U.S. national security adviser visits Brazil, meets with Bolsonaro

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan meets Brazil's Defence Minister Walter Souza Braga Netto in Brasilia
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Brazil’s Defence Minister Walter Souza Braga Netto walk after a meeting at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Brasilia, Brazil August 5, 2021 Picture taken through glass. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

August 6, 2021

BRASILIA (Reuters) – U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan met on Thursday with Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on a visit focused on democracy and regional security, climate change and cooperation in response to COVID-19.

Sullivan’s visit was the highest-level U.S. visit to Brazil since the Biden administration took office almost eight months ago and was aimed at advancing ties between the hemisphere’s two largest democracies, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

It came amid a growing political clash between Bolsonaro and Brazil’s judiciary over his insistence that the electronic voting system was open to fraud and should be changed.

His opponents say Bolsonaro, like former U.S. President Donald Trump, is sowing doubts in case he loses next year’s election. He has threatened not to accept the result.

Sullivan also met with three state governors from the Amazon to discuss their plans and strategies to combat climate change, deforestation and illegal mining, and protect indigenous rights.

The governors met last week by videoconference with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, sidestepping Bolsonaro, in the first of several meetings with foreign powers to seek funding for conservation projects aimed at stopping climate change.

Bolsonaro has rolled back environmental enforcement and called for construction on protected areas since taking office in 2019, contributing to a surge in Amazon deforestation.

Sullivan offered funding and technology for sustainable economic development in the Amazon, Piauí state governor Helder Barbalho told reporters after the meeting, where the governors said they were committed to stopping illegal administration.

Sullivan’s delegation met with representatives of Brazilian government agencies and technology companies developing future telecommunications networks, the embassy statement said. They discussed using Open RAN technology in future 5G networks in Brazil, as well as the importance of information security, the embassy said.

The United States has opposed the use of 5G equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on security grounds, though Brazilian telecom companies have already built networks largely with Chinese components.

(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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