Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro uninvited leaders from Cuba and Venezuela to his presidential election next month. His socialist predecessors welcomed both.
Bolsonaro reportedly made the decision to disinvite both Nicolás Maduro and Cuba’s ceremonial leader Miguel Díaz-Canel after consultations between the Brazilian Foreign Ministry and Bolsonaro’s team. In a statement, the ministry confirmed they had rescinded invitations to the aforementioned governments.
“Initially, the Foreign Ministry received from the elected government the recommendation that all heads of State and Government of the countries with which we maintain diplomatic relations should be invited, and this was done,” said a ministry spokesperson. “However, we then received the recommendation that Cuba and Venezuela should not be included in the list, which required a new communication to those governments.”
“Obviously, regimes that violate the freedoms of their peoples and act openly against the future government of Brazil because of ideological affiliation with the group defeated in the elections will not be in the presidential inauguration in 2019,” Bolsonaro wrote on Twitter. “We defend and truly respect democracy.”
Naturalmente, regimes que violam as liberdades de seus povos e atuam abertamente contra o futuro governo do Brasil por afinidade ideológica com o grupo derrotado nas eleições, não estarão na posse presidencial em 2019. Defendemos e respeitamos verdadeiramente a democracia.
— Jair M. Bolsonaro (@jairbolsonaro) December 16, 2018
Bolsonaro’s incoming foreign secretary Ernesto Araùjo expressed a similar opinion, calling on like-minded governments to help topple the Maduro regime.
“Out of respect to the Venezuelan people, we did not invite Nicolás Maduro to attend the inauguration of president-elect Bolsonaro,” he wrote. “There is no place for Maduro in a celebration of democracy and the triumph of the Brazilian popular will. All countries of the world must stop supporting him and unite to free Venezuela.”
Em respeito ao povo venezuelano, não convidamos Nicolás Maduro para a posse do PR Bolsonaro. Não há lugar para Maduro numa celebração da democracia e do triunfo da vontade popular brasileira. Todos os países do mundo devem deixar de apoiá-lo e unir-se para libertar a Venezuela.
— Ernesto Araújo (@ernestofaraujo) December 16, 2018
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza responded angrily to the slight, claiming that his boss would never attend an inauguration for a president who is the “epitome of intolerance, fascism, and submission to interests contrary to those of Latin American and Caribbean integration.”
2/2 El Presidente @NicolasMaduro jamás consideró asistir a la posesión de un gobierno como el de @jairbolsonaro. Esta es la firme respuesta oficial que le enviamos a @ernestofaraujo a través de @ItamaratyGovBr el pasado 12 de diciembre: pic.twitter.com/6iB1dcC39h
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) December 16, 2018
Bolsonaro won the 2018 presidential election vowing a staunching anti-communist administration. This month, the 63-year-old former army captain said that Brazil has an “obligation” to help the United States fight communism around the world. He has also called for a purge of left-wing “outlaws” involved in the country’s corruption scandals.
“Either they go overseas, or they go to jail,” he said in October. “These red outlaws will be banished from our homeland. It will be a clean up the likes of which has never been seen in Brazilian history.”
Under the previous left-wing administrations of Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the country developed close relationship the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes, as well as other socialist governments across Latin America in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Uruguay. The left-wing alliance was known as the “Pink Wave.” The election of multiple right-leaning leaders in recent years has all but ended the trend.