The stormy relations of Emmanuel Macron and Jair Bolsonaro


                Stretched since the first day, the relationship between Brazilian presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Frenchman Emmanuel Macron has become chilly after the exchanges of the last days. Back to the relationship of two opposing men at all levels.

                                    <p>While the current has never passed between the Brazilian and French heads of state, who seem to be opposing on all fronts, their relationship has brutally deteriorated lately. French President Emmanuel Macron has notably criticized the management of fires in Amazonia by his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro, triggering a lively exchange of insults and very un-diplomatic words of the latter.

After the election of the former captain of the army as head of the Brazilian state, the two presidents never appreciated. Once elected in October 2018, Jair Bolsonaro was congratulated by Emmanuel Macron, but he expressed his desire to continue the "cooperation" with Brazil, stating "in respect of democracy," told AFP Frédéric Louault, coordinator of the Center for Studies of the Americas at the Free University of Brussels.

The sentence, which did not trigger an official reaction from Brasilia, was nevertheless "very badly perceived": it put in doubt "the attachment (of Jair Bolsonaro) to the democracy", according to the researcher.

"Opposite at all levels"

"The two men are opposed in all areas", analysis for France 24 Gaspard Estrada, director of the Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean Sciences Po.

"Their political philosophy, their priorities, their relationship to multilateralism, minorities, refugees, gender equality, the environment," says the researcher. "Emmanuel Macron represents the global ideology that Bolsonarism wants to proscribe at all costs".

However, before his election, a moderate part of the electorate of Jair Bolsonaro adoubait the French president. He had appeared as "the providential man" and the outsider attached to economic liberalism.

"There is a part of the right and the Brazilian middle class who dreamed of a liberalism in the manner of Emmanuel Macron", explains to France 24 Jean Hebrard, co-director of the Center for Research on Colonial and Contemporary Brazil (CRBC) of the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). "They did not know who to vote for and found this attachment to liberalism at Jair Bolsonaro, but they do not rally its conflict policy," says the specialist, contributor to the magazine Brazil (s).

This "conflict policy" will begin very quickly. In December 2018, the team of the Brazilian president-elect was already igniting against the Elysee. In the midst of the Yellow Vests crisis, diplomatic adviser Felipe G. Martins said that Emmanuel Macron should "make an agreement with his own people before criticizing the decisions of the Brazilian government", even though Brasilia had just announced its willingness to leave the Paris climate agreement.

The "capillary emergency" of Jair Bolsonaro

Once Jair Bolsonaro invested, "their personal animosity" has only worsened, ahead Gaspard Estrada.

Last July, the Brazilian president canceled at the last minute a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, on an official visit to Brasilia. Citing "problems of agenda", the Brazilian head of state was filmed live on social networks at the hairdresser … at the exact time of the appointment with the head of the French diplomacy.

"However, this visit was supposed to improve the relationship with the country, which had not received any French official since 2016", explains Gaspard Estrad. "Everyone knows the constraints that attach to the agendas charged with the heads of state.So obviously, there would have been a capillary emergency.This is a concern that is foreign to me", had then joked Jean-Yves Le Drian, questioned on this missed appointment by the Journal du Dimanche.

On August 22, two days before the beginning of the G7 summit in Biarritz, and while the Amazon rainforest had been under intense fire for three weeks, Emmanuel Macron called the fires an "international crisis". Other Western officials, such as Germany's Angela Merkel and Canadian Justin Trudeau, are following suit and increasing pressure on Brasilia.

            <div id="em-WB5408961-F24-FR-20190829" class="m-em-flash">
        <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Our house burns. Literally. The Amazon, the lung of our planet that produces 20% of our oxygen, is on fire. It&#39;s an international crisis. G7 members, see you in two days to talk about this emergency. <a href="">#ActForTheAmazon</a> <a href=""></a></p>  Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) <a href="">August 22, 2019</a></blockquote>

<p><strong>&quot;President Bolsonaro lied&quot;</strong>

The next day, Paris insists. "Given the attitude of Brazil in recent weeks" in the face of fires, Paris "can not but note that President Bolsonaro lied to him at the summit (G20, Ed) of Osaka" in June. During a bilateral meeting "which went very badly", explain specialists, the Brazilian president assured that it would respect the Paris agreement on the climate, condition sine qua non for France to accept the agreement between the European Union and Mercosur, a free trade bloc that includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

"In these circumstances, France opposes the Mercosur agreement as it stands," the French presidency said in a statement.

Jair Bolsonaro, deplores the will of the Elysee to "instrumentalize" the subject "for personal political gains". "The suggestion of the French president to discuss the Amazonian affairs in the G7 without the participation of the region evokes a colonialist mentality outdated in the 21st century", also tweeted Jair Bolsonaro, a climate-skeptic assumed.

<p><strong>Attack on Brigitte Macron</strong>

But it is the remarks on the social networks of Jair Bolsonaro with regard to the First French lady, Brigitte Macron, who put the fires to the powders.

Sunday, August 25, Jair Bolsonaro commented on the post of a Brazilian surfer who made fun of the physique of the French First Lady, who appeared on a disadvantageous photo, comparing it to Michelle Bolsonaro, radiant on the day of the investiture of his husband. "Now you understand why Macron is persecuting Bolsonaro?" Reads the photos of the two presidential couples. "This is the jealousy (…) of Macron, I bet," writes the user behind the publication, Rodrigo Andreaça. "Do not embarrass the guy – MDR (" death of laughter ")", reacts the official account of Jair Bolsonaro.

This is "extraordinarily disrespectful remarks about my wife," said Monday, August 26, the head of the French state. "What can I say to you? It's sad, it's sad, but it's sad for him and the Brazilians first." He adds, in front of the cameras of the whole world, wish that "the Brazilian people has very quickly a president who behaves up to the height".

The "insults" of Emmanuel Macron

Since then, the Brazilian Minister of Education has qualified Emmanuel Macron of "moron" and one of the sons of the Brazilian president has retweeted a video treating the french president of "con".

However, on Tuesday, President Bolsonaro asked his counterpart to "withdraw his insults". He "called me a liar and twice said that the sovereignty (Brazilian of) the Amazon should be relativised," said the right-wing president told reporters Wednesday, August 28. "We can talk to each other when he has retracted after what he said against me."

Emmanuel Macron has announced a € 20 million aid to help countries facing fires in the Amazon. Aid always refused by Jair Bolsonarao who had yet announced not having the means to face it.

"Kamikaze Strategy" by Jair Bolsonaro

After an interview Wednesday, August 28 with his Chilean counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro justified his dispute with Emmanuel Macron for ideological issues: "he is left," he told the press, according to the daily Folha de São Paulo. "We know he is left because of his behavior," he insisted.

"The belligerent strategy of Jair Bolsonaro is kamikaze," continues Gaspard Estrada. "The basis of Brazil's policy has always been multilateralism, and now it just looks for conflict, with nothing to gain."

"The Brazilian president wants to occupy the ground and talk to his most extreme electorate, like Donald Trump," agrees Jean Hebrard. "He has hateful polls and is not supported by Congress, so he has to look away from the public at secondary things, and for the Brazilian far-right, all that does not follow his thinking is of Bolshevik socialism, including a democratic Europe. "

Attacking "international," Macron succeeds in France

For this researcher, it is also a bet won for Emmanuel Macron, "who managed to win France the agreement with Mercosur". "Public opinion in France was starting to be against the agreement: farmers were indignant at the competition and the middle classes are afraid of the environmental consequences.By playing internationally, Emmanuel Macron succeeds in France," concludes -he.

"I have never seen a Brazilian president express himself in such a way," gaspard Estrada wonders. "There will be heavy consequences". A shared opinion with Rubens Ricupero, diplomat and former Brazilian Minister of Finance: "Brazil is living the worst image crisis in 50 years," he said daily O Globo.

"No country wants to deal with Brasilia, except the United States and this sluggish.That will hurt tourism, so the economy," says Jean Hebrard.

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