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Trump praises Brazil's 'incredible' far-right president at White House

20 March 2019
Trump praises Brazil's 'incredible' far-right president at White House

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made his geopolitical priorities clear, dropping by Central Intelligence Agency headquarters for a clandestine chat on his first visit to the United States before even meeting with President Donald Trump.

Trump also condemned socialism during the news conference and said both the United States and Brazil were "united in support of the long-suffering people of Cuba and Nicaragua".

Trump in January slapped sanctions on state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, known as PDVSA, the stiffest economic measure against Maduro to date.

The two countries have never had especially close relations.

As he often does, Trump blamed socialism for Venezuela's economic collapse under Maduro and said he hoped that the "twilight hour" of socialism had arrived in Latin America and the United States.

Brazil is seeking US help with its efforts to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and to expand trade.

Brazil, the largest and most populous nation in Latin America, has pursued becoming a non-NATO ally to make it easier to buy U.S. weapons and lower barriers for military and other cooperation.

It is Bolsonaro's first trip overseas for a bilateral meeting since taking office on January 1, after he attended the Davos summit in Switzerland in January.

"We do have a great deal of shared values".

Trump also praised Brazil's president for his quick recovery from a "truly disgusting ordeal".

A senior administration official, who requested anonymity, told reporters Bolsonaro's visit represented a "real opportunity to fundamentally remake our relationship with Brazil". In addition, Brazil will allow the importation of American pork.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro presents a Brazil naitonal soccer team jersey to U.S. President Donald Trump after Trump gave him a U.S. soccer team jersey during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington U.S

In an interview with Fox News Monday, Mr Bolsonaro said he supported Mr Trump's immigration policies and his efforts to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

The CIA had no comment on the visit.

Bolsonaro pledged during his campaign to build closer ties with the USA and has often expressed admiration for Trump. "It's collusive and it's very, very fair to say that we have to do something about it and if we don't, you know, the incredible thing is that we can win an election and we have such a stacked deck and that includes networks, frankly". "This time, it is different".

Bolsonaro, whose conservative rise, attacks on the media, and freewheeling style have drawn comparisons to Trump, dined Sunday night along with the exiled former Trump confidant and other conservative commentators.

Trump was one of the first world leaders to call and congratulate Bolsonaro after this landslide victory in October.

Trump warned on Tuesday that the USA could impose "a lot tougher" sanctions on Venezuela as he urged the country's military to depose leftist leader Nicolas Maduro.

The two were slated to work toward creating a "north-south axis" between the USA and Brazil on economic issues as the two largest economies in the western hemisphere, the official said.

"Brazil and the United States stand side-by-side in their efforts to ensure liberty, and respect the traditional family lifestyles and respect for God, against the politically correct attitudes and against fake news".

China long ago surpassed the United States as Brazil's biggest trading partner and Bolsonaro's economy minister on Monday urged the USA to open its market more to Brazil if it wanted to change the status quo.

"The U.S. -Brazil relationship has always been one of potential, but yet, it always seemed that that potential has never been met", said a senior administration official, in a call with reporters on March 18.