Bolsonaro annoys military over US base in Brazil

Comments by Brazil's new right-wing president, Jair Bolsonaro, that he would be open to the United States, operating a military base on Brazilian soil, were not welcomed by the country's armed forces, an army official told Reuters on Saturday.

Bolsonaro, who took office on 1 in January, said in an interview on Thursday that he might be willing to allow an American base in Brazil as a way to counter Russian influence in Venezuela, a move that would mark a sharp shift in the direction of foreign policy in Brazil.

The Brazilian army is against a US base in the country, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

He added that the possibility of ceding territory to a base surprised Brazilian military officers, traditionally zealous guardians of national sovereignty.

Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday that the United States and Brazil had "an opportunity to work side by side against authoritarian regimes" in the region, citing Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

Foreign Minister Ernesto Araújo confirmed Bolsonaro's willingness to authorize a US base in remarks to reporters in Lima on Friday during a meeting of the Lima Group of 13 countries that monitors Venezuela's political and economic crisis.

Araújo said Bolsonaro will discuss the base offer with Trump during an expected visit to Washington in March, the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported.

The Lima Group of Latin American nations and Canada said on Friday that last year's elections in Venezuela are not democratic and do not recognize the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro's new term since January 10.

Bolsonaro said in the television interview that he is concerned about Russia's proximity to Maduro, the most important US enemy in Latin America.

A visit to Venezuela by two Russian strategic nuclear bombers in December infuriated the US government.

Source: Reuters

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