Brazil’s Role in Venezuela Crisis Will Be Put to the Test in Bolsonaro’s Visit to Trump

In her analysis for Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil Institute Global Fellow Jana Nelson argues that Bolsonaro’s first visit to Washington is symbolic of deepening Brazil-U.S. ties, but that concrete results will not emerge just yet.
 
This week, President Jair Bolsonaro makes his first official working visit to the United States and will meet with President Donald Trump for the first time. After years of political and economic instability in Brazil and a lack of concrete results in the bilateral relationship with the United States, a new rapprochement has been underway since Bolsonaro’s election. 
 
The meeting between the two presidents has a symbolic character for both countries. For Brazil, it signals that the United States will be prioritized over Russia and China: “less BRICS, more USA.” For the United States, the invitation to host Bolsonaro in Blair House, generally reserved for state visits, indicates that the United States views this moment as an important one for the bilateral relationship. 
 
However, concrete results will not emerge this time around. Besides the Technological Safeguards Agreement, to be signed during the visit, no other accords of a binding nature are on the agenda. The much-anticipated U.S. support for a Brazilian entry into the OECD seems unlikely, as the U.S. government has yet to be convinced that Brazil intends to liberalize its economy.
 
Venezuela will be the top item on the agenda for the United States. According to Nelson, whether Brazil is ready to assume a leading role, alongside Colombia, in the effort to resolve the crisis is the main question analysts are looking to answer. This matter is the priority on the U.S. side and has the potential to affect Brazil’s credibility and the bilateral relationship going forward. Nelson adds that the answer will not emerge from the visit itself, but from the work carried out by diplomats in the coming months.
 
Most notably, Nelson states that the ministerial-level dialogue that has dominated the Brazil-U.S. relationship since 2011 have lost much of their momentum in recent years. The official visit to Washingon changes this state of affairs, revitalizing dialogue on behalf of both presidents.
 
 
Ana Janaina Nelson (Jana) is a Brazil policy and U.S.-Brazil relations analyst. From 2010 to 2015, Jana served as a policy adviser at the United States Department of State, working on the bilateral relationship between the United States and Brazil. 
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