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LatinNews Daily - 14 January 2019

US condemns Maduro’s usurpation of power

Brazil: In a 3 January interview with Brazilian broadcaster SBT, Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro said he was open to hosting US troops on Brazilian soil. According to the local and international media which quickly picked up the story, Bolsonaro said, “Depending on what happens in the world, who knows if we would not need to discuss that question [hosting a US military base] in the future”. This comment reflects the diplomatic rapprochement between the two countries, as illustrated by the exchange of tweets between US President Donald Trump and Bolsonaro, following the latter’s inauguration on 1 January: “Congratulations to President Jair Bolsonaro who just made a great inauguration speech - the U.S.A. is with you!”, Trump said. Bolsonaro has argued that the establishment of a US military base would help bring about a new geopolitical strategy to counter Russian presence in Venezuela. Four days later, however, (Ret) General Augusto Heleno, a national security advisor to the Brazilian government, told reporters that President Bolsonaro had not offered to host a US military base or US soldiers on Brazilian soil. Heleno was cited as saying: “He told me he never said that. It was a comment he made when talking about the Russian base (in Venezuela) and then suddenly this came out that it was a US base.” The apparent backsliding over the possible US base highlights the divisions of a cabinet composed of former generals, Chicago-trained economists, and Christian conservatives. With an expected official visit to the US in March, President Bolsonaro’s intentions with regards to this issue, will become clearer.

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