Eduardo Bolsonaro: Force Will Be Needed in Venezuela Because ‘Maduro Is a Criminal’

Son of Brazil President Bolsonaro joins Steve Bannon group
SERGIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images
THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

Brazilian congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of the nation’s president Jair Bolsonaro, said Friday that some sort of force would be necessary to oust the reigning Venezuela dictator Nicolás Maduro from office.

Mr. Bolsonaro said that “all options on the table,” including the military option, to resolve the crisis in Venezuela, while reiterating his conviction that “Maduro is a criminal.”

Brazil was one of the first countries to declare the government of Nicolás Maduro “illegitimate” after the presidential elections in Venezuela last May 20, while affirming its support for the Venezuelan Parliament.

“No one wants a war, war is bad, there are many lives lost, there are collateral consequences, but Maduro is not going to relinquish power peacefully. In some way it will be necessary to use force, because Maduro is a criminal,” Bolsonaro said.

Action must be taken, however, he continued, because “the worst that can happen is to allow Maduro to stay in power, because every day people are dying.”

If he is allowed to continue, Bolsonaro said “we will see the birth of a new Cuba.”

Last December, Bolsonaro’s father Jair retracted an invitation to Nicolás Maduro as well as to Cuban officials to attend his presidential inauguration.

“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 said at the time. “We defend and truly respect democracy.”

Both President Bolsonaro and his son Eduardo were in the United States this week to shore up an alliance with the Trump administration.

In a joint press conference, Mr. Trump said he was “honored” to be compared to the populist Jair Bolsonaro, who has been called the “Trump of the Tropics.”

“I think there was a lot of hostility with other presidents,” Trump said. “There’s zero hostility with me.”

Mr. Bolsonaro responded in kind, thanking Trump for the meeting and praising his leadership.

“It’s an honor to be here after decades of anti-American presidents,” he said.

Referring to Trump, Bolsonaro said: “He wants an American great and I want a Brazil great too.”

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