US elections: if Biden wins, relations with Brazil will be more...

  • Marcia Carmo
  • From Buenos Aires to BBC News Brazil

5 hours ago

Credit, Reuters

Photo caption,

Biden must have a foreign policy very different from that of

If Democrat Joe Biden is elected as the new American president, there will be a shift in the relationship between Brazil and other countries with the United States.

And diplomatic and institutional channels will again take priority over personal relations between presidents – such as, for example, the relationship between Jair Bolsonaro and Donald Trump.

These are evaluations by Professor Arturo Valenzuela, from Georgetown University, in the USA. Valenzuela collaborated with the Joe Biden campaign and was the undersecretary responsible for relations with Latin America in Barack Obama’s first administration. He was also head of the White House’s National Security Council during Bill Clinton’s second term.

“It cannot be a relationship of friends, of friends, who have certain similar tendencies. The relationship will have to be more normalized, in the diplomatic sphere,” he said.

“I think Biden and his team will seek to strengthen relations with all countries and, especially, with Brazil, due to the importance that Brazil has in Latin America and in the world.”

In an interview with BBC News Brasil, speaking of Washington, Valenzuela said that Biden will resume the foreign policy line of the Obama administration.

The idea is to privilege multilateralism, dialogue between countries, and to value international institutions, such as the United Nations, the UN human rights commission, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) , among others.

Valenzuela says that Bolsonaro’s stance – who went so far as to say he hoped for Trump’s victory – may be a problem in his relationship with Biden, but that the tendency is for the Democrat to normalize relations so that they happen at the diplomatic level, and not personally.

“Unlike Trump, who, for example, withdrew from international institutions, from cooperation with countries, Biden will return to another logic. And it cannot be a relationship of friends, of compadres, who have certain similar tendencies. The relationship will have to be more normalized, in the diplomatic scope “, he affirmed.


For Valenzuela, if the Democrat is the next to take over the White House, it will be up to Brazil and, especially the Bolsonaro government, to “see how to maintain an important relationship” with the United States.

In his view, however, some frictions are expected on at least two fronts: the protection of the Amazon and the recent election of the president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mauricio Claver-Carone, who is the first American to occupy the post that historically it was from a Latin American.

“I would immediately start organizing the hemisphere and the world to provide US $ 20 billion for the Amazon, so that Brazil no longer burns the Amazon. (The international community would say to Brazil) here are US $ 20 billion, stop destroying the forest. And if it doesn’t stop, it will face significant economic consequences, “said Biden in the debate.

The president responded to Bolsonaro Democrat’s statements with a number of critical posts Biden on Twitter. “Regrettable,” “disastrous and free,” Bolsonaro said.

Valenzuela said that the Amazon and all issues related to the environment and climate change have become one of Biden’s priorities, something that “may not have motivated him so much in the past”.

According to the professor and former adviser to Clinton, Obama and Biden himself, Brazil has a very important role in this agenda, for the planet, due to its “importance in the ecological world”.

“The issue of climate change is essential for all humanity. And the Amazon is important not only for Brazil, but for the world,” said Valenzuela.

Ibama agent fighting fire in the Amazon

Credit, Reuters

Photo caption,

Biden said Brazil could suffer economic sanctions if destruction of the Amazon continues

The IDB issue

The Georgetown University professor says that the IDB president today could be a Latin American, had Brazil not given its decisive support to Trump’s candidate, Claver-Carone.

“There were some very privileged relations with President Trump and (decisions) very close to Brazil. This happened in the case of the IDB,” says Valenzuela.

Health professional collects nose sample from an Ecuadorian woman for examination of covid-19

Credit, Reuters

Photo caption,

Latin America has been severely affected by the virus and its economy will suffer because of it

One of the first turns in Biden’s foreign policy towards Trump will be on the situation of immigrants, says Valenzuela.

“Biden is not going to repeat, in any way, the speech against immigrants, the shameful speech against Latin Americans. Against those who are trying to reach the United States. He will protect those who are seeking asylum according to the law,” he says.

In Obama’s second term, when he was vice president, Biden was responsible for Latin American issues and visited countries in the region.

For Valenzuela, due to his knowledge of Latin America, the likely future president of the United States understands the situation of Venezuelans and Cubans who are trying to reach North American territory.

“Disdain for immigrants was a pillar of Trump’s policy. That will change. Biden will change the tone with all countries and not just with Mexicans who want to reach the United States. They are not all rapists, as Trump said,” he said. Valenzuela.

American flag behind a barbed fence on the US border with Mexico

Credit, Getty Images

Photo caption,

The US government under Trump has tightened the rules for anyone trying to cross the border

Venezuela and Cuba

Valenzuela says that Trump’s stance on Venezuela, ruled by Nicolás Maduro, has failed to resolve the “humanitarian catastrophe”. According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, there are more than four million Venezuelan immigrants and refugees in the world.

“The policy towards Venezuela should not be just with some Latin American allies, it should be a multilateral effort”, says the professor.

Trump said in one of the debates with Biden that Obama had had “cages” built for immigrants. Valenzuela disputes: “This is a lie. It is not true that Obama made cages for immigrants. What was done, and that for many people was controversial, is that there were people who had committed crimes in the United States and what was sought was , in some cases, repatriate them. But that of the cages and the separation of families was something that President Trump implemented in violation of all people’s rights. “

Valenzuela says the fluid relationship between Trump and the president of Mexico, Manuel López Obrador, is also a case of acting personally. “With Biden, a normal and not improvised treatment will be sought,” he said.

The Georgetown University professor also says that Obama’s strategy for Cuba “was not a policy of understanding with (Raúl) Castro or of supporting the Cuban government”, but of “trying to strengthen the relationship between US and Cuban citizenship, before one of the last authoritarian governments in the world “.

“The Cuban government controls everything, wages and even what Cubans can eat. This policy from 50 years ago has not worked. I think a lot of people in the Democratic Party want to go back to that Obama policy, and that is not strengthening an authoritarian government. , but give more to the people of Cuba so that they can evolve into a democratic system “, says the former aide to Clinton and Obama.


Valenzuela also says that the dispute between the United States and China in the Trump era did not benefit the Americans.

In his view, if elected, Biden will not pursue a policy of confrontation with other countries, “but of dialogue”.


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