Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro called Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro the “modern-day Hitler” on Tuesday, declaring that the Brazilian people will eventually “take care of him.”
In a speech to announce a range of new economic measures attempting to strengthen Venezuela’s shattered socialist economy, Maduro claimed that Bolsonaro was a “puppet” being controlled by various unnamed “sects.”
“There we have Brazil, in the hands of a fascist … Bolsonaro is Hitler in modern times,” Maduro said. “He does not have the courage of his own convictions because he is a puppet, a puppet of groups, of sects.”
“The Brazilian people will take care of him, let’s leave the Bolsonaro theme to the beautiful Brazilian people who will fight and take care of him,” he continued.
Maduro’s comments are the latest indication of rapidly escalating tensions between the two countries that began with Bolsonaro disinviting Maduro and other leftist dictators including Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Cuba’s Miguel Díaz-Canel from his inauguration ceremony. Prior to Bolsonaro’s tenure, Brazil’s socialist governments enjoyed close ties to all three nations.
Maduro recently threatened Bolsonaro and his Vice President Hamilton Mourão with the backing of a so-called Popular Force to attack Brazilian troops, claiming that a conspiracy was afoot to overthrow the socialist regime with the use of Brazilian and Colombian military forces.
“There will be no Bolsonaro here, because we have built the popular force,” Maduro said last month. “Here I am waiting for you, with the millions of men and women from the Armed Forces of Venezuela.”
Although Bolsonaro has denied reports of any interest in use of military force, his administration has expressed a firm commitment to helping oust Maduro from power. This week, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry announced that it would officially recognize National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuelan president, less than a week after Maduro illegally grabbed power for an additional six-year term.
Maduro has also expressed optimism that the rise of Bolsonaro and other right-leaning administrations in Latin America including Colombia’s Iván Duque and Argentina’s Mauricio Macri will lead to a “new wave” of socialism across the continent.
“Right-wing neoliberal projects in Latin America and the Caribbean are unviable, and they are going to provoke the resurgence of a new wave of popular transformations,” Maduro said last week. “Jair Bolsonaro, who just assumed his mandate today, will follow the same path, and Macri in Argentina is a disowned man who can not go out on the street.”