Brazil’s Lula plans to meet with Biden ahead of inauguration

Brasilia, Dec 2 (EFE).- Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said here Friday that he will visit the United States before his Jan. 1 inauguration for talks with President Joe Biden about a range of topics, including the harmful legacies of Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro.

“We have much to discuss because the United States, like Brazil, suffers from a democratic emergency. The damage Trump did to US democracy was the same done by Bolsonaro. They think alike,” Lula told a press conference in Brasilia.

Lula, a former two-term head of state, defeated the right-wing incumbent in the Oct. 30 presidential runoff.

Widely accused of undermining Brazil’s democratic institutions, Bolsonaro is an unabashed admirer of Biden’s predecessor in the White House.

Taking his cue from Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Biden’s victory in the US 2020 election, Bolsonaro sought to cast doubt on Brazil’s electoral system ahead of voting in October and waited several days after the second round to concede defeat.

Lula said that his trip to Washington will take place sometime after Dec. 12, when the Brazilian Electoral Tribunal will present him with a document certifying him as president-elect.

The 76-year-old founder and leader of the center-left Workers Party said that he and Biden have many important matters to discuss.

“I want to talk about politics, about the relationship between the two countries, about the role of Brazil in the new global geopolitics, about Ukraine, including about whether that war is necessary,” Lula said.

Word of the president-elect’s plan to visit the US before taking office came first from one of the leading figures in the presidential transition team, Fernando Haddad, who served in the Cabinet during Lula’s 2003-2011 tenure and is expected to be named finance minister in the new government.

He confirmed an announcement by Argentine President Alberto Fernandez that Lula will visit Buenos Aires in the coming weeks.

And Haddad revealed that China – Brazil’s top trading partner – had also expressed interest in hosting Lula before the inauguration.

“There is an invitation, but I don’t believe there is time for two international journeys of this magnitude. Perhaps the United States and Argentina are two possible trips,” Haddad said. EFE cm/dr

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