As the world heads to Glasgow, Scotland, to attend the Climate Summit, President Jair Bolsonaro has decided he has more important things to do for Europe: in the days when he could be at the biggest diplomatic event in years trying to find a deal for the planet, the Brazilian chose to pay homage to the country’s military who fought in World War II, in Italy, and pay a visit to the city of his ancestors, in the north of the European country.
The president begins his tour of Italy on Friday. He participates on Saturday and Sunday at the G-20 summit in Rome. From there, many of the leaders will travel directly to Glasgow, where the Climate Summit (COP26) begins on Sunday itself. Scotland’s government expects about a hundred foreign leaders.
But the Brazilian has other plans. On November 1st, he will visit the small town of Anguillara Veneta, from where his ancestors left in 1870 to migrate to Brazil. The local mayor, Alessandra Buoso, caused outrage when she got the approval of local politicians for the president to receive the title of honorary citizen.
The party will cost the city’s coffers 9,000 euros, 60% of the village’s entire annual budget for events throughout the year. Pressed by councilors over his decision, Buoso explained that he had no option. From Matteo Salvini’s populist extreme-right party, the mayor hinted that it was the Brazilian government who made contact.
As the president travels to see his grandparents’ location, talks will be starting in Glasgow to determine CO2 emissions and an understanding of the future of humanity.
But on the 2nd, Bolsonaro will have another stop in Italy. This time in Pistoia, also in the north of the country.
The Brazilian Military Cemetery of Pistoia is located in the city, where members of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force who fought in World War II were buried. Today, the site serves as a monument to honor the Brazilian fighters who liberated several cities around Italy.
In the last months of the war, Brazil sent a military contingent of about 25,000 men to Italy. The bodies of 462 dead Brazilian soldiers and officers were buried near Pistoia.
A trip marked by protests and controversies
As with Bolsonaro on other trips abroad, the events of the coming days will once again be marked by protests. In Rome, collectives are mobilizing to organize protests against the Brazilian president, including in Piazza Navona. It is there that Bolsonaro’s delegation will stay at the Brazilian embassy in Rome.
But protests will also take place in Anguillara Veneta, led by local clerics and opposition groups. On Monday, an event is being scheduled in the central square of the small village to demand clarification from the city about the event with Bolsonaro.
But the president also hopes to have support. In the Italian capital, a group of evangelicals is rehearsing an act favorable to the Brazilian.