Tensions with Brazil rose again on Friday after President Jair Bolsonaro said he would not attend Alberto Fernández's inauguration on December 10.
After saying earlier this week that Argentina “chose poorly” in the October 27 elections, in which Fernández defeated President Mauricio Macri, Bolsonaro said he wouldn’t travel to Fernández's swearing-in next month.
“I won’t go, it’s decided,” said the outspoken Brazilian leader, who has done little to hide his disdain for the Peronist leader and his allies.
The former paratrooper supported Macri's bid for re-election.
“I encouraged the other but Fernández won and we will move forward,” Bolsonaro said at a press conference in front of the the Palácio da Alvorada in Brasilia.
“On my end, there is no payback. I hope that they continue to work with us, such as Macri did until this moment,” he said.
Bolsonaro also expressed his support for the centre-right candidate in the Uruguayan race, Luis Lacalle Pou, who will be running for election on November 24 in the country’s second round of presidential elections against Daniel Martinez of the leftist Frente Amplio party.
“I hope that someone closer to our team is elected. There, we would have an Uruguay with more affinity with us,” he said.
The Uruguayan government later summoned Brazil's ambassador to Montevideo to explain the comments.
Bolsonaro maintains a hard ideological line with Argentina. Even before Macri took office, Bolsonaro praised him for ending the "Dilma Kirchner movie" and warned a triumph by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her allies would transform the country into the “Venezuela of the South.”
Recently, he threatened to sanction or suspend Argentina from the Mercosur should Peronist politicians seek to erode the trade bloc's move towards free trade.
For his part, Fernández has called for the release of iconic leader Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, the jailed former president who has been detained since April 2018 for corruption charges.
Bolsonaro and Macri were allies during their coinciding tenures. In fact, the Argentine leader said he would make his final international trip as president to Brazil on December 5 for the Summit of the Mercosur Heads of State. The event will take place in Bento Gonçalves, around 125 kilometres north of Porto Alegre, in the state of Río Grande del Sur.
As part of his final diplomatic mission, Macri will transfer thepro-tempore presidencyof the regional bloc.
Bolsonaro brought the date of the summit forward in order overlap with Macri and avoid crossing with Fernández, according to reports.