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Bolsonaro and Macri increase pressure on Maduro

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President Jair Bolsonaro and Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Wednesday raised pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who was classified by the Argentine leader as “a dictator who wants to perpetuate power by fictional elections”.

“We share the concern with the Venezuelans. And we reaffirm our condemnation of the dictatorship of Nicholas Maduro. We do not accept a rupture of democracy, much less the attempt to victimize who is, in fact, a victim,” Macri said in a statement after meeting with Bolsonaro in the Planalto Palace.

“The international community has already realized that Maduro is a dictator who seeks to perpetuate himself in power with fictional elections, imprisoning opponents, leading Venezuela to a desperate and agonizing situation,” he added, along with Bolsonaro.

The Argentine president said that he reiterated “in advance” that “we recognize the National Assembly as the only legitimate Venezuelan institution, democratically elected by the Venezuelan people.”

Bolsonaro, in a statement made alongside the Argentine leader, highlighted the cooperation between Brazil and Argentina on Venezuela as an example of the affinity of positions between the two governments on important issues.

“In this meeting, we are proving the convergence of positions and values identity. Our cooperation with Venezuela is an example. Our talks reinforce that we will be on the right track of democracy and security,” he said.

MERCOSUR

Bolsonaro also said in his speech on the occasion of the visit of the leader of the neighboring country that, in a meeting with Macri, both agreed on the importance of improving Mercosur and proposing a new agenda.

“Mercosur needs to value its original tradition of reducing barriers,” he said, in arguing that the purpose is for the bloc to be lean and relevant.

Bolsonaro argued that on the external front Mercosur must conclude the most promising negotiations – in an indirect reference to the agreement with the European Union, which has not yet been concluded – and create new opportunities for trade and investment.

The Brazilian president praised Macri’s efforts to rebuild the neighboring country’s economy, advancing in a number of areas, and also stressed that the economic reforms that Brazil and Argentina are taking are key to “reinvigorating our economies.”

In a toast at the Itamaraty made before lunch with the Argentine president, Bolsonaro also said that Brazil and Argentina are determined to fight organized crime, and said that his government and that of Macri will continue to defend democracy in the region.

Noting that the meeting with Bolsonaro was “productive,” Macri stressed the need to advance Mercosur so that the bloc adapts to the challenges of the 21st century. He also said that he was convinced that trade is the instrument to boost development and that negotiations with a view to forming an agreement with the European Union “have advanced like never before.”

The Argentine president said that common action has to involve security, aimed at combating drug trafficking, organized crime, and money laundering, as well as an agenda of transparency and fight against corruption.

At the meeting in the Planalto Palace, the presidents and ministers of both countries signed an agreement to revise the extradition treaty between both nations. Earlier, Justice Minister Sérgio Moro said the treaty’s revision was aimed at speeding up criminal procedures between neighboring countries and avoiding situations like Italy’s Cesare Battisti, who fled Brazil.