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LATIN AMERICA | 02-07-2024 15:35

Milei defends Bolivia, Brazil views in ‘dinosaur’ rant

President Javier Milei defends suspicion that last week’s coup attempt in Bolivia was staged, continues attacks on Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

President Javier Milei defended his suspicion that last week’s coup attempt in Bolivia was staged and continued his attacks on Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a social media post that referred to an unnamed critic as “an idiot dinosaur.” 

The post caused widespread confusion because Lula was the only person referred to by name, while the dinosaur’s identity was never spelled out. Milei’s office denied this, but didn’t say whom Milei was insulting. Local reports identified at least two journalists who could’ve been the object of Milei’s derision. 

Still, his social media post also reiterated Milei’s several criticisms of Lula, risking an escalation of a long-running feud with his neighbour a day after choosing to snub him on an upcoming visit to Brazil.

Milei took aim at Lula over last year’s Argentine election, in which the Brazilian deployed a team of his own campaign veterans to help Milei’s opponent. He accused Lula of interfering in the election and supporting “the dirtiest campaign in history.” He also called Lula a communist and noted he had been jailed on corruption charges before returning to the Presidency.

Milei levelled the criticism in a social media post that reiterated his stance that last week’s coup attempt against Bolivian President Luis Arce was a “fake” and “fraudulent” uprising, a position that puts the libertarian at odds with leftists like Lula who have denounced it.

“The fraud mounted in Bolivia is known and the perfect idiot, instead of accepting it, criticises me,” Milei said in the Tuesday morning post on X, again making reference to the unnamed “dinosaur” he was attacking.

Milei and Lula have continually traded public barbs, chilling relations between Brazil and Argentina. On Monday, Milei announced he will attend this week’s CPAC Brasil event, an offshoot of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in the United States, alongside right-wing former president Jair Bolsonaro, Lula’s most ardent political foe.

Milei and Bolsonaro plan to meet during the event, which will take place Saturday and Sunday, according to Eduardo Bolsonaro, one of the former president’s sons and a CPAC Brasil organiser.

Lula’s government declined to comment on the post. The Brazilian last week demanded an apology from his neighbour, only for Milei’s spokesperson to say none would be delivered.

Arce’s administration on Monday met with Argentina’s ambassador and said it had “energetically rejected” Milei’s statements about the failed coup attempt.

Milei in May sparked a diplomatic crisis with Spain, one of Argentina’s historic allies, by criticising socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and appearing at a campaign rally for the far-right Vox party. Sánchez’s government responded by pulling Spain’s ambassador from Buenos Aires. 

by Simone Iglesias, Bloomberg

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