Argentina's Milei rails against socialism in first visit to Brazil as president

By Anderson Coelho

BALNEARIO CAMBORIU, Brazil (Reuters) - Javier Milei, making his first visit to Brazil as Argentina's president, attacked socialism for curtailing liberties and creating corruption in a speech on Sunday to a conservative rally led by former Brazilian hard-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

Reading from a prepared speech at the CPAC Brasil 2024 event, Milei made no mention of Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, even as Bolsonaro supporters chanted insults about the leftist leader and called for him to be put in jail.

Milei skipped the presidential summit of the Mercosur trade block in Paraguay on Monday, where he would finally meet Lula, leader Argentina's main trading partner. He instead decided to attend the rally of his right-wing ally Bolsonaro.

Milei strained relations with the Brazilian government by calling Lula "corrupt" and a "communist" in a post on X last week - the most recent in a number of insults. Lula has in the past demanded an apology from Milei.

After the speech, the crowd cheered Bolsonaro, saying they want him back in power, despite his being banned from seeking elected office until 2030 for attacks on democracy, and under investigation for other alleged crimes during his four-year term.

CPAC Brasil is intended to drum up support for candidates of Bolsonaro's party in this year's municipal elections and project his influence ahead of the 2026 presidential race.

The event, billed as the first major opposition rally in the campaign for local mayoral elections in October, also has served to unite right-wing leaders in the Americas.

Chile's former presidential candidate Jose Antonio Kast addressed the rally, as did former Bolivian minister Branko Marinkovic, who was presented as a possible candidate for next year's presidential elections in Bolivia.

Right-wing politicians from Portugal and El Salvador also spoke during the event.

Bolsonaro, who spoke on Saturday, said the right-wing is gaining ground internationally, in Italy and France, and said he hoped that former U.S. President Donald Trump will be returned to the White House this year.

(Writing by Fabio Teixeira; Editing by David Holmes and Bill Berkrot)