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Brazil’s president open to possibility of US military base, expresses Russia concerns

Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro campaigns during a rally in Taguatinga, Brazil on Sept. 5, 2018. Bolsonaro, who leads opinion polls, was stabbed during a rally Thursday afternoon, according to local media reports. (Givaldo Barbosa/O Globo/GDA/Zuma Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he is open to the possibility of the United States some day opening a military base in the South American country and added that Brazil was concerned about Russia’s ties to Venezuela.

“Depending on what might happen in the world, who knows if we might have to talk about [a U.S. base] in the future,” the 63-year-old far-right president, who assumed office on January 1, told SBT television in an interview.

“The physical issue of it might be just symbolic. Currently, American, Chinese, and Russian armed forces manage to project themselves all around the world without bases,” he added.

Bolsonaro, who said he is a fan of President Donald Trump, said he supports U.S. policy with regard to opposing the “authoritarian regimes” of left-wing governments in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

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Bolsonaro said he was “concerned” about the participation of the Russian Air Force in military drills in Venezuela in early December.

“We know what the intentions of the government of [Venezuelan President Nicolas] Maduro are. Brazil must be concerned about that,” he said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry sent two nuclear-capable strategic bombers to Venezuela on December 10 in an unusual display of Russian military force in South America.

The bombers’ arrival came just days after Maduro visited Moscow, seeking Kremlin support for his country, whose economy is in shambles and which is deeply in debt to Russia.

The United States condemned the Russian action at the time.