Brazil’s Lula welcomed back by Latin American leaders

Jan 1, 2023, 7:43 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2023, 4:01 pm
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, second left, Uruguay's President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, rig...

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, second left, Uruguay's President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, right, former Uruguay President Jose 'Pepe' Mujica, second right, and former Uruguayan president Julio Maria Sanguinetti pose for a picture at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

(AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

              President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, second left, Uruguay's President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, right, former Uruguay President Jose 'Pepe' Mujica, second right, and former Uruguayan president Julio Maria Sanguinetti pose for a picture at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, poses for a picture with Chile's President Gabriel Boric after he was sworn in as new president at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, sits with Colombia's President Gustavo Petro during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, shakes hands with Colombia's President Gustavo Petro during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, second left, Uruguay's President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, right, former Uruguay President Jose 'Pepe' Mujica, second right, and former Uruguayan president Julio Maria Sanguinetti pose for a picture at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, poses for a picture with Chile's President Gabriel Boric after he was sworn in as new president at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, sits with Colombia's President Gustavo Petro during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, shakes hands with Colombia's President Gustavo Petro during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, sits with Colombia's President Gustavo Petro during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, shakes hands with Colombia's President Gustavo Petro during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, left, shakes hands with Spain's King Felipe VI during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva puts on earphones for translation for a bilateral meeting with Spain's King Felipe VI at Itamaraty Palace the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, and Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez hold a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, and Bolivia's President Luis Arce pose for photos during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, shakes hands with Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace, the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
            
              Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, right, and Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez pose for photos during a bilateral meeting at Itamaraty Palace the day after Lula's inauguration in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Latin American leaders converged on Brazil to meet with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on his first full day in office Monday, welcoming him back to power and hoping his country assumes a great role on the international stage.

Lula’s predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, rarely traveled abroad or received visiting heads-of-state and found himself increasingly isolated.

But South American heads of state – some of them fellow leftists, though not all – clearly welcomed Lula’s third term in office and want greater participation from the continent’s largest economy.

“It was a very powerful symbol of desire in the region that leaders want Brazil to be back,” according to Oliver Stuenkel, a professor of international relations at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, a university. “Latin American leaders want an active, engaged Brazil.”

On Monday, Lula met with presidents Argentina’s Alberto Fernández, Bolivia’s Luis Arce of Bolivia, Ecuador’s Guillermo Lasso, Chile’s Gabriel Boric and Colombia’s Gustavo Petro. Other leaders also traveled to the capital, Brasilia, on Sunday and congratulated Lula on his inauguration, including Uruguay’s President Luis Alberto Lacalle Po.

On Monday afternoon Lula also met with Wang Qishan, the vice president of China, by far Brazil’s biggest export destination. Although Bolsonaro toned down his attacks on China in the latter half of his administration, it is important for China to dialogue with Lula’s administration and ensure Latin America’s biggest nation remains a true partner, Stuenkel said.

Lula is later scheduled to receive the president of Angola and representatives from Cuba, Venezuela and Peru.

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Brazil’s Lula welcomed back by Latin American leaders