Brazil’s new president said he was going to be different, and Venezuela is his first chance to prove it. When Jair Bolsonaro took office, he made it clear that he planned to refocus Brazil’s foreign policy by re-evaluating its bilateral relations and building relationships outside of South America. On paper, this is an about-face from the policies of the past quarter century. In practice, however, there’s little concrete evidence of this foreign policy makeover. The exception is Venezuela. Brazil is delicately but deliberately charting its own course for managing the crisis next door. In the process, it’s subtly taking first steps toward regional leadership and deviating from the U.S. approach to the crisis.
A Matter of National Security
For Brazil, the Venezuela crisis is a question of national security. Other outside powers – most notably the United States – certainly have interests in Venezuela, but the chaos there doesn’t have the same direct bearing on their na
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