Brazil’s far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday rejected the possibility of a military intervention in Venezuela as reportedly suggested by a top official from Colombia.
The suggestion to overthrow Venezuela’s authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro was made by an anonymous official close to President Ivan Duque, reported by Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo on Monday.
“Brazil will always look for a peaceful way to solve problems,” the far-right Bolsonaro told television network Record.
The suggestion to overthrow Maduro further increased tensions between the socialist government in Caracas and the hard-right government in Bogota.
Maduro has accused the governments of the US and Colombia for years of trying to topple his administration, which is not recognized as legitimate by the majority of countries in the western hemisphere.
Other countries in Latin America have categorically rejected military intervention and have urged a negotiated solution to the extreme polarization in Colombia’s neighbor to the east.
Duque, who is supported by the far-right in his own divided country, has called his Venezuelan counterpart a “dictator” and has refused to rule out military intervention.
“Duque is confident that if such an operation is underway, with the involvement of Brazil, Colombia and perhaps the US, they will participate. The region can no longer bear a worsening of the Venezuelan diaspora,” said the source.
Duque’s predecessor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Juan Manuel Santos, rejected military intervention like the majority of American nations in the so-called Lima Group.
The new president, who took office in August, has been ideologically opposed to Maduro and increasingly vocal about the millions of Venezuelans who have fled their country because of an ongoing economic and constitutional crisis in their country.
US President Donald Trump has also suggested the possibility of a military intervention, but has so far only used diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions to pressure Maduro.