© Reuters. President-elect of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attends a gathering at COP27 climate summit, in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, November 17, 2022. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
By Catarina Demony
LISBON (Reuters) -Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva travelled from the COP27 summit in Egypt to Portugal on Friday to inform officials that his country is back to “normal” as he strives to enhance foreign ties and Brazil’s image abroad.
The leftist, who won the presidential election last month against right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, is as a consequence of start his third term in January. Until then, he’s on a mission to inform the world that “Brazil is back”.
During firebrand Bolsonaro’s 4 years in office, Brazil’s ties with many other countries frayed, not least because Amazon (NASDAQ:) deforestation soared under his watch.
On Wednesday, Lula received a superstar welcome at COP27 as he pledged to recommit the rainforest nation to tackling the climate crisis and offered to host future U.N. climate talks. The president-elect met with climate envoys from China and the US, in addition to the EU climate policy chief.
In Portugal, Lula met President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Friday.
At a news conference with Costa, Lula said Brazil was a “glad” and “hopeful” country but it surely became “sad” because Bolsonaro didn’t “need to talk with anybody”.
“No person desired to visit Brazil because his (Bolsonaro’s) behaviour was totally anti-Brazil and anti-democratic,” Lula said. “(But) I need to inform you that Brazil has returned to normality.
“Brazil, after the election, has been returning to being a glad country.”
After landing, the president-elect had lunch at a restaurant in Lisbon and was welcomed by a crowd of supporters. Brazilians – who speak Portuguese – make up Portugal’s biggest migrant community and Lisbon has the biggest variety of Brazilian voters outside the South American nation.
As he met Rebelo de Sousa on the president’s official residence, supporters wearing red, the color of Lula’s Staff Party, gathered outside.
Andre Eduardo, 37, said Lula’s win was a “gigantic victory against fascism”.
Some Bolsonaro supporters also showed up, shouting and accusing Lula of being a “thief”. One, Muria Tureiques, said Lula “wasn’t elected by the people” and claimed he “stole the election”.
Ahead of the vote, Bolsonaro had repeatedly made baseless accusations about Brazil’s voting system. Ultimately, although he didn’t concede, Bolsonaro didn’t block the handover of power. A few of his supporters, nevertheless, have refused to simply accept the result.
The COP27 summit was Lula’s first foreign trip since being elected but Portugal is his first bilateral visit.
“We consider that by selecting Portugal as the primary country for a bilateral visit after his election, he’s giving a really strong signal,” Foreign Minister Joao Cravinho told Lusa news agency.
Bolsonaro didn’t visit Portugal during his time in office, and in July this yr he cancelled a gathering with Portugal’s president in Brazil since the Portuguese leader had also made plans to fulfill Lula.
“Let’s resume dialogue for the very best of our peoples,” Lula wrote on Twitter earlier on Friday.