Lula da Silva’s victory on October 29 has been a significant turn of events for Latin American politics – especially for those countries with more progressive governments, such as Argentina and Chile. In that context, leaders have announced their will to boost the relationships between their countries, in an effort to recover what once was known as the ‘Latin American unity’ organized within the Mercosur, Unasur and Celac. Recent announcements by the upcoming Brazilian administration show their will to start those commitments as early as their first month.
After he enters office on January 1, Brazilian President-elect Lula da Silva will visit Argentina on January 24, as his first official trip abroad after taking office. Lula visited Argentina at the start of his previous presidencies, establishing close alliances. This practice was halted when Lula’s successor, the conservative Jair Bolsonaro, visited the President of Chile, Sebastían Piñera, the former conservative president, as his first trip in 2019.
Aside from his bilateral encounters with the Fernández administration, Da Silva will attend the CELAC summit, an intent to renew what he promises to be the reopening and boosting of his country’s relations with other Latin American countries.
Last weekend, Alberto Fernández expressed his hope about Lula’s arrival in office and stressed its importance for his own administration in the upcoming year. The president visited Da Silva on the day following his victory. In a press conference, he said: “I’m happy to have met once again with my great friend and the president-elect of Brazil,” and stated that they discussed “the future rather than the past.” The Argentine president will attend the inauguration of Da Silva’s government in Brasília, and also take part in events along with more than a dozen mandataries from the world.
In an interview with Diario Perfil, Alberto Fernández said recently that the bonds with Brazil are key to moving forward with agreements with the European Union that preserve their local industries. “Brazil and Argentina are the only countries in South America with a car industry, and we can’t compete against Europe,” he said. “We can’t risk losing our industries to those agreements. We need to sit down and resume talks. We need to establish our differences and work on a policy that serves all parties,” he added.
Daniel Scioli, the Argentine Ambassador to Brazil, said in an interview with Ámbito Financiero that he hopes both countries will engage in a “financial, energy, agri-food, and infrastructure bi-national agreement”, and stressed he’s optimistic about Brazil’s commitment to strengthen the regional relations, especially when it comes to trade agreements in Mercosur.
Lula’s decision comes amid other significant announcements of Brazil’s relations with Latin American countries. His future Foreign Minister, Marco Vieira, said his administration will reopen their Embassy in Venezuela and acknowledge Nicolás Maduro’s presidency after rocky relations between him and Jair Bolsonaro. He also announced that after his travels to Argentina, Lula da Silva will visit the United States and China.