Joe Biden

Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Jair Messias Bolsonaro of Brazil in Los Angeles, California

June 09, 2022

President Biden. Great to see you. And I want to say that I was fortunate enough to visit your magnificent country——

[At this point, someone's knocking at the door could be heard.]

Somebody is trying to get in—[laughter]—your magnificent country on three different occasions, including for the World Cup in 2014.

And I also walked in the—there was a festival in Rio. And I—Brazil is a wonderful place, magnificent people, and—because of the vibrant, inclusive democracy and your strong electoral institutions.

Our nations are linked by deeply rooted shared values that unlocks incredible opportunities for both our nations, in my view, so—driving an equitable, inclusive global economic recovery, and raising our climate ambitions, and a whole range of things.

And you have what—you've made some real sacrifices as a country in the way you've tried to protect the Amazon, which is a great carbon sink for the world. And I think the rest of the world should be participating in helping you finance being able to preserve as much as you can. It seems like it's an international responsibility because we all benefit from it.

But the principal driver of our relationship is a connection between our people. And I'm anxious to hear what's on your mind and talk about what you—whatever you want to talk about. I'm—I'd like to listen as well as raise a few issues that are of, I think, mutual interest to us.

So, welcome, Mr. President.

President Bolsonaro. Mr. President—President Biden, it gives me great pleasure, once again, to visit your country.

We have a great deal in common, such as, for example, our shared love for freedom, democracy. We also share the same values. And we want, ultimately, the very well-being of our peoples and peace worldwide.

Brazil is a gigantic country whose territory is as vast as—can be one of the largest countries in the world. We also have many riches very much in the heart—heartland of Brazil. Our Amazon region, which is larger than Western Europe by comparison, endowed with incalculable riches, wealth, and biodiversity, as well as mineral wealth, drinking water resources, and also a source of oxygen. At times, we feel threatened in our sovereignty in that region of the country, but the fact is that Brazil does very well preserve its territory.

And as much as two-thirds of the Brazilian territory are fully preserved. More than 85—that's eight-five—percent of the Brazilian Amazonian region are preserved. Our environmental legislation is very strict, and we do all we possibly can to enforce it and comply with it to ensure the overall well-being of our nation.

Currently, Brazil presents itself to the world as a very concrete reality in the eyes of the world at large. In the near future, we may become the world's largest exporter of clean energy by means of green hydrogen exports.

We also have other matters or issues of interest on the agenda—such as, for example, the fact that Brazil currently feeds more than 1 billion people worldwide with our state-of-the-art agriculture and highly mechanized agricultural practices and using unmatched technology anywhere in the world. The world today, I dare say, depends—and largely depends on Brazil for its very survival.

The environmental agenda: Yes, we do recognize our challenges, but we—yes, we do our utmost. We do all we can to, of course, meet our needs, to foster our interests, and why not also, of course, accommodate the will of the world at large? But as I said before, we stand as an example in the eyes of the world when it comes to the environmental agenda.

In addition to food security and clean energy and also with regards to the environmental agenda—in addition to these topics, Brazil remains a huge country—a giant—and presents herself to the world as a solution for many of the current problems.

We are tremendously interested in drawing closer and closer ties with the United States. We have experienced almost 200 years of good partnership in our history. A few times, here and there, we may have distanced from each other due to perhaps ideological issues. But I am quite certain that with the advent of my administration, our both administrations have never had such a great opportunity, given the many affinities or shared areas of interest we have.

This year, we will be having elections in Brazil. And we do wish to have honest, clean, transparent, auditable, reliable elections so that there'll be no shadow of a doubt whatsoever following the elections. And I'm quite certain that the elections will very much be carried out in this democratic spirit. I came to office through democracy. And I am quite certain that when I leave office, it will also be through democratic means.

Brazil and the United States have all it takes to seal our trade relations, thus materializing a north-south axis of relations. Because other countries can work in a complementary fashion mutually, and we have the wherewithal—we have all it takes to become increasingly integrated nations and countries and serve as an example for the world.

Furthermore, Brazil, of course, still depends or relies on other countries in certain matters. We have always taken a balanced approach to these matters. We want peace in the world, and we will do everything for peace to be achieved.

We do regret the ongoing conflicts. But then again, I have a country to manage. I have a country to administer before me. And given our reliance on certain foreign players, we have to be cautious—always cautious, because the consequences following the pandemic and the mistaken policy, in my view, of "stay at home and we'll take care of the economy later on," further worsened by a war that currently takes place 10,000 kilometers away from Brazil—the economic consequences in effect are harmful and felt by all of us—and, in Brazil, especially harmful towards the more vulnerable segments of the population, who have to face inflation in foodstuffs as well as in energy prices.

So, Mr. President—President Biden, we remain fully available to cooperate towards building a way out of this episode that we, of course, never wish had happened between Ukraine and Russia. We intend and we support and we pray that we will find a way out from the current situation as soon as possible so that not only Brazil, but the world at large can go back to normalcy.

That's essentially what I had to convey to you by way of introduction, dear colleague and head of this nation, as we bear in mind the well-being of our peoples.

Thank you so much for the opportunity, Mr. President, for holding this bilateral session and meeting with you.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 4 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center. President Bolsonaro spoke in Portuguese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Portions of the translation of President Bolsonaro's remarks could not be verified because the audio was incomplete.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With President Jair Messias Bolsonaro of Brazil in Los Angeles, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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