Trump Leads the Americas in Congratulating Jair Bolsonaro on Brazilian Election Victory

Jair Bolsonaro, far-right lawmaker and presidential candidate for the Social Liberal Party (PSL), gives thumbs up to supporters, during the second round of the presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

President Donald Trump was one of many leaders across the Americas to congratulate Jair Bolsonaro on his election victory in Brazil on Sunday, pledging the two nations would “work closely” together.

Bolsonaro achieved an expected victory over his socialist opponent Fernando Haddad with around 55 percent of the vote on Sunday evening, upending Brazil’s political establishment, whose leadership had been socialist for most of the 21st century.

“Had a very good conversation with the newly elected President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who won his race by a substantial margin,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We agreed that Brazil and the United States will work closely together on Trade, Military and everything else! Excellent call, wished him congrats!”

Other right-leaning presidents – including Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, Colombia’s Ivan Duque, and Chile’s Sebastian Piñera – also sent their congratulations, as Bolsonaro’s victory cements the almost complete collapse of Latin America’s leftist governments.

“I congratulate the Brazilian people for a clean and democratic election,” Piñera wrote. “I congratulate Jair Bolsonaro on his great electoral victory. I invite him to visit Chile and I am sure we will work with will, strength, and vision for the benefit of our peoples.”

“Congratulations to Jair Bolsonaro for his triumph in Brazil,” Macri said. “I hope to work together soon for the good of the relationship of our countries and the welfare of Argentines and Brazilians.”

“Congratulations to Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, who was elected democratically,” added Duque. “Our desire [is] for this new era in our neighboring country to be one of welfare and union. We hope to continue our fraternal relationship and strengthen our political, commercial, and cultural ties.”

Some of Latin America’s few remaining leftist leaders also sent their congratulations, including Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro and Ecuadorian leader Lenin Moreno. Bolsonaro made combating Venezuelan socialism a pillar of his campaign and previously pledged to help liberate Venezuela from Maduro’s rule.

“[The President] extends his sincere congratulations to the people of the Republic of Brazil with regards to their democratic process during the second electoral round on 28th October 2018, where the candidate Jair Bolsonaro was elected leader of this South American country,” Foreign Secretary Jorge Arreaza wrote in a press release.

“The Bolivarian Government uses this occasion to urge the new President-elect of Brazil to re-engage, as neighboring countries, on the road diplomatic relations based on respect, harmony, progress, and regional integration, for the welfare of our people,” the statement continued.

“Congratulations to the Brazilian people for this new democratic feat. Best wishes for your new President @JairBolsonaro,” Moreno added. “We hope to strengthen the traditional ties of friendship and work between the two nations.”

Other leaders further from the region, including Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini and French President Emmanuel Macron also conveyed their diplomatic respects.

The election has potentially large ramifications across the continent, as Brazil comprises nearly half of South America’s population as well as over half of its land mass. A former military paratrooper, the 63-year-old Bolsonaro has pledged a range of reforms including a crackdown on corruption and crime, cutting the size of the government, promoting Christian and socially conservative values such as maintaining Brazil’s abortion laws, and strengthening relations with the United States.

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