Despite mounting opposition against each one of them in their own countries, Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and his Peruvian colleague Pedro Castillo Terrones met last week (Thursday) at the Brazilian Amazonian state of Rondonia, after which both leaders said their differences were a thing of the past.
While Bolsonaro announced a major cabinet reshuffle, Castillo has already done that last week, which highlighted the similarities between both heads of state as they met to promote bilateral ties.
Bolsonaro said his move involving more than 10 of his ministers had to do with launching the departing officials to pursue electoral offices later this year.
Meanwhile, Héctor Valer who was sworn in Tuesday as Peru's new president of the Council of Ministers (or Prime Minister), has already resigned Saturday afternoon. , due to “false accusations” filed against him by the opposition.
“I have come to tell you that I accept defeat. Machine-gunned by newspapers in Peru that belong to a group and that are linked to the extreme right. They built an image of an aggressor, they have injured a premier, that is why he retires to a barracks to heal his wounds and return ready when the people want” him to, Valer told reporters.
Valer had made comments against equal rights policies and opportunities between men and women. In September last year, he had told Congressman José Ventura to “wear a skirt” if he wanted to speak out in defense of women. In October 2016 the now-former Premier had been accused of family violence against his wife and daughter.
Back to the presidential meeting at the city of Porto Velho, Bolsonaro and Castillo posed like old friends and the Brazilian leader even borrowed Castillo's distinctive Chotan hat.
According to local media, the meeting itself was relatively short and no statements were released afterward, nor was any agreement or protocol signed; just a 36-item document filled with generic intentions to make feasible concrete forms of productive integration as soon as possible.
However, Bolsonaro said before the meeting he was really keen on Brazil having an exit to the Pacific, to reach the Chinese market more quickly. The Brazilian leader explained it was easier to negotiate with Peru than with Chile, because this scenario would involve third countries (Argentina and Bolivia).
In addition to that. Bolsonaro has admitted he would not be the kind of person to see eye-to-eye with Chile's far-left President-elect Gabriel Boric, who will take office March 11.
Shortly after arriving in Porto Velho, Bolsonaro portrayed himself as commanding a caravan of motorcycling followers, just like he had done in last year in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, São Paulo and other capitals. Since motorcyclists wear helmets it is difficult to identify them, but according to press reports, most of them are current or former members of the police and military forces.
When asked about the reason for his meeting with Castillo, the Brazilian leader merely replied that his attacks during the 2021 Peruvian electoral campaign had been forgotten. He also expressed his confidence that Castillo -who had run on a leftwing ticket- was a defender of freedom and conservative values. (Read also https://en.mercopress.com/2022/02/03/peru-s-leftist-president-sways-to-conservatives-amid-major-cabinet-reshuffle )
Bolsonaro focused on attacking former President and current frontrunner for the Oct. 2 presidential elections Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva and insisted there were still people who would bet on the return of a criminal like the PT leader, who allegedly squandered state resources from the National Bank for Economic and Social Development for the construction of the Caracas Metro and the Port of Mariel in Cuba, which the Caribbean island was to repay with cigars, Bolsonaro joked.
Peruvian supporters of Castillo in Brazil have been reported to disapprove of their candidate's meeting with someone like Bolsonaro, a character from the extreme right, a psychopath fearing that Castillo might have taken a political turn. They would have clearly preferred Castillo met with Lula.