Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) is once again skeptical of the election process, while US Under-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has suggested that the military should oversee the counting of votes for the 2022 presidential election. In Brazil, “what should happen is free and fair elections, using institutional structures that have served you (Brazilians) well in the past”.
Nuland, who is in charge of political affairs in American diplomacy under the command of Antony Blinken, was in Brazil a few weeks ago with a senior American delegation. Diplomats of the two countries discussed cooperation in defense and agriculture, among other issues.
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On this occasion, the Americans once again expressed their “confidence in Brazilian democracy”. However, according to Nuland, the Nuland government and opposition warned of the risk of Russian interference in this year’s elections.
Bolsonaro, a candidate for re-election and second place in the polls, made a series of comments without providing any evidence, claiming that electronic voting machines were weak, and attacked the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE), which conducted the process.
Last week, the Reuters news agency reported that in July 2021, CIA director of the American intelligence agency William Burns would have warned Bolsonaro’s direct advisers to the president, who at the time was already raising doubts about the smoothness of the United States. In the electoral process, it should stop questioning the integrity of the country’s elections.
Both Bolsonaro and General Augusto Heleno, head of the Office of Institutional Security (GSI), will be present at the meeting, denying that this happened.
When asked what the US would do in the event of a coup attempt in the country, Nuland said, “We want free and fair elections in countries around the world and especially in democracies. We evaluate the legitimacy of those who claim to have been elected accordingly. If the election were free and fair and internal and external observers agree. We want to see free and fair elections in Brazil for the Brazilian people”.
By citing outside observers, Nuland implicitly touches on another sensitive point in the current political debate in Brazil. After the TSE sent dozens of invitations to foreign institutions to follow the elections, in October Itamaraty complained about the invitation to the European Union and TSE was forced to step back. Bolsonaro also launched public criticism of the presence of observers who have been watching the Brazilian elections since at least 1994.
Brazil and the United States are undergoing a “re-adjustment” in their relations after the Brazilian president’s visit to Moscow in February, days before Russian leader Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of neighboring Ukraine, caused unease among Americans. There is expectation among Brazilian diplomats that Bolsonaro and Biden will speak face-to-face for the first time in Los Angeles (USA) during the Americas Summit in June.
Read the key excerpts from the interview below, edited for brevity and clarity.
BBC News Brazil – The US has recently changed its stance on Russia: it talks about ‘weakening’ the country, sending top officials and parliamentarians (such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi) to Kiev, training Ukrainian soldiers. Doesn’t this new stance risk adding to Putin’s statement that this is a war of the West against Russia and increasing the likelihood of nuclear war? What does the US have to gain from this new approach?
Victoria Nuland – I would say that our attitude towards Russia is a direct response to the fact that Putin and his army have invaded Ukraine and the brutal aggression they have inflicted in the country, including the types of war crimes we saw in Bucha and Kramatorsk. And 141 countries, along with the USA, Brazil and many other countries, went to the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly and said ‘no’ to Russian aggression.
That is why we must name everything by name, and this is not only a brutal war against Ukraine, but also a violation of all the principles of the UN Charter and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries. We have been defending the rule of law, the global rules that have ensured peace and security for all these years and that Russia is now openly violating.
BBC News Brazil – Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is the favorite to win the 2022 election according to election polls, recently told US President Joe Biden in an interview with Time magazine, got on in A plane bound for Moscow to deter Russian leader Vladimir Putin from war. How does the US respond to this criticism?
Nuland – First of all, President Biden talked to President Putin two, three, four times before this war, argued with him. As you may remember, the USA discovered these war plans at the end of October and began to warn the world that Putin had these plans in November, December, January and February.
And during that time, President Biden has worked hard to try to persuade President Putin not to go to war and instead take a diplomatic path, work with us, work with NATO allies (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and Ukraine. , to negotiate concerns he has about Russian security views in Ukraine. And we offer to help. We had a round of talks.
(Russian) concerns about western weapons etc. We presented a ten-page proposal that looked at all sorts of things. But instead of coming to the diplomatic table, President Putin chose to invade and invade in a very, very bloody way. That’s why we don’t believe you’re listening to anyone.
BBC News Brazil – Brazilian President Bolsonaro recently proposed to the Turkish government a joint mission to Moscow to participate in negotiations to end the war. Would the US welcome this initiative?
Nuland – We have no problem with any global leader trying to persuade Putin to end this war. And many have already tried. President Putin is not listening. Thats the problem. So if you’re going to Moscow, if you’re not very careful, you seem to support Putin’s war, especially since he hasn’t shown any change of mind during his recent phone calls and visits.
BBC News Brazil – About a week before the start of the war in Ukraine, two major Latin American leaders, the presidents of Angentina and Brazil, went to Moscow to meet with Putin. What does this say about US relations with these countries in the region?
Nuland – We knew these visits would come. We call on both Brazil and Argentina to give Putin the same message that President Biden and Russian officials at all levels, publicly and privately, sent, this war not only for Ukraine but also for Russia, for Putin’s leadership and administration. We invite you to give the message that there will be a disaster. For its economy and military position. From what we understand, both leaders tried to persuade Putin on both visits, but Putin was not listening. So that’s the problem, Putin doesn’t listen to anyone.
BBC News Brasil – Presidential elections will be held in Brazil this year. Does the US have any concerns or reason to believe that the Russians will try to interfere or interfere in the process?
Nuland – We obviously have concerns. We’ve seen Russia interfere in elections around the world, including the United States and Latin America. Therefore, during my last visit to Brazil, I urged the government and the opposition to be extremely vigilant to ensure that outside forces do not manipulate the electoral environment in any way. This is supposed to be a choice for Brazilians by Brazilians about their own future.
BBC News Brasil – As in the US in 2020, Bolsonaro casts doubt on the electoral process in Brazil beforehand, demanding that the military participate in the vote count and says he may not recognize the results. How does the US view such statements?
Nuland – We believe Brazil has one of the strongest electoral systems in Latin America. You have strong institutions, strong guarantees, a strong legal basis. So what needs to happen are free and fair elections, using your institutional structures that have served you well in the past. We trust your electoral system. Brazilians also need to be confident.
BBC News Brasil – What would the US do if there were any attempts to disrupt the election results in the country?
Nuland – We want free and fair elections in countries around the world, and especially in democracies. We evaluate the legitimacy of those who claim to have been elected according to whether the election was free and fair and whether internal and external observers agree with it. We want to see free and fair elections in Brazil for the Brazilian people. You have a long tradition in this regard. And that’s the most important thing to push Brazil’s power forward.
BBC News Brazil – Fertilizers are a critical source of supply for food production and Brazil is facing a shortage of produce, mostly imported from Russia. Will the United States support the creation of a safe corridor or a safe route for Russian ships carrying fertilizers to Brazil, as the Brazilian president recently asked the World Trade Organization director?
Nuland – A global fertilizer shortage and a shortage in Brazil are a direct result of Putin’s decision to start this war. As far as I understand, the only thing preventing Russian fertilizer from reaching the market is the war launched by Putin.
So what the US is trying to do is work with countries like Brazil. And Minister Blinken said that in a few weeks, food, security and fertilizer etc. to help countries that need fertilizer like Brazil. will hold a meeting on these issues to which Brazil is invited. And then we can help feed the world with fertilizers, because we also have many food-insecure countries that rely on grain from Ukraine.
While in Brazil, we worked on a US Department of Agriculture project to see how you use fertilizers on your (Brazilian) crops. We are trying to increase fertilizer production in the USA.
We’re working with Canada and other countries to accelerate this so you have a very strong crop so you can feed yourself and your usual export partners, but you can also help feed the world (for Brazil) As with oil, with Brazilian oil production increasing at this time of world need Being generous with food.