Bolsonaro to present ‘new Brazil’ in Davos

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Monday he will present to the world leaders gathering in Davos the “new Brazil” he and his new government are working on, one that will be friendlier to investors and agribusiness.

“We want to show… that Brazil is taking measures so that the world re-establishes confidence in us,” Bolsonaro told reporters as he arrived in the Swiss ski resort hosting the World Economic Forum meeting.

The new far-right leader of Latin America’s biggest economy is the star attraction of Davos in the absence of US President Donald Trump and several other prominent heads of state.

On Tuesday, he said that he will present a “very short” speech setting out the pro-market direction Brazil will take with him at the helm — a path “without being guided by ideology,” he promised.

“We will show that we are a country that is safe for investments, especially in the area of agribusiness which is very important for us. It is our most valuable commodity. We want to expand this type of business. We are here for that, to show that Brazil is changing.”

Bolsonaro said the heavy lifting at Davos was to be done by his economy minister, Paulo Guedes, a US-trained free market advocate whose presence in Brazil’s cabinet has enthused investors.

The president’s speech, written and revised by Guedes and “many ministers,” aims to give “the broadest message possible of the new Brazil that is presenting itself, with our arrival in power.”

Bolsonaro and his team in Davos, made up of Guedes as well as his justice and institutional security ministers, were also expected to speak of Brazil’s increasingly strident challenges to the leftist government of Venezuela.

“I hope that Venezuela’s government will quickly change,” Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former army captain and veteran lawmaker, said.

The Brazilian leader won the election late last year on promises to eradicate crime and corruption. But his “Mr Clean” image is being clouded by a brewing domestic scandal surrounding his politician son.

Flavio Bolsonaro, who is a senator in Brazil’s incoming congress, is under scrutiny from a government financial watchdog for dozens of suspect payments to his bank account in 2017, and for other transactions conducted through the account of a close former aide.