The next few days will be decisive in an operation of high and delicate diplomatic engineering that will affect South America, but that is also very important for the European Union (EU): getting Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil, and Javier Milei, imminent President of Argentina, are able to sit down and talk.

If the operation is delicate it is, in large part, because of both of them. If Milei campaigned stating that Lula was a “socialist” with whom he did not want to interact, because socialism is corrupt and sinks its countries, Lula sent his team specialized in winning elections to Buenos Aires to help the Peronist Sergio Massa. But Massa lost, Lula congratulated Milei without naming him and hours later Milei had a smiling video conference with Jair Bolsonaro.

It is difficult to experience more attacks in such a short time, both the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Mauro Vieira, and the future Argentine Foreign Minister, Diana Mondino, are aware of this.

“Milei has already chosen the president he wants to have in Buenos Aires on inauguration day,” a senior source at Itamaraty, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, told EL MUNDO, with bitter irony.

On the night that Milei won the Argentine presidency with 55.6 percent of the votes, Eduardo Bolsonaro, one of the former president’s sons, uploaded a drawing to social networks in which his father saw Milei and Donald Trump smiling. The president-elect of Argentina has strong affinities with the former US president and the former Brazilian president, and he is well aware that Bolsonaro is nothing short of the devil for Lula.

The tense situation added a new ingredient this Wednesday, when Milei published a message on the social network Argentina”.

The message included the mention of several world leaders, including the Chilean Gabriel Boric, from the left, the Italian Giorgia Meloni, from the right, the Frenchman Emanuel Macron, the Ukrainian Volodimir Zelensky and the British Foreign Minister, David Cameron. Lula did not appear, despite the fact that on Sunday the Brazilian congratulated the Argentines on their election, nor did Pedro Sánchez, who has not yet established contact with Milei.

The Argentine has insisted that he will not interact with “socialist or communist” countries, a position that his chancellor, Mondino, must moderate. The future head of Argentine foreign relations has been talking with her Brazilian counterpart, Mauro Vieira, and with the Brazilian ambassador to Argentina, Julio Glinternick Bitelli, as well as with the Argentine ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Scioli. Between the four of them they are building a network that allows the two presidents to feel safe to take the step of starting a relationship.

Scioli’s case is especially interesting. Peronism’s presidential candidate in 2015, narrowly defeated by Mauricio Macri, he managed to get Bolsonaro and the current Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, to talk and understand each other on some issues despite having started their governments by exchanging disqualifications and insults. Scioli wants to remain in Brasilia as an ambassador, and it would not be strange for him to do so: Milei was part of his economic teams in the 2015 campaign.

On Tuesday night, Lula gave a signal of detente at the Rio Branco diplomacy school, in the Itamaraty Palace.

“I don’t have to like the president of Chile, Argentina or Venezuela. He doesn’t have to be my friend. He has to be president of his country, I have to be president of my country. We have to have a Brazilian state policy and he has to have his. We have to sit at the table, each one defending their interests. There cannot be supremacy of one over the other, we have to reach an agreement. That is the art of democracy.”

We must “try to live democratically in adversity,” Lula added. A coexistence that would be greeted with joy in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union (EU), which is seeking to close the strategic association agreement with Mercosur and the last thing it needs is for Brasilia and Buenos Aires not to understand each other. And also important for the rest of the world, because Brazil will preside over the G-20 in 2024, and a fight between the South American giant and its main regional partner would not exactly be a help.