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Foreign Relations

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said, in a television interview 01 January 2019, remarked that Russia's support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has significantly increased regional tensions, and is a worrying development. "Russia has made a maneuver in Venezuela. We know the intention of Maduro's Government... and Brazil has to worry about it. Over the last 25 years, our Armed Forces have been abandoned because of a political issue, because we, the Armed Forces, are the last obstacle to socialism," Bolsonaro said.

A cornerstone of Bolsonaro's government will be the fight against the progressive National Popular governments of Latin America that ruled the region during the last decade and are still in some countries. Bolsonaro has already said that he will oppose the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, but his main objective is to continue the work of delegitimizing the Workers Party's (PT) governments of Lula and Dilma Rousseff.

Vice-president Hamilton Murao, a retired military general, has praised Brazil's intelligence and repression division during the military dictatorship, as has Bolsonaro, and referred to Carlos Brilhante Ustra as a "hero." Murao has spoken against relationships between countries of the Global South, the "diplomacy called South-South. From that point on we were involved with all that 'dirt-bag scum'."

The new Brazilian minister of Foreign Affairs, Ernesto Araujo has said that he believes that climate change is a ploy by “cultural Marxists” to asphyxiate Western economies and protome China’s growth, and characterized climates science as “dogma." As Reginaldo Lopes noted, the ministry of "Foreign Affairs is against diplomacy," Araujo will follow the prerogatives of Murao and Bolsonaro and will focus the Brazilian relationships towards the North-South relationships, instead of strengthening the relationships among the Global South countries. One of the countries that Brazil will prioritize will be Israel, as Bolsonaro stated, the relationships between both countries "are on the right track," when Bolsonaro spoke about the recent visit of Benjamin Netanyahu to the South American Country.

As part of his plan for international relationships, Bolsonaro vowed to unite the anti-communism in the Americas, as he said in early December 2018 when hosting the Conservative Summit of the Americas. For Eduardo Bolsonaro, Senator and son of Jair, "Latin America gets together to say no to socialism, no to the Sao Paulo Forum, we will not be the next Venezuela." The Bolsonaro government will target the Venezuelan, the Nicaraguan and the Cuban governments, but will probably also try to undermine and target other progressive governments in the region such as the Salvadorean of Sanchez Ceren, the Mexican led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the Bolivian led by Indigenous President Evo Morales.

With Brazil emerging rapidly from the global economic downturn, President Lula's high popularity ratings, the country's new stature in the G20, international trade and financial architecture discussions, a tenth term on the UN Security Council set to begin in January, and Rio de Janeiro's successful bid to host the 2016 Olympics on the heels of the 2014 Soccer World Cup, Brazil was rapidly gaining international confidence and clout. The attainment of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) was a central goal of Brazil's foreign policy under President Lula's government, and Brazil was elected to a tenth UNSC term, a record matched only by Japan. Brazil has also taken a more visible role on major international negotiations, including the Doha trade round, G20 discussions on the global economic crisis, and post-Kyoto climate change talks, taken the lead on peacekeeping in Haiti, and is seeking a role in the Middle East peace process.

Brazil has traditionally been a leader in the inter-American community and played an important role in collective security efforts, as well as in economic cooperation in the Western Hemisphere. Brazil supported the Allies in both World Wars. During World War II, its expeditionary force in Italy played a key role in the Allied victory at Monte Castello. It is a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) and a party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty). Recently, Brazil has given high priority to expanding relations with its South American neighbors and is a founding member of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUL) created in June 2004, and Mercosul, a customs union between Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil, with Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador as associate members; Venezuela's full membership is pending.

The general policy approach of Lula and his foreign policy team in seeking to maintain stability in the region did not differ enormously from that of his predecessors; historically, Brazilian governments have avoided taking sides in Latin America and followed a policy of trying to maintain good relations with all of their neighbors. Uncertainty about Venezuela added a new element, however, leading to a more concerted effort to contain Chavez. Brazil was the leading advocate of Venezuelan admission to Mercosul, a move that, if approved by the Brazilian and Paraguayan congresses, would further complicate both the stated economic integration and political objectives of the organization. From Lula's point of view, bringing Chavez into a political organization in which Brazil has strong influence makes sense.

Brazil is a charter member of the United Nations and participates in its specialized agencies. It has contributed troops to UN peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cyprus, Mozambique, Angola, East Timor, and most recently Haiti. Brazil is currently leading the UN peacekeeping force in Haiti. In 2010-2011, Brazil is serving as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Prior to this, it had been a member of the UN Security Council nine times. Brazil is seeking a permanent position on the Council.

As Brazil's domestic economy has grown and diversified, the country has become increasingly involved in international economic and trade policy discussions. For example, Brazil was a leader of the G-20 group of nations and in 2009 became a creditor country to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The U.S., Western Europe, and Japan are primary markets for Brazilian exports and sources of foreign lending and investment. China is a growing market for Brazilian exports. Brazil also bolstered its commitment to nonproliferation through ratification of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), signing a full-scale nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), acceding to the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and joining the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

If Brazil's rapid emergence on the global stage is unquestionable, it is also true that it is very much still emerging. Brazil's clear sense of purpose in South America, where the overriding importance of maintaining stability on its poorly protected borders has led to an emphasis on dialogue and integration with its ten neighbors, is not in evidence on most extra-regional issues. Brazil's objective in achieving a seat at the table on many global issues seems to stop at the seat itself. In part, this stems from a general Brazilian disposition to prefer dialogue with other countries to confrontation or isolation. It was also driven by Lula's determination to develop and maintain friendly relations with all global players as Brazil seeks a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The end result is that Brazil often remains reticent to take firm positions on key global issues and generally seeks ways to avoid them. More often than not, the GOB eschews positions of leadership that might require overtly choosing sides.

Under Lula, Brazil was increasingly insistent that international efforts to promote security must go hand in hand with commitments to economic and social development. Brazil maintains a double-standard on democracy and human rights. Although a founding member of the Community of Democracies and Partnership for Democratic Governance, Brazil rarely stands firm on these issues. In the wake of what it considered a near-disastrous brush with election observation in Zimbabwe in 2008, the GOB opted to focus on technical cooperation related to running elections, in lieu of observing them. In the UN, Brazil generally chooses to abstain even on resolutions regarding the most egregious human rights abuses-such as those in Iran, North Korea, and Sudan - unless it considers evidence of non-cooperation with international human rights bodies to be clear-cut (as in Burma, for example).

Where Brazil's policy was not hesitant, it was often ill-informed or straight-jacketed by the policies of the past. As it stepped out on Middle East issues, the GOB did so with a lack of expertise on the region. Inclined to take assertions from the Syrians, Iranians, and Hizbullah at face value, it insisted that peace can be achieved only if all players are at the table, and seeks to position itself as a neutral party, "the country who can talk to everyone," over against what it perceives as the biased U.S. and European efforts. This penchant for dialogue stood together with respect for sovereignty and non-intervention in internal affairs as the hallmarks of Brazilian foreign policy. But as Brazil played in a growing number of international arenas, it found it more difficult to remain true to these principles, and more difficult to hide its inconsistencies.

Brazil was careful to avoid any suggestion that it is toeing a U.S. line, was intent on avoiding situations in which it might be perceived as a junior partner, and tended to see an "independent" position-i.e., independent of the United States in the first instance, and wealthy countries more generally-as the preferred default. Nor did Brazil want to be lumped in with the mass of developing countries. In multilateral settings, Brazil prefered to position itself as a "bridge" between the wealthy and developing nations.

indigenous Indian population

Except for the small indigenous Indian population, Brazilians are one people, with a single culture. Brazil's National Indian Foundation (Fundacao Nacional do Indio — FUNAI) estimates that the indigenous Indian population, with about 230 tribes located in about 530 known Indian reservations in Brazil, totals 330,000 members. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Indians have never had contact with Brazilian government officials. About 62 percent, or 137,000, live in the Amazon region. They are the descendants of what could be the oldest Americans. According to a team of archaeologists led by Anna C. Roosevelt, radiocarbon dating of material in a cave located near Monte Alegre, between Manaus and Belem, shows that early Paleo-Indians were contemporaries of the Clovis people in the southwestern United States and had a distinctive foraging economy, stone technology, and cave art, dating back between 10,000 and 11,200 years ago. One-tenth of Brazil's national territory is to be set aside for its Indian population, according to the constitution. However, fewer than half of the reservations have been demarcated, and the issue has continued to be controversial. Settlers and gold miners have massacred Indians. In May 1996, the Ministry of Justice published decrees recognizing the existence of seventeen indigenous areas in Brazil, totaling 8.6 million hectares. Each Brazilian Indian (including children) has on average an area of 400 hectares on which to live. By comparison, Native Americans in the United States live on only eighteen hectares per person. Some members of Brazil's Congress believe that the policy gave too much land to only two-tenths of the population. A decree signed by President Cardoso in January 1996 did not include the Indians as one of his priorities. By permitting states, municipalities, and non-Indian individuals to contest demarcation of Indian land, the decree alarmed indigenous support groups. The executive order could end much of the violence against the Indians, by giving non-Indians a legal forum. However, official figures indicate that 153 of the 554 areas recognized by the government as Indian territories were liable to be revised under the decree. Estimates of the original Amerindian population of Brazil range from 2 to 5 million at the time of first contact with Europeans in the early sixteenth century. There were hundreds of tribes and languages. Now there are 230 tribes that speak more than ninety languages and 300 dialects. Because of violence and disease, the original Amerindian population was reduced to about 150,000 by the early twentieth century. In 1910 the Indian Protection Service (Servico de Protecao aos Indios—SPI) was established. Its leader, Marechal Candido Rondon, was famous for stating that "one should die, if necessary, but never kill an Indian." In 1968 the National Indian Foundation (Fundacao Nacional do Indio—Funai) replaced SPI, which was charged with corruption. The Indian Statute went into effect in 1973. The 1988 constitution provides that Indians are entitled to the lands that they traditionally occupy. Despite the difficulties it faced, the Amerindian population began to recover its numbers and increased to 330,000 by the mid-1990s. In genetic terms, millions of Brazilians have some Amerindian ancestry, usually on the side of their grandmothers or great-grandmothers. The ancestry is especially strong in the Amazon region, where the inhabitants of mixed Indian and white descent are called caboclos. Because of such widespread miscegenation and acculturation, objective definitions of "Indian" are practically impossible in Brazil. The most useful definition, also used for official purposes, is subjective but pragmatic: Indians are those who consider themselves Indians and are considered by others as such. They include groups that are officially classified as isolated, in the process of integration, or integrated (although "integration" involves entry into the lowest ranks of Brazilian society). Most of the Amerindian population is in the Amazon region, where Amerindian lands account for about 15 percent of the territory. Some of the largest areas were set aside during the Collor administration in 1992. The best known and largest of these is the 9.6-million-hectare Yanomami Indigenous Park, located in the northern states of Amazonas and Roraima, along Brazil's border with Venezuela. Gold miners and their diseases have had an adverse impact on the Yanomami. The Caiapo in southeastern Para became widely known both for their traditional environmental management and their controversial concessions to gold miners and lumber companies. Other indigenous areas include the Xingu Indigenous Park and other parts of Amazonia, including the western section of the Amazon along the Rio Solimoes, Roraima, northern Amazonas, Rondonia, Acre, Amapa, and northern and southeastern Para. The Northeast (Maranhao) and Center-West (western Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Goias) regions also have large indigenous areas.

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Page last modified: 09-01-2019 18:51:49 ZULU