Bolsonaro & Trump: What Lies Ahead for Brazil-US Relations?


Event Summary This event has passed.

On March 17, just two-and-a-half months since his inauguration, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, will be arriving in Washington for discussions with President Trump and other officials before traveling to New York to meet with US corporate and financial leaders. After several years of a rather cool, detached relationship, the US and Brazilian governments have announced their intentions to build new and more productive ties, spanning economic, security and political issues. A deeper bilateral partnership will require Bolsonaro, often referred to as the “tropical Trump,” to address difficult challenges on the domestic front—energizing Brazil’s economy as it continues to struggle to recover from a prolonged recession, reversing escalating crime and violence throughout the country, and sustaining efforts to end pervasive political and corporate corruption.

Our March 13 discussion will focus on two sets of key questions:

First, what do the initial 75 days of Bolsonaro’s presidency tell us about his administration capacity to meet the challenges it faces? How strong are his appointments to critical management and advisory positions? Will he be able to assemble the broad political coalitions needed to enact a highly ambitious legislative agenda? What will it take to sustain the public support that brought him a decisive victory in last October’s presidential elections? What are his principal vulnerabilities at this point?

Second, what should we expect from his visit to Washington? Can the US and Brazil establish the basis for closer, more cooperative relations? What are their shared interests? What obstacles stand in the way? To what extent would more robust economic and political bonds between the two countries increase the prospects for a successful Bolsonaro presidency?

A discussion jointly hosted by the Inter-American Dialogue and the Latin American Studies Program at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Follow this event on Twitter at #BolsonaroDC and @The_Dialogue.

Opening Remarks:

Michael Shifter

President, Inter-American Dialogue (@MichaelShifter


Monica de Bolle

Director, Latin American Studies Program, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (@bollemdb)

Matias Spektor

Associate Professor of International Relations, Fundação Getúlio Vargas (@MatiasSpektor)


Peter Hakim

President Emeritus, Inter-American Dialogue