In a statement supporting the government's proposed fiscal adjustment, Brazil's Vice President Hamilton Mourao Thursday labelled Argentina an “eternal beggar,” which might spark another diplomatic incident, of which the administration of President Alberto Fernández has had a handful in the past few days.
Mourao, a 67-year-old retired Army general, explained that the steps undertaken by the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro were necessary because otherwise his country would be “the same as our southern neighbour, thus deepening the differences between one government and the other.
When Alberto Fernández was sworn in as President of Argentina on December 10, 2019, Bolsonaro said he was bracing “for the worst. Bolsonaro had expressed his support for outgoing President Mauricio Macri and insisted Argentina was “terribly wrong for voting for communist parties.”
If the country goes bankrupt, we will end up the same as our neighbour to the south, warned Mourão, who described Argentina as an eternal beggar during a virtual encounter with investors and businessmen, in which he defended respecting the principles of fiscal responsibility to avoid the bankruptcy of the country.
We cannot escape the rules of fiscal responsibility, otherwise the country goes bankrupt and, if the country goes bankrupt, we will be like our neighbour to the south, like Argentina, an eternal beggar, said Mourao.
The worst part of the Fernández-Bolsonaro relationship seemed to be over in March when the Brazilian leader stepped in to support Argentina's negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It remains to be seen where these statements from Mourao will leave the bilateral situation now.
Argentina has been distancing itself from its Mercosur allies, first after a verbal clash between Fernández and his Uruguayan colleague Luis Lacalle Pou on March 26 during a virtual summit marking the bloc's 30th anniversary and earlier this week by submitting a formal complaint to Uruguay for allegedly allowing a British Royal Air Force transport serving the Falkland Islands refuel at Montevideo.
Mourao said he was concerned after Brazil's public debt tripled in the last 12 years, reaching close to 90% of GDP, which made drastic measures necessary.