The Brazilian president has decided to postpone the purchase of fighter jets.
This measure comes as a surprise since her predecessor President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva had expressed his preference for the offer made by French the company Dassault to provide Brazil with 36 Rafale jets. When he stepped down from office on January 1st the decision which had not yet been formalized went to Rousseff.
Rousseff has decided to reevaluate this topic and has no clear favorite as of yet, said a source high up in government. “This is her decision now and she would like to analyze the details carefully” informed the source which wanted to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the subject at hand.
Fighting for the contract, which is said to be worth more than 4,000 million dollars, are the Swedish firm Saab with their Gripen NG jets, and the American F-18 jets from Boeing.
Last week the Brazilian president asked American senators visiting the country for additional guarantees on the transfer of technology by Congress in order to improve Boeing’s offer, informed sources with knowledge on what transpired.
This deal is central to Brazil’s efforts to increase its capacity for defense at a time when the country’s influence on global issues grows alongside its economy.
Political considerations have played an important role in the process. Relations between Brazil and the United States have deteriorated in the last few years of Da Silva’s government, but Rousseff has shown clear signs that she wants to improve ties with the US.
Former president Da Silva had close ties with the French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, with whom he signed a strategic defense agreement. Sarkozy, who has invested a great deal of diplomatic capital to close the deal, as well as several members of his cabinet expressed uneasiness towards Rousseff's decision to wait.