21:03 GMT14 August 2020
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    Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has cancelled his visit to New York where he was to be honoured as “Personality of the Year 2019” by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce. Bolsonaro is still set to travel to the US, but to Dallas instead. Brazil’s head of state cancelled his trip to New York due to criticism levelled at him by NYC’s mayor.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio has called Bolsonaro "a dangerous man" whose "overt racism, homophobia and destructive decisions will have a devastating impact on the future of our planet". Bolsonaro's nomination as "Personality of the Year" has sparked outrage among environmental groups, gay rights activists, and other American politicians.

    On Monday, Otavio Rego Barros, a spokesman for Bolsonaro, said in a press statement that the president would travel to the US next week, but not to New York. His destination will be Dallas, Texas. The visit will take place from 14-16 May. It is not yet known whether Bolsonaro will receive any award while there.

    According to international relations specialist and Professor Pedro Costa Júnior, from the Faculdades Integradas Rio Branco, a private institute in Sao Paolo, from the American point of view, this small crisis around the Brazilian president shows the growing polarisation between Democrats and Republicans before next year's elections, which has already affected the United States.

    READ MORE: Unpopular Policies: Brazil Prez Cancels NYC Gala After Backers Pull Support

    On the one hand, there are the Democrats, such as Bill de Blasio, and on the other, Republicans like Donald Trump. According to the expert, this wrangling between the parties will become more intense as the Democratic presidential primary season gets closer. In addition, Costa Júnior noted that Bolsonaro himself is a motive for negative reactions over his initially planned visit to the largest city in the United States.

    "His statements, especially on human rights, outside Brazil, have a very significant impact", the professor told Sputnik, referring to the Brazilian president's statements about Colonel Brilhante Ustra and dictators such as Chile's Augusto Pinochet and Paraguay's Alfredo Stroessner who he had fond words for.

    The professor explained that while in Brazil Bolsonaro is considered a right-wing politician in the Western media he's portrayed as an ultra right-wing one.

    The expert also said that though Jair Bolsonaro is currently perceived more as a friend of Donald Trump than as a friend of the United States, the rapprochement between the presidents should be viewed with caution, because Americans may elect a new president in 2020.

    "It would be wise to build and consider at least basic relations with democratic elites who may return to the White House", Costa Júnior noted.

    The Brazilian scholar also recalled that the United States doesnt' have any friends, so expecting that Brazil will become a friend of the US is extremely naive.

    "One must remember that the United States has no friends […] For the United States they come first, second, and third. That is to say, it is very naive on the part of Brazilian foreign policy officials to believe that they will become friends of the United States, salute the American flag, go there and say that you love America, you love Adidas [expert probably meant Nike — Sputnik], Coca-Cola and things like that", the professor said.

    READ MORE: Brazil's Bolsonaro Wants More Police-Run Schools to Improve Behaviour — Report

    "We need to think about the interests of Brazil first and foremost, and protect our national interests because this is how foreign policy works abroad, and our foreign policy department, our minister [of foreign affairs] and our president should take care of that: not about making friends, but to have important allies in all parts of the world and always protect our interests in the first place", the Brazilian scholar concluded.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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