Brazilian socialist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva received Venezuelan communist dictator Nicolás Maduro for a bilateral meeting on Monday (29).
Despite the United States offering a $15 million reward for information leading to Maduro’s arrest, the socialist government of Brazil disregarded the US stance and held an official ceremony to welcome the Venezuelan dictator.
Maduro traveled to Brazil for the upcoming summit of South American leaders. He arrived at the Government Palace accompanied by his wife, Cilia Flores and was greeted by Lula and the First Lady, Rosângela da Silva.
Shortly after assuming the Presidency of Brazil, Lula reestablished diplomatic relations with Venezuela and sent an official Brazilian representative to work at the embassy in Caracas in January of this year.
Lula blamed US sanctions for the poverty in Venezuela.
Lula said: “Maduro doesn’t have dollars to pay for his exports. Maybe he can pay in Chinese currency? Maybe we can receive payment in another country’s currency so that we can exchange. Is it his fault? No. It’s the fault of the United States, which imposed an extremely exaggerated blockade,” he said.
The plane Maduro used to travel to Brazil, an Airbus A-319 from the Venezuelan state-owned company Conviasa, departed from Caracas on Sunday afternoon without identification in the tracking systems.
Upon taking off from the Venezuelan capital, the Airbus carrying the Venezuelan dictator was closely followed by a second aircraft, whose data was kept at an even higher level of secrecy.
The fleet of aircraft commonly used by Venezuelan authorities is subject to sanctions by the United States government.
At least two of the three planes that landed in Brasília as part of the operation for Maduro’s trip are nominally listed in the US Department of the Treasury’s sanctions.
Opponents of the Lula government criticize this approach of Brazil towards the Venezuelan government. They speak the truth: Venezuela is a dictatorship, and Maduro has weakened the country’s democratic institutions.
The relationship between the two countries was severed by the previous government of conservative former President Jair Bolsonaro. In 2019, after assuming the Brazilian presidency, Bolsonaro recognized Juan Guaidó as the interim president of Venezuela. Other countries also recognize Guaidó’s representation.
Bolsonaro formally severed diplomatic relations with the Maduro government and declared representatives of the Chavista regime as “persona non grata” in Brazil. Bolsonaro claimed he did not want to collaborate with left-wing dictators, unlike Lula.
As a result, the diplomatic body affiliated with the Maduro government ceased to be recognized as the legitimate representation of Venezuela.
In March 2020, then-Attorney General William Barr accused dictator Nicolás Maduro of international terrorism and association with drug trafficking. Following the indictment, the US Department of State offered a $15 million reward for the capture of Maduro.
William Barr stated in the indictment, “Maduro’s intent was to flood the United States with drugs. He used cocaine as a weapon.”
Venezuela was added to the US list of countries supporting terrorism, along with North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria.