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4 Jan, 2019 02:18

Bolsonaro says Brazil may host US base, calls Trump 'most powerful man in the world'

Bolsonaro says Brazil may host US base, calls Trump 'most powerful man in the world'

Brazil's newly-sworn-in right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has said that he might consider hosting a US military base in the future and called a Brazilian embassy move to Jerusalem a done deal in a new interview on Thursday.

Bolsonaro, dubbed the 'Trump of the Tropics' for his rhetoric, uncannily similar to that of US President Donald Trump, lived up to his nickname as he floated the idea of welcoming US soldiers on a permanent basis, reiterated his support for Israel, while calling Venezuela 'a dictatorship' and Russia its enabler.

In an interview with SBT broadcaster on Thursday, Bolsonaro said that while he considers physical presence of foreign forces a symbolic move in a globalized word, he is open to the idea of hosting US troops on Brazilian soil.

A retired army captain, Bolsonaro referred to the Russian military as the "Soviet" troops, arguing that "nowadays the power of American, Chinese and Soviet armed forces reaches out to the whole independent world."

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"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," the Brazilian leader said.

Since his election in October, which was met with sweeping protests across the country, Bolsonaro has been set on establishing closer ties with the US, eliciting praise from White House National Security Advisor John Bolton and exchanging courtesies with Trump on the day of his inauguration.

"I truly appreciate your words of encouragement. Together, under God's protection, we shall bring prosperity and progress to our people!" Bolsanaro tweeted in response to a congratulatory message from the US leader.

Bolsonaro took his courtship one step further, calling Trump the "most powerful man in the world" in the interview. He said there is a preliminary agreement for him to visit the US in March. During the trip, Bolsonaro expects to sit down for a bilateral meeting with Trump.

Mirroring Trump's agenda, Bolsonaro said that his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is all but a done deal.

"The decision is taken, it is only necessary to decide when it will be implemented," he said. He brushed off concerns about a possible retaliation by Arab countries, arguing that most of the Arab countries are allies with the US despite the embassy move and the country that is most vehemently against it is Iran.

It comes after a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bolsonaro on Friday, during which the newly-elected Brazilian leader expressed hope that their nations would become "brothers" and enter into new "partnerships and agreements."

READ MORE: Image of Bolsanaro’s sons wearing pro-IDF & Mossad shirts goes viral

During his campaign and after his landslide victory on election night, Bolsonaro has lashed out at Venezuela, calling it a member of a 'Troika of Tyranny' on par with the leftist governments of Cuba and Nicaragua.

On Thursday, Bolsonaro again described the government in Caracas as a dictatorship, while expressing concerns about joint military drills it held with Russia in December, which featured two 'White Swan' nuclear-capable supersonic strategic bombers.

"Russia has made a maneuver in Venezuela, we know the intentions of the Maduro government, or the dictatorship of Maduro, and Brazil has to worry about it," he said, hinting that the Brazilian military will take on a more active role under his leadership.

"Over the past 20, 25 years, our Armed Forces have been abandoned because of a political issue, because we, Armed Forces, are the last obstacle to socialism," the president added.

In his inauguration address on Tuesday, he declared Brazil "liberated from socialism and political correctness."

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