Wednesday, May 22, 2024

ARGENTINA | 15-04-2024 17:06

Diana Mondino says Argentina will ‘never interfere' in Brazil’s affairs

Foreign Minister Diana Mondino denies reports that President Javier Milei will mediate in Elon Musk’s row with Brazilian Judiciary, declaring that Argentina would “never interfere” in another nation's affairs.

Foreign Minister Diana Mondino said Monday that Argentina "will never interfere" in another nation’s internal affairs as she denied reports President Javier Milei would intervene in the ongoing row between Brazil’s Judiciary and billionaire businessman Elon Musk.

The comments came as Mondino met with her Brazilian counterpart Maurio Vieira in Brasilia, days after Milei met with Musk in the United States and reportedly offered to lend the mogul help in his legal woes with Brazilian courts.

"The internal and judicial issues of each country are each country's own," said Mondino at a press conference with Vieira.

"The Argentine government will never intervene in the democratic processes or in the judicial processes of each country. We trust in the justice system of each country. We defend freedom of expression in every sense," she declared.

Argentina’s top diplomat was responding to a question about last Friday's meeting between Milei and Musk at a Tesla factory in Austin, Texas. 

Milei’s Presidential Spokesperson, Manuel Adorni, said in a statement over the weekend that Milei had offered to assist Musk in his legal battle with Brazil. 

Vieira refused to comment on the matter.

His office said that Mondino’s visit was intended to "promote dialogue at the highest level on issues of strategic interest to both countries, such as physical border infrastructure, cooperation in defence matters, the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, and the strengthening of Mercosur and regional integration processes.”

Musk, the wealthy owner of electric-car manufacturer Tesla and space rocket maker Space X, is under investigation in Brazil for a lawsuit linked to his X social media platform (formerly Twitter). 

His firm has refused to obey court rulings that block users who disseminate posts that allegedly encourage disinformation. Musk has accused a Supreme Court justice of censoring social media and branded him a dictator.

Federal Supreme Court (STF) Justice Alexandre de Moraes, the spearhead of the fight against disinformation in Brazil, included Musk in an investigation against "digital militias," accusing him of a "criminal instrumentalisation" of the X platform.

The investigation revolves around allegations that Brazil's far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) and his inner circle illegally used public resources to orchestrate disinformation campaigns on the Internet during his time in office.

The trip to Brasilia was Mondino's first as foreign minister. Ties between the two nations are historically strong, but in recent years have been complicated by ideological differences between presidents.

Bolsonaro, who got on well with former president Mauricio Macri, was often at odds with Argentina's ex-head of state Alberto Fernández. The return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to power in Brazil improved things, but the arrival of Milei to the Casa Rosada last December has once again strained relations.

Nevertheless, the two nations have common goals and shared agenda, not least the issue of the Mercosur regional trade bloc and its long-stalled free-trade deal with the European Union.


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