On the last Monday in April, while the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, was received by his Brazilian counterpart Carlos França, at Itamaraty, the Turkish ambassador in Montevideo was summoned to explain the passage of his two days before by Uruguay. Çavuşoğlu started a tour that included Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela. Çavuşoğlu left a trail of indignation on his official visit to Uruguay.
When confronted with protesters who were carrying out an act of memory and repudiation of the genocide of the Armenians, perpetrated at the beginning of the last century by the then Turkish-Ottoman Empire, Minister Çavuşoğlu, with a wide smile on his face, made a gesture identified as one of the hallmarks from the ultranationalist group gray wolveswhich among the various atrocities, justifies the massacre of the Armenians.
President Luis Lacalle Pou did not like it. In addition to calling the Turk’s behavior regrettable, he sent a message to Ankara, which has been struggling to sign a free trade agreement with the Uruguayans. “Advancing trade issues with any country in the world does not mean sharing internal or external policies,” said Lacalle Pou, showing that little Uruguay is a giant in the defense of democratic values.
Çavuşoğlu’s abominable behavior caused no embarrassment in Brazil. In addition to not having overshadowed the brilliance of the visit, it did not prevent the Turk from winning an audience with President Jair Bolsonaro as a bonus. A prestige that is not always given to other chancellors passing through Brazil.
Çavuşoğlu’s disgusting behavior wouldn’t even be necessary to put the affair with Turkey as part of the recent anomalies at Itamaraty. Turkey has long taken the path of autocracies and works in favor of many others. Maduro’s Venezuela, for example, has in the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan one of its main bases for the laundering of assets. Much of the gold smuggled in by the regime passes through Turkey.
In an interval of two months, Brazil started to have a company of very strange people. He fell in love with Russia on the issue of the invasion of Ukraine, hiding the relationship through abstentions after abstentions in votes contrary to Moscow’s interests.
At the end of February, as if that weren’t enough, Brazil acted in favor of Iran’s terrorist actions in Yemen. He abstained in a UN Security Council vote that imposed an arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthis. The radical Shiite group that, supported by Iran and Hezbollah, has started a civil war in Yemen where it tries to overthrow the Sunni-oriented government.
The sanctions came after it was found that, with Iran’s support, Houthi terrorists carried out several drone and missile attacks against the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as part of an effort to escalate the conflict in the region.
Brazil’s position of “neutrality” led the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Israel to speak with the Brazilian government to try to understand the reasons why Brazil climbed the wall in that vote. They knocked on the president’s door as if he were responsible for the skids.
Few people paid attention, but ten days before speaking out in favor of the Iranian ayatollahs in the Security Council, Brazil sent the then minister Tereza Cristina to Iran to negotiate an increase in fertilizer shipments. The same pretext that threw Brazil into Putin’s lap.
Brazil’s “fertilizer diplomacy” has led the country to walk a very fine line between diplomacy and the pure defense of foreign interests. Nothing is more evident in this sense than the Brazilian efforts against the “sanctions” that the United States imposed on Iran and Russia. The Brazilian news is full of complaints about them. Minister France himself says he is making an effort to overthrow them.
But there is no sanction whatsoever on Russian and Iranian fertilizers. It is inexplicable for the head of diplomacy to keep saying what he says and making the president repeat it.
It is evident that, although the sanctions do not reach fertilizers, they create difficulties by hitting banks and transport companies, disrupting operations. But payment transactions carried out between Brazil and Iran have never been an unavoidable problem. Trade balance data are available to prove the strength of Brazil’s relations with Iran.
After decades of sanctions, the Iranians have set up an immense infrastructure that allows them to circumvent difficulties. In the case of Brazil, the regime maintains a network of companies registered in the name of Iranian and Brazilian citizens, but belonging to the theocratic State, which are responsible for receiving foreign trade operations.
When Minister France calls the US Secretary of State and asks the Americans to relieve the Iranians, he is not working to ease the fertilizer operations. He is, albeit unconsciously, joining the ayatollahs’ chorus for an end to sanctions. A type of lobby that bears the seal of the Brazilian government.
The outcome of freeing up credit operations or shipping companies that the Iranians blatantly use to fuel their clandestine nuclear program or finance terror under the guise of securing the fertilizer market is unreasonable and actually quite weird. Mistakes that are leading Brazil to position itself on a hair-raising axis.