President Mauricio Macri took a phone call from Brazilian far-right presidential hopeful, Jair Bolsonaro this morning. According to a press release from Casa Rosada, they held a “cordial conversation, in the context of the current electoral process taking place in Brazil and the strategic relationship the countries have.”
Bolsonaro is likely to become the next Brazilian President. In the first round, he got a whopping 46 percent of the vote, while the runner-up Workers’ Party (PT) Fernando Haddad, lagged behind with 29 percent. Moreover, a recent survey conducted by pollster Ibope indicated that if the runoff, which will take place on October 28, were to be held today, Bolsonaro would get 59 percent of the vote, against Haddad’s 41.
Bolsonaro had already sent a message to Macri last week, when in a press conference he said he wanted to send “a big hug to Macri, who put a stop to ‘Dilma Kirchner,’” purposely replacing Cristina Kirchner’s name with ‘Dilma’ to compare her to ousted Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached in 2016.
By equating former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with Dilma Rousseff, Bolsonaro was illustrating his contempt for the former Argentine president: when voting for Rousseff’s impeachment and consequent ousting in 2016, Bolsonaro – then a national deputy – expressly dedicated his vote to a member of the last Brazilian dictatorship who had in fact tortured Rousseff.
Haddad, on his end, said on October 2 that “ideological differences aside,” he is a “personal friend” of President Mauricio Macri. The President met with Haddad at least once, in 2014, when they were both mayors of Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, respectively. According to the City government’s website, Macri named Haddad a guest of honor to the city and both visited the Feria del Libro and signed an agreement of environmental cooperation, which also included Mexico City.
The Argentine government has avoided taking sides on the elections of its largest trading partner, the only information being contrasting reports from different media outlets. Some assured the Macri administration would rather work with Haddad, others with Bolsonaro.