Brazil and Mexico presidents recognize Biden’s victory after facing criticism

The populist leaders of Brazil and Mexico have both finally recognized Joe Biden’s election victory after facing heavy criticism for their six-week hesitation.

“Greetings to President Joe Biden with my best wishes and the hope that the US continues to be the land of the free and the home of the brave,” the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, a pre-eminent Donald Trump admirer, tweeted late on Tuesday afternoon. “I will be ready to work with the new government.”

Earlier Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico’s president, sent the US president-elect a lukewarm two-page letter which contrasted with the enthusiastic seven-page missive he sent Trump after his own election in 2018.

López Obrador’s decision had left Bolsonaro as the most prominent member of a tiny band of holdouts still declining to endorse the result.The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, also congratulated Biden on Tuesday, wishing the president-elect “every success”.

Rubens Ricupero, Brazil’s former ambassador to the US said he believed most Brazilian diplomats were aghast at Bolsonaro’s delay in recognizing Biden’s win. “It’s a lunatic reaction that is utterly lacking in any kind of diplomatic logic … Any diplomat with their head screwed on knows this is madness,” Ricupero said.

Even Brazil’s vice-president, Hamilton Mourão, had appeared perplexed. Before Bolsonaro’s announcement on Tuesday, Mourão shrugged when quizzed by journalists over his boss’s motives, answering: “I don’t know.”

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