Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday refused to rule out supporting a potential US intervention in Venezuela after his US host and counterpart, Donald Trump, said that at their White House meeting the pair were keeping "all options ... on the table" and threatened to tighten sanctions against Caracas.
Saying that he thought he could speak for both the US and Brazil, Trump remarked that "all options are on the table" during his meeting with Bolsonaro.
Trump was responding to a reporter's question about whether he wanted Brazil to involve itself in a potential US military intervention in Venezuela, despite the fact that Brazilian Vice president Hamilton Mourao said in February that "the military option (has) never (been) an option" for Brasilia.
Bolsonaro gave an ambiguous response on the matter at the joint press conference the two leaders held after their White House meeting when a reporter asked him if he would allow Brazilian territory to be used to launch a US military intervention in Venezuela or if he would allow Brazilian personnel to take part in such an operation.
"There are some issues that, if you talk about them, they're no longer strategic ... It's a question of strategy. Everything that we discuss here (in private) we will carry out, but you don't talk about some possibilities in public," Bolsonaro said.
Trump took advantage of the press conference to ask the Venezuelan armed forces to shift their loyalty from President Nicolas Maduro, whom he called nothing more than a "Cuban puppet," to self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaido, adding that "Brazil has been an extraordinary leader in supporting the Venezuelan people's efforts to reclaim their liberty and their democracy."
The US president did not predict how much time will pass, in his judgment, before Nicolas Maduro is no longer Venezuela's president, but he expressed the opinion that "change" will be coming.
Trump warned that the US still had not levied really tough sanctions on the Maduro regime, saying "we can go a lot tougher if we need to do that," and noting that Washington has imposed only moderate restrictions so far on Caracas.
The US president also emphasized that he knows "exactly" what he wants to happen in Venezuela from this point forward, but he did not specify what that might be.
He said at the beginning of his meeting with Bolsonaro that what is happening in Venezuela right now - the death, destruction and hunger - is a shame, adding that it is difficult to believe that one of the world's richest countries is now one of the poorest.
Bolsonaro has been dubbed the "Trump of the Tropics" in Brazil due to his populist style and conservative policies.