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Brazil's Lula welcomed back by Latin American leaders

In his first full day as Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was meeting with Latin American heads of state reflecting the region’s desire for the country to assume a greater role on the international stage

David Biller
Monday 02 January 2023 17:43 GMT

In his first full day as Brazil's president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with Latin American heads of state Monday reflecting the region's desire for the country to assume a greater role on the international stage.

Lula's predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, rarely traveled abroad or received visiting heads-of-state and found himself increasingly isolated.

But regional leaders flew into Brazil to welcome the return on Lula for his third term in the presidency .

In the first half of Monday, he met with presidents Alberto Fernández of Argentina, Luis Arce of Bolivia and Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador, and later is scheduled to sit down with Chile's Gabriel Boric and Colombia's Gustavo Petro. Others also traveled to capital, Brasilia, on Sunday and congratulated Lula on his inauguration.

“It was a very powerful symbol of desire in the region that leaders want Brazil to be back,” according to Oliver Stuenkel, a professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a university. “Latin American leaders want an active, engaged Brazil.”

On Monday afternoon Lula is scheduled to meet with Wang Qishan, the vice president of China, by far Brazil's biggest export destination. Although Bolsonaro toned down his attacks on China in the latter half of his administration, it is important for China to dialogue with Lula's administration and ensure Latin America's biggest nation remains a true partner, Stuenkel said.

Lula is then scheduled to receive the president of Angola and representatives from Cuba, Venezuela and Peru.

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