January 14, 2019 / 8:56 PM / 9 days ago

'Bolsonaro is Hitler!' Venezuela's Maduro exclaims amid Brazil spat

FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and President of the Supreme Federal Court Dias Toffoli attend a swearing-in ceremony for the country's new army commander in Brasilia, Brazil January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday called Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro a modern Adolf Hitler, days after Brasilia officially recognized an opposition leader as the legitimate head of the increasingly isolated country.

Brazil on Saturday said it recognized Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela’s opposition-run Congress, as legitimate president after Maduro was sworn in to a second term that countries around the world described as illegitimate.

“Over there we’ve got Brazil in the hands of a fascist - Bolsonaro is a Hitler of the modern era!” Maduro said during a state of the nation speech.

“Let’s leave the task of Bolsonaro to the wonderful people of Brazil, who will fight and take care of him.”

The Brazilian president’s office said through a spokeswoman that it would not comment.

Guaido on Friday had said he was willing to assume the presidency after opposition leaders said Maduro’s second term was illegitimate because the broadly boycotted 2018 elections were rigged in his favor.

Guaido, who was briefly detained by intelligence agents on his way to a political rally on Sunday, has not declared himself president.

Brazil and Venezuela maintained cordial relations for over a decade thanks to friendly ties between Brazil’s Workers Party and Venezuela’s Socialist Party.

Bolsonaro, a fervent anti-communist who has praised his country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship, has promised to target Venezuela.

Reporting by Brian Ellsworth in Caracas and Anthony Boadle in Brasilia; editing by James Dalgleish

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