Brazilian lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro, the son of President Jair Bolsonaro, said on Tuesday that Brazil should consider becoming a nuclear power to guarantee its safety as a nation.
“Nuclear weapons actually guarantee peace. How would relations between Pakistan and India work out if only one of them had nuclear weapons?” said Bolsonaro in remarks at a meeting with students in Brazil’s Superior School of War. “I am a supporter of that vision, I do not care if they say that I am aggressive or that I want to burn the world, because why does the whole world respect the United States? Because it is the only country that can wage war in any part of the world.”
“They blew up the World Trade Center and what did they [the Americans] do?” Bolsonaro asked, according to O Globo. “They went above everybody’s veto and invaded Iraq.”
“If we had a more important war effort, perhaps we would be taken more seriously by [Venezuelan dictator Nicolás] Maduro or perhaps feared by China and by Russia,” added Bolsonaro, who heads up the Foreign Relations Committee of Congress’s Lower Chamber. “It’s like [U.S. President Donald] Trump says, a strong government begins with great Armed Forces.”
Brazil is currently a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and has an agreement on the reciprocal control of atomic weapons with neighboring Argentina. No Latin American state currently has any nuclear weapons program.
“This matter is not on the agenda right now. We know that if Brazil wants to break this agreement, it would suffer a series of sanctions,” he said. “It’s a very complicated issue, but who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to return to the debate here in the committee.”
The 35-year-old lawmaker, who represents the city of São Paulo in Congress, is seen as a highly influential figure in his father’s administration and recently accompanied him to Washington, DC, for an Oval Office meeting with President Trump. In March, he warned that military force would be required in Venezuela to remove Maduro’s socialist regime from power.
“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,” he said in February. “In some way, it will be necessary to use force because Maduro is a criminal. The worst that can happen is to allow Maduro to stay in power, because every day people are dying.”
Jair Bolsonaro, himself a retired army captain, is also known for his strong support for expanding the country’s military and emphasizing its value on the country. In March, he caused outrage among his left-wing critics after he ordered the country’s armed forces to commemorate the anniversary of a 1964 coup that led to 21 years of military rule.