Bloomberg reported late on Saturday 11th June, two days after their meeting at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, that far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro asked Joe Biden for help against former president Lula da Silva for the October election.
Bolsonaro trails Lula by around 20 points in the polls, and as it stands is considered to have only a very slim chance of re-election.
The request came in a private meeting following a public press event where the two leaders were photographed together to promote the summit, which has been seen as a failure due to the non participation of various regional leaders. Bolsonaro’s participation was secured when Biden sent a special envoy to convince the Trump ally to attend.
According to unnamed people “familiar” with the matter, Bolsonaro portrayed his leftist opponent Lula as a “danger to US interests”.
The anonymous sources claimed that Biden had emphasised the sanctity of Brazil’s electoral process, as numerous administration officials have been over the past two months.
When Bolsonaro asked for U.S. help to defeat Lula, Biden tried to change the subject, one of the sources claimed.
Following the meeting, Bolsonaro expressed a surprising level of satisfaction with Biden, describing their meeting as “fantastic”.
Despite assurances from Bolsonaro and U.S. officials about the security of Brazil’s democratic institutions, the next day his defence minister, General Oliveira, launched the military’s most explicit threat to the October election yet, with a letter to president of the electoral court complaining that the Army was not being allowed to alter the voting process.
The Brazilian President’s office did not respond to a request for comment, and the White House press office declined to comment at this time.
If the reports of the meeting are accurate, Bolsonaro portrayed himself as a protector of U.S. interests over those of Brazil, which could present further difficulties for the beleaguered far-right president.
This story will be updated when more information is available.