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Brazil, Venezuela and strategic space Arab News23 Mar 2019DR. THEODORE KARASIK

In the shadow of the Venezuela crisis, the US and Brazil are improving bilateral relations in several areas in terms of strategic space and its use. The idea is to improve bilateral relations that will bring strategic benefits to America at a time of change in Latin America’s northern cone region, which includes Colombia, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro met US President Donald Trump, and although the Brazilian delegation did not get all that they asked for, the White House and Bolsonaro moved their personality- driven relationship closer with a few deals, and with more to come later. The presidents condemned Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and sought to cooperate on public security and military development.

The US gave Brazil immediate concessions in trade matters in return for granting a unilateral visa waiver for US visitors, a tariff-free quota for wheat imports and easier access for American space launches from Brazil. Future negotiations are to focus on America selling Brazil nuclear reactors, investing in Brazil’s now-halted Angra 3 nuclear power plant, and also entering Brazil’s emerging uranium mining market.

There is more. In terms of energy, the US is going to participate in the next rounds of oil bloc auctions in the pre-salt area off the coast of Brazil known as the transfer- of-rights zone. The pre-salt area, where billions of barrels of oil and natural gas are trapped beneath a layer of salt under the ocean floor, is one of the world’s largest oil finds of recent decades. The US is also interested in investing in Brazil’s natural gas sector, which is being opened to private investment. The country’s gas market is currently dominated by Petroleo Brasileiro SA and state distribution companies.

That is not all. The US and

Brazil signed a deal that opens Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center space port to satellite launches. The deal being worked out is to salvage Brazil’s once-promising space program, which is also in disrepair. US representatives from Boeing and Lockheed Martin are visiting the site, and with the entrance into the market of small launch companies, the space port may attract more investment by an equatorial spin that produces 30 percent fuel savings. That type of advertising helps Brazil to project its image as a forwardlooking country.

The above is indicative of strategic space in Latin America as the transfer of power continues in Venezuela.

With President Juan Guaido’s Chief of Staff Robert Marrero detained by Maduro’s forces, the stakes have gone up considerably. For Brazil, the contingency of contending with America’s next act in Venezuela is to hold the border and assist in the transition while maintaining Brazil’s traditional values under a president who has an affinity for the US president in the hope of future lucrative deals from the US.

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