US trusts Brazil’s electoral system, says State Department spokesperson – 9/22/2022

US trusts Brazil’s electoral system, says State Department spokesperson – 9/22/2022
US trusts Brazil’s electoral system, says State Department spokesperson – 9/22/2022

Christopher Johnson said he cannot predict when the US government will recognize the election results, but said the ‘will of the people’ must be respected.

Just over a week before the first round of the Brazilian elections is held, the US State Department’s Portuguese-language spokesman, Christopher Johnson, said, in an interview with BBC News Brasil, that the US government trusts the electoral system Brazilian. “We do, yes,” said the diplomat.

Johnson’s statement comes after the president and candidate for re-election, Jair Bolsonaro (PL), has questioned the security and smoothness of the Brazilian electoral system.

During most of his term and the electoral race, Bolsonaro raised doubts, without presenting evidence, that the electronic voting machine would not be fraud-proof.

Johnson, who has served as a diplomat in Brazil, Paraguay and Haiti, also said that the US government does not yet know when it will announce its recognition of the results of the Brazilian elections, but stated that his country’s position is that ” the will of the Brazilian people is respected”.

On the international scene, Johnson says that Brazil is a “good candidate” for a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations (UN).

Currently, there are only five permanent members on the board (United States, United Kingdom, France, China and Russia) and another 10 non-permanent members with rotating terms, including Brazil.

This week, however, US President Joe Biden said at the UN General Assembly that he was in favor of increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent council seats, a historic agenda for Brazilian diplomacy.

Johnson also spoke about the conflict in Ukraine and the Brazilian position in relation to Russia, which, this week, announced the mobilization of 300,000 soldiers and did not rule out the use of nuclear weapons.

Check out the main excerpts from the interview:

BBC News Brasil – Brazilian officials, including President Jair Bolsonaro, have had frequent meetings with Russian officials, including after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This week, Brazilian Chancellor Carlos França and Russian Chancellor Serguei Lavrov met again. What signals do these encounters send in a context where Russia threatens to escalate the conflict?

Christopher Johnson – Our priority is to reach the point of ending the conflict in Ukraine. It has partners that are more aligned with our stance, but we dialogue to find the means to reach that end. We don’t always agree on which tools to use, but I think the point we all have in common is the sovereignty and independence of each country.

As our UN representative (Linda Thomas-Greenfield) said, the United States does not intend to dominate other countries. We understand that sometimes we will not be 100% in agreement, but we have other challenges that we intend to face together and we will continue to try to convince the other partners and help us ensure peace in Ukraine.

BBC News Brazil – You said that there are countries that are more aligned and others that are less. Which group is Brazil in?

Christopher Johnson – There are other countries that have not held this type of meeting, right? I think I would have to investigate what Brazil’s positions are regarding sanctions, etc. I would say European leaders are more aligned with us.

BBC News Brazil – Recently, Brazil abstained from a vote on the participation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the UN General Assembly. How does the US evaluate Brazil’s decision to abstain at such a critical moment?

Christopher Johnson – As I said, it would be important to respect the independence and sovereignty of all countries. We would prefer the majority of States to be in agreement […] But all countries have this right to abstain and we will continue to look at options to continue working together.

BBC News Brazil – Brazil has avoided taking a stand against Russia since the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. More recently, Brazil has been against the imposition of sanctions after the new Russian invasion of Ukraine. Considering President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a mobilization of 300,000 soldiers, do you think that Brazil was wrong?

Christopher Johnson – I think it would be a position for the Brazilian people to decide. President Bolsonaro was elected by the Brazilian people. We will continue to speak with our partners in Brazil to see how we work on these and other issues.

BBC News Brazil – Both Russia and China are making moves to expand their influence in Latin America, which for a long time was considered a zone of influence for the United States. What would have led the United States to neglect the region?

Christopher Johnson – The United States has always been open to working with partners in the region. We have shared culture and stories. In my case, I am a descendant of immigrants from the region and these ties are very strong. Regarding the influence of other countries in the region, we intend to inform our partners about the costs of relating to other countries.

We have seen that, sometimes, those countries that make deals with China end up realizing that the costs were higher than what they thought they would be. But as our Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said, it is not up to us to say with whom these countries will partner.

BBC News Brazil – If on the one hand Russia and China are making this move, on the other there are countries in the region open to the arrival of these countries. If values ​​are shared, why would they be so open to this approach?

Christopher Johnson – It would be difficult for me to talk about what motives these countries would have. But I can talk about us. We continue to have a relationship with China. It is an important trading partner of the United States even when there are problems in our relations. So I imagine that there is a calculation, too, from other countries.

BBC News Brazil – Is it possible for the United States to regain this leadership position in the region in a context in which China, for example, is already the largest trading partner of some of the countries in the region?

Christopher Johnson – I think so. The United States remains a leader, but we also have a more open vision of leadership. As President Joe Biden said in his speech, we are open to reforming the Security Council, the permanent and non-permanent seats, to integrate more members, especially those from the region.

BBC News Brazil – President Biden said he is in favor of this reformulation (of the UN Security Council) and this is a historic agenda for Brazil. Today, would Brazil have the support of the United States to be part of the UN Security Council as a permanent member?

Christopher Johnson – For us, I think it is clear that Brazil would be a good candidate. To select the countries that will participate (as permanent members of the council), I imagine it would be a process of dialogue, but obviously we would be open to Brazil’s candidacy.

BBC News Brasil – Would Brazil have the support of the United States to be part of the council on a permanent basis?

Christopher Johnson – To respect the diplomatic process, I don’t want to name yet which countries will be members of this council. But, as I said, Brazil would be a good candidate. I think the merits are evident.

BBC News Brasil – We will have elections in just over a week. The current Brazilian president calls into question the security of electronic voting machines and the electoral system. Does the United States trust the Brazilian electoral system?

Christopher Johnson – Democratic institutions are important for the North American people and for the Brazilian people. We will continue to work together to strengthen these institutions and we are attentive to this electoral process in Brazil.

BBC News Brazil – But do you trust the Brazilian electoral system or not?

Christopher Johnson – We trust, yes.

BBC News Brazil – There is a movement for Western powers to recognize the results of the elections as soon as the Superior Electoral Court announces the numbers. This would be a form of some sort of contestation maneuver of the results. When will the United States recognize the result of the Brazilian elections? Will it be right after the announcement of the TSE?

Christopher Johnson – As in any electoral process in the world, the most important thing is the voice of the people. So, we will be attentive to these results. I cannot predict what the stance (of the US government) would be because the most important thing is what the Brazilian people decided. So, not having the specifics, I can’t say what our stance would be. But what we want is for the Brazilian people and the will of the Brazilian people to be respected.

BBC News Brazil – Former President Lula has already hinted that Zelensky would be as guilty of the war in Ukraine as Putin. What kind of relationship do you expect with an eventual PT government in relation to this Russian issue?

Christopher Johnson – So I don’t think it would be appropriate to talk about a government and a candidate before the elections. At the moment, we continue to dialogue with several members of the Brazilian environment. So, of course, we continue to dialogue with President Bolsonaro, with other political parties and with Brazilian civil society. But I cannot speak of a government that does not exist.

– This text was originally published in https://www.bbc.com/portuguese/brasil-62975715


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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: trusts Brazils electoral system State Department spokesperson

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