Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro Uninvites Cuba, Venezuela from Presidential Inauguration

Brazil's Presidential pre-candidate and conservative lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, speaks during a meeting of the "In Defense of Muncipalities" congress, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
AP Photo/Eraldo Peres

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 In a statement, the ministry confirmed they had rescinded invitations to the aforementioned governments.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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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