Bolsonaro and Macri Look for Better Ties to Distract From Their Domestic Troubles

Bolsonaro and Macri Look for Better Ties to Distract From Their Domestic Troubles
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gives a Brazil national soccer team jersey to Argentinian President Mauricio Macri before a lunch at the government house in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 6, 2019 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Earlier this month, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made his first trip to neighboring Argentina since taking office. The focus of his visit with President Mauricio Macri was largely on economic issues, as the two presidents discussed ways to deepen trade and investment ties and strengthen Mercosur, the regional trade bloc that also includes Paraguay and Uruguay. But for both Bolsonaro and Macri, their meeting was also an opportunity to advance a positive foreign policy agenda as they both face mounting political challenges at home. In an interview with WPR, Leonardo Bandarra, a research fellow specializing in Latin America at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies in Hamburg, discusses the factors bringing Bolsonaro and Macri closer together.

World Politics Review: How significant was Bolsonaro’s recent visit to Buenos Aires, given Brazil and Argentina’s complicated relationship?

Leonardo Bandarra: Since the late 1980s, Brazil and Argentina have intensified cooperation to an unprecedented level. Today, Argentina acknowledges Brazil as its “global partner”—that is, a partner whose positions should be considered in all areas of its foreign policy agenda. Brazil also regards good relations with Argentina as a critical component of its global strategy.

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