Argentina's Milei denounces 'judicial persecution' of ally Bolsonaro

Argentine President Javier Milei (L) and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro are fans of former US president Donald Trump (EVARISTO SA)
Argentine President Javier Milei (L) and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro are fans of former US president Donald Trump (EVARISTO SA)

Argentina's President Javier Milei addressed a conference of Latin American conservatives in Brazil Sunday, denouncing what he called the "judicial persecution" of far-right former leader Jair Bolsonaro, under investigation for an alleged coup attempt.

Milei, who has snubbed a meeting of the Mercosur South American bloc that will be attended by Bolsonaro's leftist successor Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in Paraguay on Sunday, traveled to Brazil instead for a weekend meeting of the CPAC conservative group.

He also met Bolsonaro and right-wing governors of the states of Santa Catarina and Sao Paulo.

"Look at the judicial persecution suffered by our friend Jair Bolsonaro here in Brazil," Milei said to the applause of thousands of attendees of the forum in Balneario Camboriu, a resort city in the country's south.

He also warned that "winds of change" were gathering against "the ideas of impoverishing socialism" in the region.

Milei, a self-declared "anarcho-capitalist," has lashed out at numerous leftist leaders since taking office in December, insulting the Spanish prime minister and the presidents of Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Mexico.

He recently described Brazil's Lula as a "little lefty" with an "inflated ego."

The CPAC conference hailed Bolsonaro as the only future option for Brazil despite his disqualification from running in 2026 for his baseless trashing of Brazil's voting system ahead of 2022 elections he lost to Lula.

Last week, police recommended charging Bolsonaro with money laundering and other crimes over undeclared diamond jewelry gifted by Saudi Arabia.

And in March, police said he should be charged for falsifying Covid-19 vaccination records.

The former leader is also under investigation for allegedly taking part in plotting a "coup d'etat" in January 2023, when thousands of his supporters invaded the seats of power in Brasilia -- the Congress, Supreme Court and presidential offices -- calling on the military to depose Lula a week after his inauguration.

On Sunday, Bolsonaro vowed at CPAC to not "retreat" in the face of his legal woes.