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LatinNews Daily - 20 October 2021

BRAZIL: Bolsonaro welcomes Colombia’s Duque

On 19 October, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro held a meeting with his Colombian peer Iván Duque in Brasília, during which seven agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed between the two countries.

Analysis:

Both on the right of the political spectrum, Presidents Bolsonaro and Duque appeared keen to highlight the importance of deepening the relationship between Brazil and Colombia (trade flows between the two totalled US$3.6bn last year). However, while Bolsonaro chose to mention security cooperation and issues during a statement to the press, Duque put the emphasis on bilateral economic ties and the joint protection of the Amazon rainforest.

  • Duque arrived in Brazil on 17 October and held meetings with business representatives in São Paulo before travelling to Brasília, where he was received with state honours. Duque and Bolsonaro spoke privately before holding an extended meeting with various ministers. 
  • The two governments signed an agreement on aerial services between Brazil and Colombia and a second technical cooperation agreement on security and defence between their respective national police forces, as well as MoUs on cooperation in research and development, agriculture, regional development, services to small and medium-sized enterprises, and export promotion.
  • In comments to the press after the meeting, Duque declared that relations between Brazil and Colombia are “at the highest point that they have been historically”. After stressing the “great commercial relationship” between the two countries, Duque spoke of their shared objectives on the Amazon, which he said will be presented at the COP26 international climate talks in Scotland later this month. Both Brazil and Colombia are signatories of the Leticia Pact, an accord between seven Amazonian countries on the protection of the rainforest, which was re-affirmed earlier this month. 
  • Bolsonaro spoke vaguely yesterday of “arriv[ing] united in Glasgow” to talk about the Amazon. Duque, for his part, said that “our voice” in Glasgow would advocate for energy transition, lower emissions, and the pursuit of carbon neutrality through environmental conservation. He suggested that joint conservation of the Amazon could lead to the capture of more than 2bn tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.

Looking Ahead: The convergence – or lack thereof – between the Colombian and Brazilian governments on the issue of Amazon conservation will become evident at the talks in Glasgow, which kick off on 31 October.