Lula will visit Biden on Friday afternoon
Brazil’s leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, traveled to Washington on Thursday, invited to the White House by President Joe Biden on a visit that will focus on support for Brazilian democracy and shared environmental commitments.
According to official sources, Lula’s first visit to the White House in his third term, which began on January 1, will have an essentially “political” content, but also a commercial aspect and others focused on the environment and human rights.
Relations between the two largest democracies in the Western Hemisphere had cooled during the tenure of Lula’s predecessor, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, an ally of former US Republican President Donald Trump.
Lula will visit Biden on Friday afternoon, after meeting with Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic lawmakers in the morning.
The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations said that support for democracy, human rights and the environment will be at the center of Lula’s agenda in Washington.
Brazil also wants more countries to contribute to the $1 billion Amazon Fund created by Germany and Norway to finance rainforest conservation and sustainable development.
FILE PHOTO. An aerial view shows deforestation near a forest in the Amazon (REUTERS / Amanda Perobelli)
Lula’s delegation includes the Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, as well as the Ministers of Finance, Fernando Haddad, and of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco.
Brazil this week reinforced its commitment to protect the Amazon rainforest by launching an operation against illegal gold miners who have devastated the Yanomami indigenous reserve in northern Brazil.
Lula’s predecessor relaxed environmental protections, encouraging mining and logging in the Amazon and allowing deforestation in the region to reach its highest level in 15 years.
“Brazil is again an active player in the climate change talks and seeks the participation and financial commitment of other countries,” said Michel Arslanian, secretary for the Americas at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Lula affirms that the carbon credit market agreed in the Kyoto Protocol, which has been in force since 2005, is a reality.
“Rich countries talk a lot about such a carbon credit but never show up when it’s time to pay,” he declared last week.
In the same framework, Lula believes that Brazil can attract investment from the United States for the development of renewable energies, for which it has enormous potential and incipient projects, especially in the area of green hydrogen.
Latin America’s largest nation is also interested in preferential access to the US defense market and sales of Pentagon equipment, Arslanian told reporters.
Asked about the pressure from the US government for Brasilia to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, the diplomat said that Brazil remains neutral and advocates dialogue to achieve peace.
Lula’s meeting with Biden represents a show of support for Brazil’s democratic institutions, which have come under strain with Bolsonaro’s refusal to acknowledge his defeat in the October elections and the storming of government buildings by his supporters on January 8, a week after the presidential inauguration.
(With information from Reuters and EFE)
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