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With Bolsonaro, Trump again seeks to leverage personal relationship into policy

With Bolsonaro, Trump again seeks to leverage personal relationship into policy

Bolsonaro will meet US President Donald Trump in the White House on Tuesday during a visit aimed at boosting already-growing economic, political and military cooperation between the Americas' two largest militaries, two Brazilian government officials said on Thursday.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain who rode to the presidency with a brash, anti-establishment campaign modeled on Trump's 2016 run, has declared himself an unabashed admirer of the USA president and the American way of life.

And he predicted the two would have a "fantastic working relationship", telling reporters at a joint press conference they have "many views" in common.

The two also share a penchant for family politics, employing relations as some of their closest advisers.

"I know exactly what I want to happen in Venezuela", President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday.

The secondary sanctions were part of Washington's strategy to cut off revenue to Iran, which eventually helped force Tehran to negotiate a nuclear deal with six world powers in 2015.

Trump promised American support for Brazil to join the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD).

Brazil, the largest and most populous nation in Latin America, has pursued becoming a "major non-member ally" to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to make buying US weapons easier and to lower barriers to military and other cooperation with the U.S.

Days after taking office January 1, Bolsonaro, a former army captain, said Brazil would consider letting the USA have a military base in the country as way to counter Russian influence in the region, particularly related to Brazil's neighbor Venezuela. Bolsonaro said "re-establishing democracy in Venezuela is a shared interest" with the US.

The agenda of the day was Venezuela, where Bolsonaro has thus far been reluctant to allow Trump to use his country as a staging ground for an invasion. "There's also an opportunity here where they can be very good interlocutors".

Trump and Bolsonaro exchanged football shirts in the Oval Office
Trump and Bolsonaro exchanged football shirts in the Oval Office

The Brazilian officials said they have been negotiating the designation since the beginning of this year. Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo, is the Latin American representative for Bannon's populist network "Movement".

Bolsonaro was scheduled to speak to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce later Monday.

The far-right leader flew out of Brasilia early Sunday with six ministers, among them Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes and Justice Minister Sergio Moro, Brazilian media reported.

"You look at what's happening with different shows and it's hard to believe we win, but what it really shows, the people are smart", he said.

During a joint news conference with Bolsonaro at the White House, Trump urged Venezuela's military to end its support for socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro, calling him "a Cuban puppet".

China long ago surpassed the United States as Brazil's biggest trading partner and Bolsonaro's economy minister on Monday urged the United States to open its market more to Brazil if it wanted to change the status quo.

Like Trump, Bolsonaro has a polarizing history of commentary that critics call xenophobic, anti-immigrant, misogynistic and homophobic.

A senior administration official said Brazil plays an important role as an "interlocutor" between the US and Venezuela.

The MNNA designation would ease the transfer of defence technology at a time when Brazil's aerospace industry has forged new ties with the United States, including a planned tie-up between Boeing Co and Brazilian plane maker Embraer SA on both defence and commercial aircraft.

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