Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
Ministry of External Relations
January 2, 2019
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) We announce the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Ambassador Ernesto Araujo, followed by the Secretary of State of the United States, Mr. Mike Pompeo.
Right now will have the floor the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Ambassador Ernesto Araujo.
FOREIGN MINISTER ARAUJO: (Via interpreter) Good morning, everyone. It is a pleasure to welcome you here at the Itamaraty Palace for the first work, our U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
We just had a nice talk about how to implement the proposal of President Bolsonaro of building a partnership, an intense and higher-level partnership between Brazil and U.S., and some ideas of how to do it. And we identified the common conviction that this is the path for our relationship.
We have concrete ideas and we’ll try to take it forward as we decided, and at the same time we want to see how to work together in behalf of the well-being of both countries and that corresponds to our objectives. I’d like to say that we’re just at the beginning of a new era that will be very productive in this relationship between Brazil and the U.S. and will have – will help the Brazilian economy to generate employment and to generate new initiatives in all fields, taking advantage of all the work that has been done already. But we intend to intensify this relationship.
Now, I pass the floor to Secretary Mike Pompeo.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Great, thank you. Good morning. It’s great to be here. It was an incredible privilege yesterday to witness the tens of thousands of people lining the streets as I pulled up to the Congresso Nacional. It was heartfelt. It was authentic. The expectations of the Brazilian people are high and deservedly so. I want to congratulate President Bolsonaro, Foreign Minister, yourself, on your new roles. We’re excited to work alongside of you. We know that you intend to make Brazil a safer, more prosperous nation, and please know you have the United States as your partner in doing so.
We had the chance today to talk about the bilateral relationship between our two countries. We believe that the opportunity between President Trump, President Bolsonaro, and our two teams creates a truly transformative opportunity for our two nations, for our two peoples. And we in the United States are committed to working alongside of you to do that in lots of areas, certainly in economic areas, making sure that our two countries’ businesses have great opportunities, but also deeper collaboration on the security front as well. The U.S.-Brazil Permanent Forum launched last year provides a great foundation to further enhance these opportunities.
And we know too we will have the opportunity to work alongside of each other against authoritarian regimes around the world. It heralds – while today heralds a new beginning in Brazil, it also marks 60 years to the day of repression of failed policies in Cuba. And we had a chance today also to talk about the threats that emanate from Venezuela and our deep desire to return democracy to the Venezuelan people as well.
I’ll close with this thought: If we do this well, we can make the lives of the people of Brazil, the people of the United States, and citizens all around the world better by working together, cooperative, and the Trump administration is determined to do that alongside you. Thank you for hosting me here these last two days. It’s been a real privilege and I’m thrilled at the new administration and all that we can do in the days and weeks ahead.
Thank you, Mr. Foreign Minister.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Right now, we’ll open this declaration to the press, the press questions. From the Brazilian press, journalist Roberto Kovalick from Globo TV.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, good morning.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning.
QUESTION: Bom Dia. Mr. Secretary, my question is: What sort of role does President Trump expect Brazil to play in the coming years? And two fields that you already mentioned, but if you’d go deeper, I would appreciate: First of all, Venezuela and Cuba. Is a military operation on the table or something of that sort with the help of Brazil? And in terms of business, President Trump said a few months ago that Brazil is a hard place to make business and sometimes it is a little bit unfair with American companies. Will it change?
(Via interpreter) Minister, good morning. For you, I’d like to ask: You also mentioned with regards to the cooperation with the U.S., in the electoral campaign, President Bolsonaro and you in your articles, in your blog several times spoke about a more pragmatic positioning and not as much ideological. However, this alignment with the U.S. seems to some analysts a bit excessive. After all, what are the priorities of Itamaraty with regards to alignment? In your words right now, you just mentioned that this represents a gain for Brazil, but many analysts believe that the options that are being chosen are very little ideological and they represent commercial risks for Brazil. After all, what are the priorities for the next coming years? Thank you very much.
SECRETARY POMPEO: So if I may? Yeah. So let me try and elaborate just a bit in response to your question. So with respect to security issues, it is almost always the case that nations work together best when they come from a set of shared values, and that’s what we find today. We think the people of America and the people of Brazil have a set of shared values in democracy, and liberty, and freedom. I watched the peaceful transition of power take place yesterday. This does not happen all around the world and in many countries. You identified Cuba. We’ve spoken about Venezuela and Nicaragua. These are places that the people of those countries don’t have that opportunity to express their views, to speak their mind, to get government that is responsive to them. These are the kind of things that we intend to work on together.
And so you were talking about modalities, whether there’s an operation. What there is, is a common understanding of this commitment to working closely with partners that share the American set of values. And then for economics, sometimes it is hard for American companies to do business in Brazil, sometimes it’s hard for Brazilian companies to do business in America, as well.
President Trump’s aim is very clear. We want a set of relationships – economic relationships – call them whatever one may. People use the ideas of FTAs and the like, but what’s important is that the relationships, the economic relationships, give the companies and citizens of our two countries real opportunity that is fair, that is reciprocal, that is conducted transparently. Not the same model that is used by some other countries in the world. These should be commercial transactions driven by economics that make lives better for the people of our two countries, not driven by political imperatives from others who want to come to a country and make an investment not for commercial reasons, but for political reasons, to achieve political outcomes. If our two countries share those goals, then I am confident that in the days and weeks ahead, we will deliver a good outcome on those for the Brazilian people and for America.
Mr. Foreign Minister.
FOREIGN MINISTER ARAUJO: (Via interpreter) Well, thank you. Well, with regards to alignment, I’d like to say that, in fact, Brazil is realigning itself. Brazil is just coming back to its own values and with its own ideals, and Itamaraty is actually realigning with the Brazilian people in our foreign policy, and the reflex of this is that we would get closer to those countries which have these same values. So in our relationship with the U.S. is a consequence of this internal realignment in Brazil, and with other countries the same way.
With regards to the – an eventual conflict of interest or commercial interests or our actions in this sphere, I believe that it is not a problem for a big country. Brazil has to place itself as a big country. Brazil needs at the same time to work in favor of its values and ideals of the people, and to work for the economic growth. We need to do business and generate trade opportunities and economic opportunities. We understand it is perfectly possible to do both things, and a major country doesn’t need to renounce its values or ideas to create economic opportunities. Thank you.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) From the U.S. press, journalist Mary Milliken.
QUESTION: Bom dia. Parts of Brazil’s civil society have expressed concerns about a possible loss of protection for human rights under this new government. Mr. Secretary, do you share these concerns? And Sr. Ministro, do you have a response?
And if I may, Mr. Secretary, on the detained American in Moscow, do you believe this is retaliation for the Maria Butina case, and what do you intend to do about it?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Foreign Minister, let me let you go first on the human rights issue and I’ll follow up and then I’ll answer the final question.
FOREIGN MINISTER ARAUJO: There’s no reason at all to fear any sort of lack of protection for human rights in Brazil.
(Via interpreter) Actually, I should speak in Portuguese. There are no reasons to have any fear for any reduction in the human rights in Brazil. This is simply a leftover from the electoral campaign that survives for some reason. The commitment of the new government with the defense of human rights is absolute, and even we have to increase the defense of some rights which are not being defended enough. We’ll talk to the minister of human rights. And this is an area in which we’ll not only keep working, but we’ll work in a more incisive fashion for the protection of the rights of all Brazilian citizens.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thanks. I’d add only this: The United States is ever mindful of ensuring that countries treat each of their citizens with dignity and respect. It doesn’t happen every place in the world. Where we find it is inadequate, we call it out. We’re very consistent about that and we do our best to effect that, to make clear that it is unacceptable, that we expect every country to behave in a way that treats their citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings. We expect that everywhere in the world. That certainly includes here. And our conversation this morning makes clear to me that this administration’s committed to it as well.
With respect to Mr. Whelan, who is being held, we are hopeful within the next hours we will get consular access to see him and get a chance to learn more. We’ve made clear to the Russians our expectation that we will learn more about the charges, come to understand what it is he’s been accused of, and if the detention is not appropriate, we will demand his immediate return.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Well, this declaration to the press is adjourned.