President Jair Bolsonaro arrives in Washington D.C.

In what was the first main event in Jair Bolsonaro’s long-awaited trip to the U.S. to meet with Donald Trump, the Brazilian president attended a dinner held at the Washington home of Sérgio Amaral, the Brazilian ambassador to the U.S. The guest of honor, however, was not Mr. Bolsonaro—rather it was his ideological guru, the self-titled philosopher Olavo de Carvalho.

After the meal, Jair Bolsonaro called a toast to Mr. Carvalho, at which moment Paulo Guedes, the Economy Minister, lauded the ideologue as being “the leader of a revolution” in Brazil. Revolutionary would be one way of describing Olavo de Carvalho, a man who believes that fossil fuels “don’t exist,” and that Pepsi Cola is sweetened with the cells of aborted fetuses.

</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sunday&#8217;s dinner was a faithful illustration of the constant tug of war within a government which is held together by a paper-thin alliance of competing forces. On one side we have the military wing, which surrounded the Jair Bolsonaro campaign as it began to gain steam; on the other, the ideological core, backed up by Olavo de Carvalho and his anti-globalist disciples, the best examples of which being Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araújo.</span></p> <div id="attachment_14849" style="width: 778px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-14849" class="size-full wp-image-14849" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/steve-bannon-olavo-de-carvalho.jpg" alt="steve bannon olavo de carvalho" width="768" height="512" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/steve-bannon-olavo-de-carvalho.jpg 768w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/steve-bannon-olavo-de-carvalho-300x200.jpg 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/steve-bannon-olavo-de-carvalho-610x407.jpg 610w" sizes="(max-width: 768px) 100vw, 768px" /><p id="caption-attachment-14849" class="wp-caption-text">Steve Bannon and Olavo de Carvalho</p></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the middle, there is the economic team led by Paulo Guedes, desperate to mediate the tension between the two aforementioned forces and pass sweeping reforms. There is also the agricultural lobby, always looking to exact its pound of flesh in exchange for pushing Mr. Bolsonaro into the presidency, and the political wing, largely made up of members of the Social Liberal Party (PSL).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The military has had its moment in the sun in the early months of the administration. Amid a number of crises, the Armed Forces have positioned themselves as something of a voice of reason amid the chaos. Now, in Washington D.C., on Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s first official foreign visit, Olavo de Carvalho&#8217;s wing has taken center stage.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Saturday, Mr. Carvalho let fly at the military. He claimed Jair Bolsonaro was surrounded by members of the Armed Forces who are &#8220;pansies&#8221; with &#8220;putschist mentalities,&#8221; and forecast that the government would fall in six months unless changes were made.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For Paulo Guedes to then laud Mr. Carvalho came as a surprise. Mr. Guedes is seen by financial markets as the surety of the Bolsonaro government, and praising a man who believes Prince Charles is a Muslim spy comes as an intriguing beginning to Brazil&#8217;s visit to the U.S., which is unlikely to sit well with investors.</span></p> <h2>Mr. Bolsonaro goes to Washington</h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Brazilian president&#8217;s trip to the U.S. is the culmination of months of gestures toward Donald Trump, with the ideological wing of the government supporting full alignment with the current United States head of state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Tuesday, Mr. Bolsonaro will finally get the chance to meet Mr. Trump in a private engagement at the White House. The two are likely to discuss issues of defense, related to the situation in Venezuela and the signing of a technology safeguards agreement (TSA) to facilitate rocket launches from the </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/money/2019/03/11/brazil-usa-alcantara-space-station/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alcântara base in northeastern Brazil</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The U.S. president is keen to hear some sort of commitment from Mr. Bolsonaro with regard to promoting efforts to solve the Venezuela crisis.</span></p> <div id="attachment_14850" style="width: 676px" class="wp-caption alignnone"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-14850" class="size-full wp-image-14850" src="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/eduardo-bolsonaro-mbga.jpg" alt="eduardo bolsonaro mbga" width="666" height="375" srcset="https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/eduardo-bolsonaro-mbga.jpg 666w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/eduardo-bolsonaro-mbga-300x169.jpg 300w, https://brazilian.report/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/eduardo-bolsonaro-mbga-610x343.jpg 610w" sizes="(max-width: 666px) 100vw, 666px" /><p id="caption-attachment-14850" class="wp-caption-text">Eduardo Bolsonaro wears &#8220;Make Brazil Great Again&#8221; cap</p></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In terms of concrete results, Mr. Bolsonaro will also sign a commitment to </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/guide-to-brazil/2017/10/15/visa-travel-visit-brazil/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">waive visa requirements</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for U.S., Australian, Canadian, and Japanese citizens entering Brazilian soil. The chance of the U.S. offering any sort of reciprocity on this issue is close to none.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Speaking to </span><b>The Brazilian Report</b><span style="font-weight: 400;">, former chancellor Celso Amorim linked the visa waiver to the country &#8220;selling its self-esteem,&#8221; and downplayed the potential benefits it could bring to tourism. &#8220;I lived in the U.S. twice, and I never met a businessman or a common person who said they tried to go to Brazil but the visa [process] was so complicated that they gave up,&#8221; he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also <a href="https://exame.abril.com.br/brasil/o-que-bolsonaro-conseguira-e-o-que-nao-conseguira-nos-eua/">on the table</a> are less concrete measures involving trade and Brazil&#8217;s hopes of </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/money/2018/03/01/joining-oecd-mean-brazil/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">OECD membership</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Brazil is angling for a full endorsement from the U.S. to become a part of the 36-country strong intergovernmental organization, but such support is unlikely to take place this time around.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Undoubtedly, the main aim of Jair Bolsonaro&#8217;s visit to Washington is to show the international community that Donald Trump is on his side. However, questions have been asked about his methods, particularly that of cozying up to Mr. Trump&#8217;s former strategist Steve Bannon, a figure now ostracized by the U.S. government.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Bannon sat beside Jair Bolsonaro during Sunday&#8217;s dinner engagement, and on Saturday he hosted a screening of Olavo de Carvalho&#8217;s film &#8220;The Garden of the Afflicted&#8221; at the Trump International Hotel. The ideological wing of the Bolsonaro government is tightly linked to Mr. Bannon, with Eduardo Bolsonaro—the Brazilian </span><a href="https://brazilian.report/power/2019/02/25/bolsonaro-brothers-government/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">president&#8217;s third son</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">—appointed as the Latin American representative of Steve Bannon&#8217;s &#8220;populist international,&#8221; The Movement.

Read the full story NOW!

BY The Brazilian Report

We are an in-depth content platform about Brazil, made by Brazilians and destined to foreign audiences.