Alwaght- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former Brazilian President, rebuked the Latin American country's incumbent leadership, saying Brazil is governed by a “bunch of lunatics” and the US's “lackeys.”
Lula, who served as Brazil's president between 2003 and 2011, made the remarks on Friday in his first interview published by The Guardian since his imprisonment over corruption charges last year.
“What we can’t have is this country being run governed by a bunch of lunatics. The country doesn’t deserve this and above all the people do not deserve this,” Lula said, referring to President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration and its close ties to US leadership.
The 73-year-old leftist said Brazil needed to undergo a period of “self-reflection” after what he described as the “crazy” fake news and hate-filled election of far-right populist Bolsonaro last year.
Bolsonaro, also known as "Tropical Trump" for his hardline policies, visited the US last month to prove his close relations with US President Donald Trump.
"I've never seen a president salute the American flag. I've never seen a president go around saying, ‘I love the United States, I love it!'" Lula said. "You should love your mother, you should love your country. What's all this about loving the United States?"
Lula also said he profoundly regretted “the disaster that is taking place in this country,” and rebuked Brazil’s political approach towards Washington under Bolsonaro.
"Does anyone really think the US is going to favor Brazil?" Lula asked. "Americans think of themselves first, second, third, fourth, fifth — and if there's any time left over they think about Americans. And these Brazilian lackeys go around thinking the Americans will do anything for us."
Bolsonaro took office in January, defeating Workers' Party presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, who replaced Lula after he was barred from running less than a month before the election.
Lula was convicted as part of Operation Car Wash, a wide reaching probe into corruption surrounding state oil firm Petrobras, and was sentenced to 13 years in prison last April over charges of corruption and money laundering.
Bolsonaro is an avid admirer of Trump and his policies, particularly those with regard to opposing anti-imperialist governments in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba.
The Brazilian president has sparked controversy by following Trump on calling for the relocation of his country’s embassy to the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds.
Bolsonaro personally made the promise to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu while he attended the Brazilian president's inauguration ceremony on January 1.
Bolsonaro has also said that he is open to considering the establishment of a US military base in Brazil as a way to “counter Russian influence” in neighboring Venezuela.
The move was later rejected by Brazilian Defense Minister General Fernando Azevedo e Silva.