Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday expressed fears that Argentina will become "another Venezuela," should former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner win October's presidential vote.
The comments come in the wake of a challenging few weeks for President Mauricio Macri, with financial markets and investors spooked by soaring inflation, rising poverty numbers and a dragging recession.
Recent polls have indicated for the first time that the Fernández de Kirchner, the leader of Unidad Ciudadana and a senator for Buenos Aires Province, could defeat her Cambiemos rival in a run-off vote between the two, as Macri's popularity ratings tank amid economic turmoil.
Bolsonaro, the outspoken far-right ex-Army captain, told members of the press in Brasilia that Argentina was gripped by financial uncertainty because Macri had only managed to carry out "half" the reforms he planned to introduce to liberalise the country's economy.
"Argentina have only made half the reforms and Macri is in trouble now. And the problems are piling up. The opposition could come back. And that worries us. Because we do not want another Venezuela here in South America," said the Brazilian leader, who is scheduled to visit Argentina in six weeks time, on June 6.
Fernández de Kirchner is polling as the opposition candidate best positioned to challenge Macri, who will seeks re-election for a term that would run until 2023 in elections on October 27.
Venezuela is gripped by a serious economic, political and social crisis under the presidency of Nicolás Maduro, the hand-picked successor of late ex-president Hugo Chávez.