Alberto Fernandez, the front runner in Argentina’s presidential race, responded to Brazilian President Bolsonaro's attacks on the progressive alliance which scored a landslide victory in Argentina’s primary elections Sunday, dismissing him as a "passing phase" in Brazil’s history.
Argentina Primaries: Fernandez Wins Landslide Victory Over Macri With 15-Point Lead
Fernandez, likely to be Argentina’s next president for the progressive ‘Front for All’ party, had some strong words for the Brazilian far-right president.
“In political terms, I have nothing to do with Bolsonaro. I greatly welcome the fact that he speaks badly of me. He is a racist, misogynist and violent man…the only thing I would ask of President Bolsonaro is to free Lula and submit to free elections with Lula released,” the progressive presidential candidate said in an interview with local media Monday.
Fernandez also assured that Argentina wants good relations with Brazil, implying that it will be easier after Bolsonaro is gone. “With Brazil, we are going to get on splendidly. Brazil will always be our main partner. Bolsonaro is a passing phase in the life of Brazil, just as Macri is a passing phase in the life of Argentina.”
The comments were in reply to attack by far-right President Bolsonaro earlier in the day, in which he claimed that Argentinians will be fleeing their country in the event of a left-wing victory, and stated that Brazil does not want to take in Argentinians.
He also used Venezuela as an attacking tactic against the Argentinian progressives saying that Fernandez and former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner would lead Argentina into a crisis similar to what Venezuela is suffering today, a right-wing narrative used against progressives around Latin America that ignores the economic pressure imposed on the Venezuelan government by the U.S. and its allies.
The tensions between the two leaders will mark a break from the cozy relationship between Bolsonaro and current neoliberal President Macri, both of whom have been instrumental behind moves to isolate Venezuela and dismantle progressive forums of regional integration such as UNASUR.
Alberto Fernandez and former leftist President Kirchner are running on the progressive ‘Front for All’ ticket, which won preliminary elections on Sunday with 47 percent of the vote, compared to President Macri's 32 percent, meaning Fernandez would win in the first round, if figures remain similar. The official presidential election will take place on Oct. 27.