The announcement of a visit by President Bolsonaro to Vladimir Putin next week has raised controversy both inside and outside the Brazilian government. It is thought that the meeting in Moscow, at a time of tension in which a war between Russia and Ukraine could break out at any moment involving Europe and the world, escapes any diplomatic prudence. Even more so when there is no reason for Brazil to participate in this meeting, which will only serve to bring the country to its knees before Putin.
The only reason for the visit is personal: Bolsonaro wants the photograph with the Russian president to use it in his presidential campaign and rub it in the face of US President Joe Biden, while he thanks Putin for the personal praise he gave him in the last BRICS summit.
According to foreign policy experts, Bolsonaro’s visit to Moscow is one of the many follies to which the Brazilian president has become accustomed to in the country. To the point that not only the opposition, but also his most political ministers, are trying to convince him to give up the trip.
When Bolsonaro was asked if he would discuss the burning issue of the Ukraine crisis with Putin, the president replied that he would do so “only if he asks.” What Bolsonaro tries to demonstrate – especially to the United States, where he lost his great friend Donald Trump – is that he maintains a strong bond with Russia and has allies abroad. During the trip he will take the opportunity to meet the leader of Hungary, the far-right Víktor Orbán, with whom he maintains close relations. Brazil will need years to repair the mess of its current diplomacy, experts say.
The Brazilian press has titled Bolsonaro’s trip to Moscow at this moment of tension as someone falling “on his knees before the Kremlin.” And the worst thing about the controversial visit is that the president intends to use it to strengthen his re-election campaign for next October. His possibilities are exhausted every day. According to the latest polls, the president would lose the presidential elections in the first round.
In this context, Bolsonaro wants to thank Putin for the praise he gave him as an “example” of managing the pandemic, which seems like a mockery of the reality of the facts, as well as the praise related to his “masculinity.” “You have shown the best masculine qualities such as courage and will,” Putin told the Brazilian. Nothing could sound better to the ears of Bolsonaro, whose homophobia is not only known but encouraged by himself. In the worst of the pandemic, the president affirmed that those who stayed at home for fear of getting infected were “faggots.”
The captain’s homophobia and misogyny have been known since he was an obscure deputy. At the time he said that his fifth daughter had turned out to be a woman because he “got distracted”, and that he would have preferred her to be a boy too. Sometimes I wonder what that 11-year-old girl will think about her father in the future. In relation to her homophobia, it is enough to remember the day he admitted that before seeing his son arrive “on the arm of a mustachioed man” he would prefer to see him dead under the wheels of a truck.
The saddest thing for Brazil, a country that at some point played an important part in global chess, is to have a president who shrinks in foreign policy to a grotesque point that offends the country. It is of no use to Bolsonaro that even his own are trying to convince him of the danger of visiting Putin.
In three years of government, Bolsonaro has totally ignored Europe, whose countries he has not even visited. The Brazilian president lives locked up in his narrow world created from his hatred and his dream that a military coup will allow him to remain in power forever. He would like to be a Trump, whom he loves; or be a new Putin, whose myth of masculinity he envies.
The word that Bolsonaro used the most when he was a deputy is “macho”. He has come to affirm that his wife considers him “the male of males” and without the slightest shame she has revealed that he is imbroxavelthat is to say that he never fails sexually.
If Bolsonaro meets Putin in the next few days, it will be interesting to know what they will talk about, since the drama of a possible war with Ukraine has the world on edge, but they seem to care little. Although Bolsonaro has affirmed more than once that the weapons with which he claims to sleep next to him have been his best talisman. He loves them with such a passion that he has legislated that today all Brazilians can own up to six weapons for self-defense. A subject on which he, without a doubt, will be able to talk freely with the Soviet leader.
Subscribe here to newsletter of EL PAÍS America and receive all the informative keys of the current affairs of the region
Exclusive content for subscribers
read without limits
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.