- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2019

President Trump and Brazil’s conservative populist President Jair Bolsonaro have an opportunity to forge a new “universal insurgency,” an anti-globalist movement that stands up for those whose voices and views are not respected by traditional political forces, Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo said Wednesday on a visit to Washington.

Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Bolsonaro — dubbed the “Trump of the Tropics” — is given to politically incorrect statements and maximalist demands that infuriate his liberal opponents but energize his socially conservative, political base.

“Trump and Bolsonaro are a part of the same insurgency, what I would call universal insurgency against [BS],” Mr. Araujo said in an address to the Heritage Foundation.

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In a speech dubbed “Brazil is Back,” the foreign minister applauded Brazilians and Americans who are “no longer buying the traditional lies of the system.” He said Brazilian voters and Mr. Trump’s “MAGA voters” have created a “revolt against ideology,” and touted Mr. Bolsonaro for being “the only political leader capable to bring the people to power.”

The two leaders have forged a close relationship over the last several months and have repeatedly been compared to one another since Mr. Bolsonaro took office on Jan. 1. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Bolsonaro was originally written off as a fringe candidate before sweeping the traditional Brazilian parties aside in 2018’s elections.

In a meeting at the White House earlier this year, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Bolsonaro’s decision to appoint his son, Eduardo, as the ambassador to the U.S. and later vowed to be a “voice for Brazil” at the recent Group of Seven meeting in France. Mr. Trump praised Mr. Bolsonaro in the face of withering criticism from Europe over his handling of recent wildfires in the Amazon and for his frankly pro-development views for Brazil’s vast interior lands.

Brazil under Mr. Bolsonaro has emerged as a key player in global debates on climate change, trade and the standoff in neighboring Venezuela.

But unlike several other G-7 nations, Mr. Bolsonaro’s administration has rejected the stance that climate change is a crisis and said outside attempts to dictate Brasilia’s environmental policies was an attack on Brazil’s sovereignty.

In his speech, Mr. Araujo told an audience of several hundred that some say “the big threats that our civilization now faces involve climate change.

“It’s absolutely not true,” he said, saying the world faces an even bigger ideological crisis.

“There is no climate change catastrophe,” he added. “From the debate that is going on it would seem that the world is ending.”

Mr. Bolsonaro has pushed for development in the region — which encompasses 40% of the South America land mass and includes parts of eight countries — and charged that nongovernmental organizations set a slew of recent wildfires there to protest losing state funding and to paint the government in a bad light. The environmental groups have strongly denied the charges.

The debate over Brazil’s stewardship of its natural resources is part of a much larger struggle, Mr. Araujo insisted.

“The Amazon is ground zero for the fight against globalism,” he said, “and for the recovery of the human being and its voice.”

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