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The recently elected Mexican president will send the agriculture secretary in his place.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has declined to attend the inauguration of Brazil’s far-right future President Jair Bolsonaro, and is sending Agriculture Secretary Victor Manuel Villalobos instead.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry wished success to Bolsonaro in his administration and offered to cooperate for the development and wellbeing of both countries and the region, says an official statement published on Saturday.
Bolsonaro won the October elections 56 to 45 percent against Fernando Haddad, the candidate of the Workers’ Party (PT), after Lula da Silva was imprisoned and banned from running.
Bolsonaro was a member of the Congress for almost 30 years and his views are often described as misogynistic, violent and racist.
Before leaving Rio de Janeiro for Brasilia on Saturday, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss future cooperation agreements in defense and other economic issues.
U.S. President Donald Trump won’t attend the ceremony on Jan. 1 either, but is sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo instead. Pompeo will meet with Netanyahu once they’re both in Brasilia.
Brazilian authorities expect between 250,000 and 500,000 people at the ceremony, including at least 12 heads of state and several foreign ministers and representatives of about 60 countries.
Bolsonaro’s pick for foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo, recently declared that Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro wouldn’t be invited to the ceremony out of respect for the Venezuelan people.
“Every country in the world should stop supporting him [Maduro] and join together to free Venezuela,” said Araujo.
Answering Araujo’s attacks, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza posted a diplomatic note sent by the Brazilian Embassy, dated Nov. 29, inviting Maduro to the ceremony.
At the time, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry responded that “the Socialist, Revolutionary and Free Government of Venezuela would never attend the inauguration of a president who is an expression of intolerance, of fascism and the surrender to interests contrary to the Latin American and Caribbean integration.”
President Maduro did attend the swearing-in ceremony of Lopez Obrador on Dec. 1 in Mexico City. He spent a few hours in the country and held talks with Lopez Obrador and other heads of state.