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LATIN AMERICA | 02-07-2024 12:10

Milei doubles down on criticism of Bolivia’s government, Lula

Javier Milei doubles down on his criticism of Bolivian government's "staged fraud" and Brazilian President Lula, calling the veteran leftist "the perfect idiot."

President Javier Milei doubled down on his criticism of the Bolivian government on Monday night, criticising once again what he called the "staged fraud" of a coup attempt in La Paz last week.

Argentina’s head of state, who has sparked a series of diplomatic rows with non-aligned governments since taking office, made the remark as he let rip at Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, with whom he has an ongoing dispute.

Without naming him directly, Milei called Lula “the perfect idiot” and described recent events in Bolivia as a “self-coup.”

"The fraud mounted in Bolivia is known and the perfect idiot, instead of accepting his mistake, criticises me for leaving his stupidity on display," said Milei in a post on social media.

In his message he again criticised Lula by saying he "has been in prison for corruption and is a communist.”

Milei went on to slam “Lula’s aggressions,” listing among other examples the Brazilian leader’s support for the libertarian’s rival in last year’s presidential election, Peronist candidate Sergio Massa.

Earlier on Monday, Bolivia had recalled its ambassador in Buenos Aires after Milei declared the alleged coup attempt to be "fraudulent." It also summoned Argentina’s envoy in La Paz to express its condemnation of Milei’s remarks.

Venezuela’s government also rejected the "repugnant statement by President Milei that ignores the attempted coup d'état in Bolivia," in a note published on Monday via the X social network.

Milei "pretends to ignore the attempted coup in Bolivia by feeding a narrative created by the Latin American right wing that tries to wash the face of the criminals who tried to overthrow the legitimate president Luis Arce," the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

Argentina’s Presidency relied on "intelligence reports" to make its statement published on Sunday that the alleged attempted coup was in fact staged.

"The story was not very credible and the arguments did not fit with the socio-political context of the Latin American country," read Argentina’s statement.

It further criticised that "Bolivian democracy has long been in danger, not because of a military coup but because historically socialist governments have led to dictatorships."

Milei, a self-described “anarcho-capitalist” who has strong links with far-right parties worldwide, has strained relations with the region's left-wing governments.

It emerged earlier on Monday that he will not attend the upcoming presidential summit of the Mercosur trade bloc scheduled for Monday in Asunción. Citing “scheduling conflicts,” Milei will instead be replaced by Foreign Minister Diana Mondino.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Manuel Adorni announced that Milei will travel to Brazil over the weekend to attend a right-wing summit.

A meeting with former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, Lula's political adversary, is "not ruled out,” said Adorni.

Milei will speak at the Brazilian leg of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) summit set to be held in Camboriú, Santa Catarina, where Bolsonaro is also listed as a speaker.


– TIMES/AFP
 

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