Washington, Dec 22 US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the first indigenous person to hold a ministerial position, will lead the US delegation to the inauguration ceremony of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as President of Brazil on January 1.
Haaland, who hails from Pueblo Laguna in New Mexico, has responsibility as interior chief to administer federal lands, many of them captured by the United States government from indigenous tribes during its expansion to the west. .
Besides Hollande, the other members of the delegation traveling to Brazil are Juan Gonzalez, Biden’s chief adviser for Latin America, and Douglas Koneff, the US charge d’affaires in Brazil, who currently holds the highest diplomatic post in Brazil. The absence of an ambassador, the White House explained in a statement.
The US Senate earlier this month voted to appoint Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, a career diplomat, to serve as ambassador to Brazil, but she has yet to take office.
The United States was one of the first countries to recognize Lula’s election victory over the country’s outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro in October this year, in a bid to block any attempts by the far-right to dispute the results.
Lula and Biden, who already know each other when the US was vice president under Barack Obama (2009-2017), spoke on the phone on October 31, a day after the election results were announced, and promised to work together.