By Beatriz Pascual Macias |
Washington (EFE).- The US president, Joe Biden, and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, met this Friday at the White House to reinforce their commitment to defending democracy and the fight against climate change, especially the protection of the Amazon.
Biden and Lula put on a show of tuning in at their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, exchanged pleasantries and were together for about 50 minutes, much longer than the 15 initially planned, and later continued talking with their advisers for another hour.
Stop deforestation, Biden and Lula commitment
At the end of the meeting, Lula appeared before the press outside the Oval Office and revealed that he had spoken with Biden about the possibility of rich countries, such as the United States, helping to preserve the ecosystem in South American nations, such as the Amazon in Brazil.
Lula said he had not specifically spoken to Biden about the Amazon Fund, created in 2009 to help protect the Amazon, but said he “believes” Washington will join.
Norway and Germany were the countries that financed the Amazon Fund, but they froze their contributions with the advance of deforestation under the Government of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2023). Now, they have expressed their intention to resume them with Lula in power.
Beyond the Amazon, Lula said that he spoke with Biden about the need to promote clean energy, fight climate change and promote initiatives aimed at promoting social and racial equality, as well as democracy.
A “hard test” for democracies
The issue of democracy was the one that Biden focused on the most in the statements that both offered to the press at the beginning of the meeting in the Oval Office of the White House.
Biden began by alluding to the “tough test” that the democracies of Brazil and the United States, the most populous in the American continent, have had to pass in recent years.
Biden thus referred to the assault on the US Capitol in January 2021 by supporters of then-President Donald Trump (2017-2021) and the attack on January 8 against the Three Powers of the nation in Brasilia by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2023).
In both cases, Biden stressed, “democracy triumphed” and “political violence was rejected.”
In response, Lula thanked Biden for his “solidarity” and regretted that Brazil had “been isolated from the world for the last four years,” in reference to the Bolsonaro government.
Lula affirmed that his predecessor underestimated the importance of international relations and lived “with false news in the morning, in the afternoon and at night.”
At those words, Biden laughed and jokingly said, “That rings a bell.”
Neither of them specifically mentioned the name of Bolsonaro, who traveled to the state of Florida (USA) on December 30, two days before Lula succeeded him, and who has requested a visa from the US authorities to extend your stay in the country.
Mediation in the war in Ukraine
Finally, the two leaders talked about the war in Ukraine, the issue on which they have the most differences, since the Brazilian has not explicitly condemned the Russian invasion and has suggested that kyiv also bears “part of the responsibility.”
In his statements to the press after the meeting, Lula revealed that he had spoken with Biden about his proposal to create a group – made up of the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, India and China, among others – to mediate in the conflict.
«I am convinced that we have to find a way to end the war. We need a group of credible negotiators for both parties who are capable of ending the war,” Lula said.
The Biden government has spent months trying to get the support of the global south in the war in Ukraine, but many countries, including Brazil or India, have tried to maintain a relationship of neutrality.
Lula’s visit to the White House caused a stir with more than fifty journalists waiting for him to speak outside the Oval Office, and some of his supporters chanting slogans outside the White House compound.