Bolsonaro Hopes U.S. Visit Will Propel His Image
President Bolsonaro hopes his current trip to Washington will benefit him politically in Brazil, fostering his image as an important international leader and bringing at least the promise of future American investments into the country.
Although there was not enough time to sign relevant agreements besides the Technological Safeguards Agreement, it is likely that the trip as a whole will enhance Bolsonaro’s political capital.
His initial weeks in office have been unusually bumpy, characterized by successive internal crises and an increasing struggle for power and influence among the various groups that support him, particularly the military in one corner and the ideological core (his sons included) in the other.
The president himself has created much controversy with his frequent use of social media to disseminate morally conservative opinions, which have sometimes shocked even some of his closest advisers.
To make matters worse, the real economy remains sluggish with industry output in decline and infrastructure investments and retail sales stalled. As a result, this week the government is expected to announce a R$ 10 billion cut in its own expenses.
Another consequence of this disappointing economic start to the year is the consensual decrease in the 2019 GDP growth forecasts by respected analysts. The previous minimum prediction of 2% is now the new ceiling according to several points of view.
In this context, the outcome of Bolsonaro’s visit to Washington is even more relevant. Anything he can make of it will be useful to him. Of course, the more he gets, the better he will look.
The biggest achievement would be Trump’s unequivocal expression of support for Brazil’s request for full OECD membership. Although it would guarantee nothing, such gesture would be interpreted as an endorsement by the U.S. government to the Bolsonaro government.
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