May 9 (UPI) -- Ahead of a U.S. visit by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonro next week, President Donald Trump has designated the South American nation a major non-NATO ally.
Trump previously said he favored Brazil joining NATO and has been a proponent of Bolsonaro's. Wednesday, the U.S. president declared in a memo to Congress Brazil's new status as a major non-NATO ally -- the 18th nation to receive that label from the United States.
"I am making this designation in recognition of the Government of Brazil's recent commitments to increase defense cooperation with the United States, and in recognition of our own national interest in deepening our defense coordination with Brazil," Trump said in a statement.
The designation is given to non-NATO-affiliated foreign governments considered by the United States a key strategic military partner. Tunisia was the last to receive the designation for its counter-terrorism work with American forces.
Bolsonaro will visit the United States next week, in a trip to Dallas. He was supposed to visit New York City to accept a Person of the Year award from the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, but controversial policies and statements caused activists to protest. The American Museum of Natural History ultimately canceled plans to host a black tie gala for Bolsonaro.
Spokesman Rego Barros said some U.S. cities "do not know how to take advantage of the good democratic environment in the United States, and therefore, Bolsonaro will visit another city within the country."
"Our president has already received several invitations from other [U.S.] states that ensure he will be honored properly when he arrives there," he added.
Some have called Bolsonaro "Brazil's Donald Trump."