President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) canceled a meeting he would have with the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on Monday (4). On a visit to Brazil, he would also be received at a luncheon at the Itamaraty.
Before going to Brasília, Rebelo has meetings in São Paulo, on Sunday (3), with two former Brazilian presidents: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) and Michel Temer (MDB). An interlocutor heard in reserve said that Bolsonaro was irritated by the Portuguese’s agenda with Lula, his main opponent in the elections.
The information was initially published by Lauro Jardim, from the newspaper O Globo, and confirmed by Sheet.
On the afternoon of this Friday (1st), Bolsonaro confirmed to CNN Brasil the cancellation of the agenda due to Rebelo’s meeting with the PT. according to the broadcaster. “He [Rebelo] would have a meeting with Lula.”
As president, Rebelo is head of state in Portugal. The government command is exercised by the prime minister, the socialist António Costa. This is the second time that Rebelo has come to Brazil in less than a year – in July 2021, he participated in the reopening of the Museum of the Portuguese Language, in São Paulo.
Bolsonaro did not attend the event, but the Portuguese leader met with the president at Palácio da Alvorada, in Brasília. The head of the Planalto did not attend the reopening so as not to meet the then governor of São Paulo, João Doria (PSDB), a political opponent. “We invited the president, who unfortunately preferred to ride a motorcycle in Presidente Prudente”, said Doria at the time.
At Lisbon airport, minutes before boarding to celebrate the centenary of the first transatlantic Portugal-Brazil flight, Rebelo said that “it’s not worth wasting a second with lunch when there is friendship between peoples”. “What matters is the friendship between peoples, not the connection between politicians.”
He kept the program in the country, where he will meet, in addition to PT, also former president Michel Temer (MDB). “Whoever invites is who can decide whether or not to keep the lunch,” said Rebelo, who will also try to meet another former Brazilian leader, the toucan Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
Despite Portugal maintaining important economic, social and cultural ties with Brazil, relations between the leaders of the two countries remained distant during the Bolsonaro administration. The Brazilian president, for example, has not visited Portugal during his term so far — unlike all leaders since redemocratization, with the exception of Itamar Franco.
Rebelo’s previous visit took place during an acute period of the pandemic, and the meeting had repercussions in the Portuguese press due to the difference in behavior of the two delegations. The Portuguese leader and his aides arrived at Palácio da Alvorada wearing masks, while Bolsonaro dismissed the item.
The Brazilian leader has a history of friction with government officials he considers close to Lula.
The relationship with the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, is marked by criticism and provocation. Bolsonaro, for example, did not travel to Buenos Aires to accompany the inauguration of the Peronist, contrary to diplomatic tradition. He adopted a similar stance and decided to miss the inauguration ceremonies of other leftist leaders in the region, including Gabriel Boric (Chile) and Luis Arce (Bolivia).
Bolsonaro also frequently criticizes French President Emmanuel Macron. In late 2021, the head of the Eliseu received Lula with pomp in Paris, which also angered the Brazilian leader’s allies.
Collaborated Naief Haddad, from Lisbon