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Brazilian president calls off trip to New York in face of protests, sponsor withdrawals

Brazilian president calls off trip to New York in face of protests, sponsor withdrawals

Brazilian president calls off trip to New York in face of protests, sponsor withdrawals
May 04
14:54 2019

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has cancelled a trip to New York, where he was due to be honored as the person of the year, after weeks of protests prompted several sponsors to boycott the gala.

Bolsonaro’s office announced on Friday that he would not be attending the dinner due to “the resistance and deliberate attacks by the Mayor of New York and the pressure of interest groups” on its organizers and sponsors.

The festival, organized by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce for May 14, was originally due to be held at the New York Museum of Natural History.

It was, however, moved to the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, where protesters have been gathering every night outside seeking the complete cancellation of the event.

Major sponsors of the event, such as US airline Delta and British daily Financial Times and consulting firm Bain & Co, said they would not sponsor the event as planned.
“We have decided to withdraw our sponsorship of the … 2019 Person of the Year Awards Gala Dinner,” Bain said. “Encouraging and celebrating diversity is a core Bain principle.”

The cancellation is seen as a blow for the Brazilian head of state, whose alignment with US President Donald Trump has earned him reputation as “the Trump of the Tropics” among media outlets.

Just like his American counterpart, the Brazilian Trump has followed the US president in opposing anti-imperialist governments in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba; called for the relocation of Brazil’s embassy to the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds; and promised to consider the establishment of a US military base in Brazil as a way to “counter Russian influence” in neighboring Venezuela.

Bolsonaro has described Venezuela as “a threat to its national security.”

The Brazilian president has come under fire for following Trump in making racial remarks and planning to erode environmental protections. Bolsonaro has also offered hard-line conservative measures, including supporting wider gun ownership, more lethal police actions and fewer rights for indigenous communities.

A professor of international relations at the State University of Rio de Janeiro said it was remarkable that Bolsonaro was facing such corporate protests just four months into his presidency.

“We can imagine what comes ahead,” said Maurício Santoro.

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