Lula says Brazil is no more divided than the US when it comes to Biden

New York

President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said divisions in his country are no worse than political divisions in the United States, in an exclusive CNN interview Friday ahead of his meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House.

“There are divisions here as well, much more, or as severe as in Brazil – Democrats and Republicans are very divided. Love it or leave it, that’s more or less what’s going on,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Washington, adding that Brazil doesn’t have “a culture of hate.”

Both Lula and Biden saw government buildings demolished after their presidential elections by far-right elements that have posed major tests to their respective democracies.

“We could never have imagined that in a country that was once a symbol of democracy in the world – someone would try to invade the Capitol,” he said of the Capitol riots on June 6. January 2021 in the United States.

Similarities between the January 8 attack on Brasilia and the US uprising include former President Jair Bolsonaro. closely associated with former US President Donald Trump.

Lula called Bolsonaro a “loyal copycat of Trump,” saying that both men “don’t like unions… They don’t like workers, they don’t like women. They don’t like black people.”

Both former leaders are Criticized many times in their terms to use racist and misleading language.

Even so, Lula does not believe that all Bolsonaro supporters follow his views. “I believe that not all those who voted for Bolsonaro are Bolsonarians,” he said.

After his election defeat, Bolsonaro moved to the United States. He has lived near Orlando, Florida for more than a month, prompting some Democratic lawmakers to call for him to leave the country.

Will Lula ask Biden to help extradite Bolsonaro back to Brazil? “I don’t know, I’m not going to talk to President Biden about that, it’s going to be up to the court,” he replied. “One day he has to go back to Brazil and face all the lawsuits against him.”

Bolsonaro faces “almost 12 lawsuits against him in Brazil, there will be more,” Lula said, adding that he believes his former rival will “be convicted in a court of law.” number of international courts for genocide with Covid (outbreak) because half of the people who died in Brazil during Covid are the responsibility of the federal government.”

He also alleges that Bolsonaro could be “punished” by the court for “genocide of the Yanomami indigenous people” after illegal mining in their protected territory spiked during his tenure.

Supreme Court of Brazil ordered an investigation to determine whether the actions of the Bolsonaro government were the “genocide” of the Yanomami people who have seen disease and malnutrition ravage their communities over the past four years .

Bolsonaro has previously called such accusations a “leftist farce” on his official telegram channel.

Lula’s conversation with Biden on Friday was expected focus around combating climate change and addressing anti-democratic extremism.

While Lula believes “democracy will prevail” in Brazil, he worries about the rise of far-right groups around the world.

“It’s in Brazil, it’s in Spain, it’s in France, and they’re in Hungary, in Germany. We have an organized far-right group in the world and if we’re not careful, this will be the Nazi attitude from there. This is an attitude of denial that we have never seen before,” he said.

He agreed that there was more work to be done in Brazil on climate, saying the country’s pledge to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 39%” would have to include rewarding “local mayors and governors, who make sure not to burn forests anymore.”

By sending an invitation to Lula to visit the White House soon, Biden hopes to cultivate closer ties and show his support for one of the key figures of the Western Hemisphere.

Biden was quick to phone Lula after his win late last year, hoping to show support after Bolsonaro laid the groundwork for questioning the election results. The move was warmly received by Lula officials, who saw it as a sign Biden was looking to restore US-Brazil relations.

They’ve met before—when Biden was vice president, he met Lula on the sidelines of a gathering in Chile. But as partners, they will seek to deepen the traditionally important bilateral relationship in the Western Hemisphere, which has been strained in recent years by the stark contrasts of Biden and Mr. Bolsonaro.

Despite much in common, Lula – like many leaders in middle-income and developing countries – adopted a policy of non-intervention in the war in Ukraine.

He has rejected efforts led by Biden to unite the global community to fight Russia’s invasion.

Speaking to CNN, Lula said Ukraine has the right to defend itself “because the invasion was a mistake by Russia”.

He explained that he refused to provide ammunition to Ukraine because, “I don’t want to go to war. I want to end the war.”

Lula has sought to become a global statesman who could broker a truce between Russia and Ukraine, telling CNN he started this “work” by talking to the German Chancellor, who visited Brazil in January.

“I want to talk about peace with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. I want to talk about peace with President Biden, I want to talk about peace with (Chinese leader) Xi Jinping. I want to talk about peace with India, with Indonesia… because for me, the world will only develop if we have peace,” he said.

Another thing Lula shares with Biden is age. They are all elderly presidents: Biden is 80 years old, while Lula is 77 years old.

When asked about it, Lula said aging only exists for those who have no reason to fight.

He said: “I am 77 years old and … I have the energy and strength of a 30 year old. “I don’t sleep because my home is Brazilian – I have to improve the lives of my people.”


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