Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with members of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration following his inauguration on Monday. The two sides discussed their planned approach to isolating socialist dictatorships in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
“We have an opportunity to work alongside each other against authoritarian regimes,” Pompeo told reporters after meeting with Brazil’s new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo.
Pompeo’s remarks came after he attended Bolsonaro’s inauguration alongside other foreign leaders including Israeli and Hungarian Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Viktor Orban and Bolivian strongman Evo Morales. In his inaugural address, Bolsonaro promised to “liberate” Brazil from socialist ideology, while shifting his focus to the promotion of conservative values.
“Brazil will return to being a country free of ideological constrictions,” he declared. “I will divide power in a progressive, conscientious and responsible way.”
“We have a unique opportunity before us to reconstruct our country and rescue the hope of our compatriots,” he continued. “We are going to unite the people, rescue the family, respect religions and our Judeo-Christian tradition, combat genre ideology, conserving our values.”
President Donald Trump responded to the remarks on Twitter, lauding it as a “great inauguration speech.”
Congratulations to President @JairBolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech – the U.S.A. is with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2019
“Dear Mr. President @realDonaldTrump, I truly appreciate your words of encouragement,” Bolsonaro responded shortly after. “Together, under God’s protection, we shall bring prosperity and progress to our people.”
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) January 1, 2019
The isolation of leftist regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua are reportedly a high priority for both administrations. While the U.S. has imposed a range of economic sanctions, Bolsonaro rescinded invitations to his inauguration to governments from all three countries, citing their anti-democratic positions.
Bolsonaro has previously spoken about how Brazil has an “obligation” to support and embolden anti-communist movements around the world, although his willingness to do so may be at odds with the interest of Brazil’s economy. Despite his apparent hostility, Bolivia’s Morales and Chinese Communist Party envoys were present at Tuesday’s ceremony.
There is little doubt that Bolsonaro’s control over Latin America’s largest country will be received well in Washington, as his administration is planning to align Brazil’s foreign policy closely with that of the White House on issues such as pushback against China the and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Last month, Trump’s National Security adviser John Bolton traveled to Rio de Janeiro to meet with Bolsonaro, where he celebrated the “historic opportunity for Brazil and the United States to work together [on] a whole host of areas [including] economics, security and a range of others.”