Beyond any doubt, the most important moment of the month, in every way, was President Bolsonaro’s speech at the UN. The organization, over 70 years old now, reserves to Brazil, by tradition, the first speech of the General Assembly. Many Brazilians made a difference in the UN, but none stood out, so highly above others, as did Oswaldo Aranha, a key player in the creation of the State of Israel.
This prominent “isolated leadership” is over. Bolsonaro gave a “historical” speech. The problem is that, although the perception is the same in terms of impacts, these are controversial, for some found it the worst and most shameful speech ever given, while for others saw in it a Statesman’s statement. In fact, Bolsonaro was himself, with everything we have grown used to (but we refuse to accept!) since his campaign for president and these first nine months in office. Thus, the president does not make much distinction from the former Bolsonaro and the “institution” he sees himself to have become.
The possible reflexes of a speech such as the one delivered by Bolsonaro share opinions, but on one point everyone agrees: it was a paradigm shift. Among those who consider the president’s speech a disaster in form and content, they find no parallel in history, and say it was “anti-diplomacy” at work. They anticipate immediate consequences in the form of a deficit in friendly dialogue (agreements, deals, etc.) and the prestige of our proactive diplomacy. On the other hand, there are those who applaud the use of the world’s leading tribune for, in particular, defend the country from attacks on our sovereignty in the Amazon, and also for a radical change in our politics and economy, to present the new environment in which we operate nowadays.
In fact, the speech was a break from what we usually hear from our representatives at the UN. Direct and straightforward, the tone sounded aggressive. True and proud, the message sounded pedantic in stating that Brazil has qualified people ready to solve and present the solutions to our problems. Assertive and timely, it was also deeply disturbing when it called for respect and trust to Brazil by addressing and committing to issues such as sovereignty, freedom, democracy, economic openness, fighting corruption, protecting the Amazon and, of course, focusing opportunities for the development of the Brazilian population.
Did the tone muddle the substance of the message? Perhaps. Soon we will find out. In a world shrouded in radical change and a UN that needs to strengthen its purposes, face criticism to the institution and dispel its recent failures, Bolsonaro’s speech was anything but hypocritical. Unfortunately, as with the president’s position in Brazil, Bolsonaro’s speech at the UN seems to divide and inflame the country even further, thus undermining the nation’s immense future, meaning some may feel more hatred for the president than love for Brazil.