Monday, March 04, 2019

Brazilian Foreign Policy and Venezuela

Former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso wrote an op-ed about Venezuela (h/t Vinod Sreeharsha, a U.S. reporter in Brazil).

He argues that Donald Trump's basic goal is a unilateral global system dominated by the United States. That, he says, is not in Brazil's interest to support, especially because Trump will only be in the White House so long. It's bad for Brazil's image. That brings him to Venezuela, where he says Itamaraty needs to more forcefully reject U.S. policy:

Apoiar a oposição venezuelana é uma coisa. Imaginar que se deva fazer o que foi feito na Líbia, pensando que forças externas podem reconstruir a democracia no país, é ignorar os fatos. Os desatinos verbais têm sido de tal ordem que resta o consolo de ver os militares recordarem que temos uma tradição de altanaria e soberania a respeitar, soberania nossa e dos demais países. 
Bom mesmo seria ver o Itamaraty voltar a ser coerente com sua tradição: ressaltar e criticar o autoritarismo predominante na Venezuela, apoiar a oposição, dar acolhida às vítimas do arbítrio do atual governo e manter acesa a chama democrática. Abrir espaço para que terceiros países, mormente distantes da América do Sul, queiram resolver o drama político pela força não nos convém e fere nossas melhores tradições de atuação internacional.
Here is your basic Google Translate of it:
 Supporting the Venezuelan opposition is one thing. To imagine that one should do what has been done in Libya, thinking that external forces can rebuild democracy in the country, is to ignore the facts. The verbal nonsense has been such that there is the consolation of seeing the military remember that we have a tradition of haughtiness and sovereignty to respect, our sovereignty and the other countries. 
It would be good to see Itamaraty again consistent with its tradition: to emphasize and criticize the predominant authoritarianism in Venezuela, to support the opposition, to welcome the victims of the will of the current government and to keep the democratic flame burning. To open space for third countries, which are far from South America, to resolve the political drama by force, does not suit us and hurts our best traditions of international action.
Indeed, Brazil's traditional foreign policy is regional with a global look that has varied from president to president (with Lula it was very strong, less so with Dilma). The UN was a place for Brazil to make its mark, not fodder for empty globalist conspiracy theories. Under Bolsonaro, Brazil has no foreign policy identity beyond following Trump. In January I wrote about how Brazil would at any other time be taking a lead role to address the Venezuelan crisis, but now Bolsonaro is passive, almost subservient. FHC sees this as a problem for Brazil. At a minimum, it doesn't seem to advance Brazilian interests.


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