Brazil's Temer travels to U.S. as domestic approval ratings plummet

Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer seeks to enhance political legitimacy during his visit to the U.S.

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo (SP) |
Brazilian President Michel Temer greets U.S. President Donald Trump
Brazilian President Michel Temer greets U.S. President Donald Trump - Handout

Embattled Brazilian President Temer traveled to the United States on Monday as part of a four-day visit in which his administration seeks to cultivate political credibility among members of the international and business community. 

Temer, who came to power last year after the parliamentary coup of former President Dilma Rousseff, has implemented a series of highly unpopular austerity measures and privatization decrees, which is opening the country up to foreign investment. Last month, President Temer announced the proposed privatization of 57 public companies with the objective of reducing the country's fiscal deficit.

“I would say that that his [Temer’s] primary goal is to try and legitimize his government and also make economic deals with investors, while at the same time selling the idea that the country is on the path towards economic recovery - which couldn't be further from the truth,” said Aline Piva, Assistant Deputy Director at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs ( 

Brazil suffered through its worst recession on record during 2015 and 2016 and the economy is expected to grow by less than 0.5 percent in 2017. 

Some economists argue that the privatization and austerity measures being promoted by the Temer administration are in fact contributing to the country’s slowed economic growth and prohibiting full economic recovery. 

Meanwhile, as part of his visit to the United States, Temer also attended a state dinner on Monday with U.S. President Donald Trump, Colombian President Manuel Santos and Argentine Vice-President Gabriela Michetti. 

During their talks, the heads-of state discussed the domestic affairs taking place in Venezuela. 

Following their meeting, which was entirely absent of any Venezuelan representatives, President Trump issued fresh threats saying that he would implement “additional measures” if no immediate “improvements” were seen in the Latin American country. 

Piva pointed out that the U.S. government’s ongoing attempts to undermine Venezuelan democracy were enhanced due to Brazil’s 2016 parliamentary coup, which she argues, “played an important role in shifting the balance of power in the region.”

“Brazil’s subservience to the U.S. government gave the U.S. more power in the region making it easier to attack countries like Venezuela,” Piva stated. 

Piva went on to note that Temer’s participation in Monday’s discussion represents an attempt by the Temer Administration to generate greater political legitimacy, both regionally and internationally. 

Brazilian President Michel Temer is being currently being charged with obstruction of justice and leading a criminal organization in a case that could suspend him from office for up to six months.

Temer’s visit to the U.S. takes place as his approval ratings continue to plummet. Polling firm MDA found that only 3.4 percent of those polled felt that the Temer government was doing a “great or good” job - down from 10.3 percent in February. 

Edited by: Simone Freire