Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said both countries faced "a truly transformative opportunity." He also praised US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a "captain."
The United States hopes to deepen its cooperation with the new far-right government in Brazil to fight "authoritarianism" in Latin America, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.
Speaking a day after the inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro, Pompeo said he and his Brazilian counterpart, Ernesto Araujo, discussed working together to restore democracy in Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua during a meeting in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia.
Pompeo did not say how the United States or Brazil would bring about changes in those countries and refused to answer a reporter's question on whether they would consider military force.
'Forcible regime change'
Venezuela's Foreign Ministry condemned Pompeo's comments, saying it "categorically rejected" Pompeo's "interventionist attitude" and accusing him of seeking "forcible regime change" in Venezuela with the help of other Latin American countries.
Venezuela has suffered from hyperinflation and political chaos under leftist President Nicolas Maduro in recent years. In response, the Trump administration has placed multiple sanctions on Maduro and his officials.
During his election campaign, Bolsonaro praised Trump and endorsed many of his foreign policy stances, including his opposition to Maduro.
During a separate meeting with the Brazilian president on Wednesday, Pompeo said the close relationship between Bolsonaro and US President Donald Trump opened up "a truly transformative opportunity for our two nations."
Bolsonaro told Pompeo in a separate meeting on Wednesday that Brazil had finally stopped electing anti-American presidents.
"I'm saying this as captain — two captains — from captain to captain, so we stand together," he said, referring to his and Pompeo's former military careers.
The 63-year-old, who has shown admiration for Brazil's former military dictatorship, vowed in his inauguration speech to fight "political correctness," crime and left-wing "ideology" during his four-year term.
amp/ng (Reuters, dpa, AFP)