A senior US source has confirmed that US President Joe Biden will meet with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro for the first time during next week’s Summit of the Americas, emphasizing the importance of the US-Brazil partnership.
Juan Gonzalez, Biden’s top Latin America aide, confirmed the two presidents would meet in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Despite what he dubbed a “pause” in Brazil-US relations since Biden took office in January 2021, Bolsonaro indicated last week that he would attend the summit and meet Biden on the sidelines.
When asked if Biden would express concern over Bolsonaro’s criticism of Brazil’s electoral system, Gonzalez answered simply that the US “has trust in Brazil’s electoral institutions, which have shown to be robust.”
Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist who was one of the last world leaders to recognize Biden’s presidential victory, has maintained for months that the country’s computerized voting system is vulnerable to fraud without providing any evidence.
The claim has been dismissed by judicial and other experts, who accuse Bolsonaro of attempting to spread doubt ahead of Brazil’s October elections in order to fight the results – similar to former US President Donald Trump, whom Bolsonaro has mimicked.
Bolsonaro is up against former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who, according to recent polls, has a significant lead in the race.
During a press briefing to preview the summit agenda, Gonzalez remarked, “The question of the Brazilian elections is essentially up to the Brazilians to determine.”
Given the importance of the US-Brazil relationship, he said Biden and Bolsonaro’s conversations would cover a broad range of bilateral and global topics.
“There’s going to be a huge list of concerns that will be discussed,” Gonzalez added.
The Biden administration is trying to utilize the Summit of the Americas to form a coalition to address urgent regional issues, including an increase in migration to the United States.
However, in the run-up to the meeting, Washington came under fire for indicating that the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela were unlikely to participate, citing their respective human rights records and other concerns.
The attendance list has been called into question as a result of this.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico has stated that he will not attend the summit unless all of the region’s countries are invited, and it is unclear whether he will fly to Los Angeles.
“Will it be the Summit of the Americas or the Summit of the Friends of America?” the Mexican president said on Friday.
Former Senator Chris Dodd, Biden’s special adviser for the summit, traveled to Brazil last week to persuade Bolsonaro to attend the gathering, which the US is hosting for the first time since its inception in 1994.
Bolsonaro was swayed by the possibility of a bilateral meeting with Biden.