Brazil: Bolsonaro apologizes for comments about young Venezuelans

Brazil: Bolsonaro apologizes for remarks about young Venezuelans ;links

UPDATE DAY

Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday apologized for his remarks about underage Venezuelan girls that had earned him accusations of pedophilia from the left-wing opposition. 

“If my words — which, in bad faith, were taken out of context — were misinterpreted or caused embarrassment to our Venezuelan sisters, I apologize,” he said in a video broadcast on social networks.

In the video, he appears alongside his wife Michelle and Maria Teresa Belandria, representative in Brazil of the Venezuelan opponent Juan Guaido, recognized by Jair Bolsonaro as the legitimate president of the governed country by the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro.

“We are committed to receiving as best as possible those fleeing dictatorships around the world,” added the head of state, who will contest the second round of the presidential election on October 30 against former left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The controversy began on Friday, when Mr. Bolsonaro told an anecdote dating back to April 2021, in a poor district of Brasilia, during an interview with the YouTube channel Paparazzo Rubro -Negro.

“I parked my motorcycle on a corner, took off my helmet and started looking at girls, three or four, pretty, 14, 15, dressed as one can be on a Saturday in a neighborhood. An atmosphere was created, I came back, “Can I come into your house?”, I came in”, he said.

In the house, “there were 15 or 20 girls (…) all Venezuelan 14, 15 years old getting ready, on a Saturday, why? To earn a living,” Mr. Bolsonaro added.

The phrase “an atmosphere has been created”, in particular, caused an outcry, with videos of the interview excerpt going viral with the hashtag #Bolsonaropedófilo (Bolsonaro pedophile) on the networks.

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On Sunday, the president of the Superior Electoral Court prohibited the use of these excerpts in official Lula campaign spots.

Mr. Bolsonaro, who had already responded strongly to opposition accusations on Saturday, assured Tuesday that the teenage girls were not prostitutes.

On Tuesday, Rosangela da Silva, Lula's wife, published on Twitter excerpt from another interview from a month ago, in which the far-right president already insinuated that young Venezuelan women were prostitutes.

As for Lula, he has again mentioned the matter on Tuesday. “The behavior (of Bolsonaro) in this case is that of a pedophile,” he said. “He realized it, he was scared and he tried to explain himself as quickly as possible,” he said in a live interview on the YouTube channel Flow Podcast.

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