Biden invites Lula to D.C. amid Brazil unrest; ambassador sworn in

Vice President Kamala Harris (R) ceremonially swears in Elizabeth Bagley as ambassador to Brazil on Monday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI
1 of 4 | Vice President Kamala Harris (R) ceremonially swears in Elizabeth Bagley as ambassador to Brazil on Monday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 9 (UPI) -- In the wake of recent political unrest in Brazil, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday invited its new president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to Washington and the new U.S. ambassador to Brazil was sworn in.

Biden spoke with Lula by phone, reaffirming the United States' support for Brazil's democracy as chaos continues in the streets. Demonstrations by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro have turned destructive in recent days with more than 1,200 people arrested for rioting.


"President Biden condemned the violence and the attack on democratic institutions and on the peaceful transfer of power," a joint statement from the White House said.

"The two leaders pledged to work closely together on the issues confronting the United States and Brazil, including climate change, economic development and peace and security."

Far-right protesters have contested Lula's election, while Bolsonaro refuses to concede defeat. The former president has repeated unfounded claims that malfunctioning voting machines were the reason for his loss in October's runoff election.

Lula won 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro's 49.1%. Lula was sworn into office on Jan. 1.


Biden asked Lula to visit Washington in early February for "in-depth consultations on a wide-ranging shared agenda." Lula accepted the invitation, according to the White House.

"I condemn the assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil. Brazil's democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined. I look forward to continuing to work with @LulaOficial," Biden tweeted.

Biden started the week in Mexico for the North American Leaders Summit. The visit comes after the president's first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border since being elected.

Meanwhile in Washington, Vice President Kamala Harris swore in the new U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Elizabeth Bagley. The position has been vacant for more than a year.

Harris said Bagley will further the cooperation between the United States and Brazil by supporting Lula.


Bagley has worked within the State Department for 20 years. She served as ambassador to Portugal during the administration of President Bill Clinton, and was an advisor to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

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