New U.S.-Brazil alliance will likely target Cuba

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National security adviser John Bolton on Thursday plans to meet with Jair Bolsonaro, the controversial president-elect of Brazil.
“We share many bilateral interests and will work closely on expanding freedom and prosperity throughout the Western Hemisphere,” Bolton said on Twitter.
Bolton expects Bolsonaro to help the Trump administration step up the pressure on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which Bolton calls the “Troika of Tyranny.”
Bolsonaro opposes socialism. He told reporters, “We can’t allow Cuban slaves in Brazil and we can’t keep feeding the Cuban dictatorship.” That prompted Cuba to begin pulling its doctors out of Brazil.

President-elect Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: VOA News

Bolsonaro, a former Army captain, has been called Brazil’s Donald Trump. Bloomberg cited some of his statements that have drawn fire:

  • June 2011: “I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son,” Bolsonaro told Playboy magazine. “I prefer a son to die in an accident than show up with a mustachioed guy.”
  • October 2014: “She doesn’t deserve to be raped, because she’s very ugly,” Bolsonaro said of a rival lawmaker. “I’m not a rapist, but if I were, I wouldn’t rape her because she doesn’t deserve it.”
  • September 2018: “We’re going to execute the Workers’ Party members here!” Bolsonaro told supporters in the Brazilian state of Acre near the Venezuelan border. “Let’s run those crooks out of Acre! Since they like Venezuela so much, they’ll need to go there!”

I would not be surprised to see the U.S. government launch some sort of operation targeting Cuba from Brazil. Both the State Department and the Agency for International Development have turned to countries throughout Latin America to organize programs to support Cuban dissidents and human rights activists. One program had a secret base in Costa Rica.
U.S. government agencies have working relationships with organizations throughout Brazil. The State Department, USAID and other agencies have financed hundreds of projects in the South American nation.
I did a quick keyword search and found $805,861,514 in contracts and $128,695,703 in grants – a total of $934,557,217 from 2007 to 2018.
The Department of Defense has sold police and military equipment to Brazil. These items include four Black Hawk aircraft worth $48,304,608 and an assortment of armored vehicles and weapons, including Howitzers.
Grants have financed a range of projects, including $84,000 for 24 flights to fly over Brazil and collect greenhouse gas.
One spending record related to Brazil includes an inexplicable random mention of “bisexual.” That reminded me of Bolsonaro’s hate for gay people.

Screenshot of spending record shows inexplicably shows funding agency as “bisexual”

The DOD once bought a customized Brazilian flag for $6,820. My guess: That had something to do with the USS George Washington’s visit to Rio de Janeiro in 2015.
The State Department’s purchases in Brazil have included $709,855 for four body cavity X-ray machines. In case that gives you the creeps, it may be some consolation to know that they also snapped up six non-intrusive X-ray body scanners for a cool $1,117,700, including installation, of course.
Many other odd little items are sprinkled throughout the spending records, including:

  • $84,982 for mattresses
  • $9,371 in personalized moleskines, typically planners or agendas
  • $6,024 for plumber training

On a more serious note, if the U.S. government wants to use Brazil as a base to create mischief targeting Cuba, the infrastructure, contacts and working relationships are all there.

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