Latin America

Brazil shelves its pro-democracy agenda in Latin America

Under pressure from China and agribusiness interests in Congress – and growing global concern over President Bolsonaro’s own behavior – Brazil does a foreign policy about-face

democracy President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the Santiago International Airport for a 2019 bilateral visit. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR
President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the Santiago International Airport for a 2019 bilateral visit. Photo: Marcos Corrêa/PR

Late in September, Chilean diplomats sought support for issuing a declaration condemning Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and questioning the legitimacy of the upcoming presidential election in the country. Mr. Ortega has done everything in his power to prevent the November race from being a fair contest, jailing several of his presumed adversaries. The document won the endorsement of six other countries — including the U.S. and Canada, two countries considered partners in the Jair Bolsonaro administration’s “pro-democracy” foreign policy agenda.

So it was to their surprise that Brazilian officials said they would not sign the joint statement.

Officially,...

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