Donald Trump praises Jair Bolsonaro, opens door to Brazil′s ambitions | News | DW | 19.03.2019
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Donald Trump praises Jair Bolsonaro, opens door to Brazil's ambitions

Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, described as the "Trump of the Tropics," has received warm praise from the US original, Donald. At a meeting in Washington, the two men announced a new, special relationship.

Watch video 01:04

Trump and Bolsonaro swap soccer shirts

After the two men exchanged soccer shirts, there was both praise and encouragement from President Donald Trump as he opened the door toward Brazil joining international organizations. He predicted a "fantastic working relationship" with President Jair Bolsonaro. 

"I ... intend to designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally or even possibly, if you start thinking about it, maybe a NATO ally," Trump said. This would give Brazil preferential access to the purchase of US military equipment and technology. Colombia became the first South American country to join the bloc in 2018. "I'll have to talk to a lot of people but maybe a NATO ally, which will greatly advance security and cooperation between our countries." 

"I think there was a lot of hostility with other presidents, there's zero hostility with me," Trump said. 

Trump of the Tropics

The far-right Bolsonaro became Brazil's president in January and has been criticised for making sexist, racist, and homophobic statements.  

In the White House on Tuesday, Bolsonaro set out common cause with the Trump presidency: "Brazil and the United States are tied by the guarantee of liberty, respect for the traditional family, the fear of God our creator, against gender identity, political correctness and fake news," Bolsonaro said.

Trump praised Bolsonaro's son, congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, who came to Washington in 2018 wearing a Trump 2020 campaign hat. 

Read moreOpinion: Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro tries to woo Donald Trump

Support for the wall

On Monday, Bolsonaro had praised Trump's immigration policies during a Fox News interview: "We do agree with President Trump's decision or proposal on the wall." 

However, when he also said "The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions. They do not intend to do the best or do good to the US people," he was met with serious objections to his remarks from Brazilians, many of them posted on social media. As a result, Bolsonaro qualified his comments on Tuesday saying: "I meant to say that a little part of the people who immigrate don't have good intentions and I made a mistake. I apologize for that."

Other points of interest from the meeting included:

  • Trump's support for Brazil's efforts to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). But in exchange he would ask for the South American state to give up some of its World Trade Organization (WTO) benefits.
  • Options for a launch base for US commercial satellites from Alcantara, on the north coast of Brazil 
  • Discussions over Brazil's northern neighbor Venezuela, with Trump again saying "all options are on the table." Both the US and Brazil have recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president. 

On Monday, Bolsonaro visited the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency, along with his Justice Minister, Sergio Moro. 

jm/rt (Reuters, AP)

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