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Posted by portugalpress on January 03, 2019

President Marcelo has glossed over the ‘difficult questions’ surrounding his meeting yesterday with Brazil’s new hardline leader, Jair Bolsonaro.

For example, he “refused to comment” on the fact that the so-called “Trump of the Tropics” has vowed to “liberate Brazil from Socialism” (bearing in mind Portugal is supposedly thriving under a European form of Socialism) - and he declined to be drawn on the fact that he was the only European leader to celebrate Bolsonaro’s inauguration on Tuesday beyond Hungary’s own controversial hardliner Viktor Orban.

According to an opinion piece in Público, Orban, Trump and Bolsonaro are all part of the “same global fraud”. President Marcelo simply joined into the mix because of Portugal’s historic links with Brazil, which have “never been broken”.

And clearly Marcelo means to keep it that way.

His 15-minute meeting with Bolsonaro “was very good; formally very good, substantially very good” - and otherwise suitably vague.

The man who has been described as “targeting minorities in his first day in office” will be too busy to visit Portugal until 2020, but in 2020 we can expect he will be coming, say national papers.

Meantime, sweeping changes are afoot in Brazil, the kind akin to “putting the fox in charge of the hen house”, say opponents.

Courts, for example, will no longer decide over the demarcation of native land. That will be up to the government. Concerns of the LGBT community will no longer fall under the human rights ministry and there are to be spending cuts in health care for the indigenous.

International media will be focused on this “different international order” in close development with the United States, as President Trump has already tweeted his delight over Bolsonaro’s rise to power.

Present for the inauguration, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo was photographed pumping hands with the new minister in charge of foreign affairs, apparently there to discuss “joint efforts regarding the leftist administrations in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela”.

Pompeo told reporters that President Trump was “confident” the relationship between the US and Brazil would “benefit the world and the set of shared values that we believe we can together advance”.

President Marcelo’s 15 minutes thus kept to safe ground. It was a meeting “between brothers, and between brothers what has to be said is said quickly”, he told clamouring news teams.

Topics covered in a sense of fraternal speed were mobility of citizens in the context of the Portuguese speaking communities, and the situation of the EU/ Mercosul trading bloc.

Said reports here, President Marcelo “tried a light Brazilian accent when speaking to the Brazilian press”, but even so some channels chose to support his discourse with subtitles.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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