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Portugal’s president welcomes Brazil’s hard-line leader ‘as a brother’

braziljesusPortugal’s President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, was received in Brazila this Wednesday by the new President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, one day after the new leader’s inauguration.

It was a quick yet positive meeting, Marcelo told reporters, “As I said and as President Bolsonaro said, it was a meeting between brothers and what was said was said fast, like in a family.”

Of the substance of the meeting, Rebelo de Sousa commented, “naturally there were points that would have to be addressed,” namely, the Brazilian community in Portugal, which theoretically numbers 100,000, but in practice there are far more.

The other key point addressed by Marcelo and Bolsonaro was the Portuguese multi-generational community in Brazil, which “includes a new student community, intellectuals, scientists and entrepreneurs.”

Another topic covered was bilateral economic cooperation, “which already exists in areas such as digital, new technologies, energy, including renewable.”

Also discussed was the development of tourism, of bilateral trade and the importance of Brazil in the Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, after all said Marcelo, “there is no strong CPLP, without the strong presence of Brazil.”

The two Presidents also had time to discuss the EU-Mercosur (Southern Common Market) relationship and “the importance of closing this agreement”.

In summary, concluded President Marcelo, “a range of bilateral and multilateral issues” was addressed in a meeting that “was as positive as it was quick.”

Chatting to journalists at the end of his meeting, Portugal’s president said that any visit to Portugal by Bolsonaro would be agreed by the countries’ foreign ministries but this is unlikely to happen this year, more likely at the beginning of 2020.

Marcelo ebelo de Sousa feels the need, as head of State, to be all things to al people and this potentially awkward meeting is the first official contact between ther two countries since Bolsonaro’s Jan 1st inauguration.

Ana Sá Lopes, writing in Público today, referred to Bolsonaro as a Brazilian ‘Salazar,’ Portugal’s former dictator, citing many similarities between the two ultra-right leaders, saying that  Bolsonaro’s policies could have been hand-picked from the Portuguese ‘Dictator’s Handbook.’

“Let us unite the people, value the family, respect our religion, our Judeo-Christian tradition, to combat the ideology of gender, while preserving our values. Brazil will once again be a country free of ideological ties,” ran Bolsonaro’s inaugural speech which won rapturous applause and heralds a tough regime in a country mired in corruption and political incompetence.