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Jess Frampton

Lula’s balancing act

Following the defeat of right-wing nationalist Jair Bolsonaro to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last year, many in the West were hopeful that Latin America's most populous nation would become a likeminded partner in promoting democratic norms, upholding the rules-based order, and confronting authoritarian governments.

Yet in his first four months in office, Brazil's President Lula has refused to unequivocally condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine and chided the United States and Europe for not doing enough to end the war. He’s deepened ties to Moscow and Beijing. He’s dispatched a high-level delegation to meet with Venezuela's dictator Nicolas Maduro. He’s even allowed Iranian warships to dock in Rio de Janeiro.

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