Brazil’s Lula to Visit White House for ‘In-Depth’ Meeting on ‘Wide-Ranging Shared Agenda’

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
January 10, 2023International

President Joe Biden held a telephone conversation with Brazil’s newly-elected president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the White House announced on Monday, noting that the socialist leader will visit Washington in early February “for in-depth consultations on a wide-ranging shared agenda.”

In a joint statement released by Biden and Lula, the two leaders pledged to work closely on issues such as climate change, economic development, and peace and security.

“Biden conveyed the unwavering support of the United States for Brazil’s democracy and for the free will of the Brazilian people as expressed in Brazil’s recent presidential election, which President Lula won,” the statement reads.

Since the outcome of Brazil’s national election on Oct. 30, 2022—in which Lula won 50.9 percent to former President Jair Bolsonaro’s 49.1 percent—mass protests have been held in the country by Bolsonaro supporters, of whom many allege election results were fraudulent or unreliable.

On Jan. 8, a week after Lula took office on Jan. 1, a demonstration in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, turned violent when a large crowd of protesters stormed government buildings and destroyed windows of the presidential palace while  smashing furniture in Congress and the Supreme Court.

In Monday’s statement, Biden “condemned the violence and the attack on democratic institutions and on the peaceful transfer of power.”

A day earlier, White House adviser Jake Sullivan said Biden “is following the situation closely,” while also noting that U.S. support for Brazil’s democratic institutions is “unwavering.”

In another joint statement issued from Mexico City, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Biden condemned the attack “on Brazil’s democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power.”

Biden arrived in Mexico on Jan. 8 to attend the North American Leader’s Summit,  a joint gathering of the three North American leaders, dubbed the “Three Amigos” summit.

NTD Photo
President Joe Biden (C), Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) and Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrive for the North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS) in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Nov. 18, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Bolsonaro Condemns Storming of Government Buildings

In posts on Twitter late on Jan. 8, Bolsonaro also condemned the attacks on government buildings and pushed back against Lula who had blamed him for the riot.

“Peaceful demonstrations, in the form of the law, are part of democracy,” Bolsonaro said, per a translated version of the Twitter post. “However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule.”

“In addition, I repudiate the accusations, without evidence, attributed to me by the current head of the executive of Brazil,” he added. “Throughout my mandate, I have always been within the four lines of the Constitution, respecting and defending the laws, democracy, transparency, and our sacred freedom.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to press in Brasilia, Brazil, on Nov. 1, 2022. (Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Bolsonaro has neither publicly conceded nor emphatically cried election fraud, though he and his party submitted a request to annul ballots cast on most electronic voting machines, arguing some of the machines were flawed and votes from them should be invalidated.

Alexandre de Moraes, the head of Brazil’s electoral court, rejected the complaint from Bolsonaro’s allies that seeks to challenge the presidential election.

Since 1996, Brazilians have used an electronic voting system that security experts consider less secure than hand-marked paper ballots because the system leaves no auditable paper trail. But Brazil’s system is closely scrutinized, and domestic authorities and international observers have never found evidence of it being exploited to commit fraud.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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