•Press Release Brazil Latin America and the Caribbean US Foreign Policy
Washington, DC — A delegation of US Members of Congress and staff arrives to Brasilia today for a series of high-level meetings with government officials, congressional representatives, and social movements to learn about Brazil’s leading efforts to defend democracy, drive the green transition, and recover the rights to health, housing, and food security after four years of the disastrous Jair Bolsonaro presidency.
The delegation, which includes Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Greg Casar (D-TX), and Maxwell Frost (D-FL), as well as Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) Chief of Staff Misty Rebik, is traveling to Brazil as part of a delegation sponsored by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Following their visit to Brazil, the delegation will go to Chile and Colombia.
“US foreign policy has too often contributed to instability in Latin America: we should be protecting democracy rather than supporting coups, and we should be creating peace and prosperity across the Western hemisphere rather than replaying the Cold War,” Representative Greg Casar said. “Now is the time to talk about our history, jointly fight the climate crisis, and invest in lasting peace. That is why I’m joining this delegation to Brazil, Colombia, and Chile — to meet, listen, and learn from our counterparts and chart a new way forward.”
The delegation will kick off with a visit to the Palacio Planalto, where US Members of Congress will meet with President Lula’s cabinet and advisory teams — such as Chief Special Advisor of the Presidency Celso Amorim and Minister of Institutional Relations Alexandre Padilha — to discuss President Lula’s policy vision for his present mandate; and the Palacio Itamaraty, where delegates will meet with Secretary General Maria Laura da Rocha to discuss Brazil’s plans to lead the Group of 20 (G20) next year.
The delegation continues with a series of meetings to learn about Brazil’s efforts to protect its democratic institutions, counter disinformation, and pursue justice for the January 8 riots. Delegates will visit the Senate to meet with Senator Eliziane Gama, President of the Commission on the Defense of Democracy; and visit Congress to meet with a roundtable of federal representatives leading the January 8 Congressional Inquiry (CPMI).
The itinerary will continue with a series of high-level meetings to learn about Brazil’s leadership on climate justice. Members will meet with Minister of Finance Fernando Haddad to discuss the Lula administration’s newly announced Ecological Transition Plan that establishes a new legal infrastructure to promote green investments and clean energy infrastructure; Deputy Célia Xakriabá to discuss the restoration of protections for Indigenous territories and the Amazon rainforest; and Adriana Abdenur, Special Advisor to the President of the Republic, to learn more about how the US and the international community can best support sustainable development ahead of the 30th UN Conference on Climate Change (COP 30) in Belém.
Finally, the delegation will meet with a range of social movements and civil society organizations to learn about the past and present struggles for food security, fair wages, and dignified housing in Brazil. Delegates will meet with the Unified Workers’ Central (CUT) to learn about the fight for workers’ rights across all sectors of the Brazilian economy; the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) to learn about their nationwide efforts to secure land reform; and the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) to visit their solidarity kitchens and see their efforts to provide housing to unhoused families in Brasilia and across the country.
CEPR’s Director of International Policy Alex Main said: “All too often, visitors from Washington come to the region to deliver lectures and unsolicited advice. This delegation has come to Brazil to listen, learn, observe and dialogue. Delegates want to better understand the impact of US policy in Brazil and the region. These Members of Congress are aware of the history of US support for undemocratic coups such as Brazil in 1964 and Chile in 1973; it is a history that they never want to see repeated. During their visit to Brasilia, the delegation will meet with progressive counterparts to discuss common challenges: the defense of our institutions in the face of anti-democratic forces, the threats to the Amazon and other vital ecosystems, the pressing challenge of fighting poverty, inequality, and racism. This delegation is about creating lasting bonds between Brazil and the United States in order to work together to build a more just, peaceful and equitable world.”