them in communities in the country.
By guaranteeing support for Latin countries, the United States also wants to ensure that a large number of migrants do not go to its territory. Another person who criticized Pompeo’s arrival was the program director for the human rights NGO Conectas, Camila Asano. She stated that there is a “hypocrisy” on the part of the Bolsonaro government in highlighting the achievements of Operation Acolhida, which since March has not received any new migrants, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The rules on the closure of Brazilian borders have been relaxed over the past few months and today allow tourists and investors to enter by air, but still prohibit people fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela from entering national territory,” he said.
Pompeo and Araújo were asked by journalists how they viewed the series of concessions that Brazil was making to the United States in an American pre-election period. Both denied that there was any problem in the relationship or submission by Brazil. In recent weeks, Brazil has preceded American interests and has given up its own candidacy for the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank to support a name suggested by Trump, it has contradicted the interests of Brazilian producers by accepting to extend the deadline for another three months. import of American ethanol at cheaper tariffs and did not oppose Washington’s announcement that it would cut 80% of Brazilian steel imports.
The American secretary said that among “friends, it doesn’t work like that”. “This is a relationship. It is not a transaction. Partners work together. ” While the Brazilian chancellor softened the criticisms and said that the two countries have a diversified and long-term relationship. In the case of the IDB, he said he needed an active bank that could work for development, freedom and democracy. “The issue is not so much the nationality, but the program, which will be good for Brazil”.
This was Pompeo’s second visit to Brazil. The first occurred in January 2019, when he was in the possession of President Jair Bolsonaro as representative of Donald Trump. In Boa Vista, the Secretary of State visited the headquarters of a Catholic church where a basic sanitation project financed by the Donald Trump Administration and an identification and screening post for Operation Welcoming, which receives migrants, operates. Pompeo met five Venezuelans from the same family who have been living in a shelter in Boa Vista for ten months. They are in the process of migrating to the state of Santa Catarina, in southern Brazil, after leaving the Sucre region due to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.