Brazil's new president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, has ruled out the chances of him backing a military intervention in crisis-hit Venezuela, although he condemned the “serious difficulties” caused by the “dictatorship” of President Nicolás Maduro.
“On our part there exists no interest [in a military solution], Brazil will always seek out the non-violent path to solve this problem”, stated the former Army captain in an interview with the local television channel Record.
Bolsonaro added that he spoke of the crisis in Venezuela and the ensuing refugee exodus with government leaders who had called to congratulate him on his victory in Sunday’s run-off vote against leftist candidate Fernando Haddad, from the Workers’ Party (PT), who have historically allied themselves with Chavismo.
“I had conversations with government leaders from other countries and the topic of Venezuela came up. They have requested that Brazil participate in some capacity to solve this problem," he said. "At the end of the day they are citizens, they are our brothers, they are going through some difficult times under Maduro’s dictatorship.”
Bolsonaro was also questioned regarding a report by the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, which stated that Colombia would support Brazil if took action to “overthrow Nicolás Maduro by military intervention.”
The newspaper cited a high-ranking government official who spoke under anonymity. However, the Colombian Foreign Ministry denied the reports were true..
Bolsonaro said that the topic was not discussed in his “protocol-mandatory conversation” with his Colombian counterpart, President Iván Duque.
The presdient-elect also criticised the PT for their alleged “admiration” of the socialist government leaders in Venezuela where, according to Bolsonaro, “the poorest are the ones suffering the most and fleeing to Brazil.”
Bolsonaro also said his government wants “to be free from some of the agreements of Mercosur,” the trading bloc that integrates Brazil with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay and, prior to their 2017 suspension, Venezuela.
“Mercosur is important but, to my understanding, it is given too much importance… We do not want Mercosur to collapse, but we want to give it it’s rightful place,” he said.
Bolsonaro, who will take power as head of state January 1, replacing the unpopular Michel Temer, looks set to redefine Brazil’s international alliances, prioritising alliances with like-minded right-wing governments in United States, Israel and Italy.