In comments made in Beijing on May 24, which appear not to have been much, if at all, reported outside his home country, Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourão called on the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (Brics) alignment to switch away from political issues and focus instead on economic development. He was speaking at the end of a visit to China, which included a visit to the head office of the New Development Bank, popularly called the Brics bank.
“Today, the economic question should be preponderant,” he said. “The political question, I will not touch on certain details here, because there are details of this aspect that are more personal and secret. But we have a hybrid war in force in the world, that comes from one of the members of Brics. So this raises a series of problems.”
(This was seen as a reference to Russia. It should perhaps be pointed out that, while Russia has been backing the regime of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Brazil has recognised Juan Guaidó as that country’s legitimate President.)
Mourão expressed the view that a Brics that ceased seeking political convergence would still have value for Brazilian interests. “We want to have flexibility and pragmatism,” he affirmed. “And seek that within Brics which has the real capacity to, the five countries united, dictate at least some part of the global rules. But this political question – we have differences, which are very marked.”
“We need precisely to get away from being [literally: staying] like a debating society, where the Presidents go, make half-a-dozen lovely speeches, sign a generic declaration and everything stays the same, as it was in the Abrantes barracks [a proverb, meaning that, despite all the work done, everything stays the same].”
Regarding the Brics Bank, he stated “[w]e must use it more”. He said that Brazil should use it to fund infrastructure projects which “are stopped” in Brazil.
Brazil will host the next Brics summit, which will take place in November this year. Currently, the South American country is the President Pro Tempore of the alignment. Mourão also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, inviting him to visit Brazil later this year, at the time of the Brics summit.