SAO PAULO (AFP) – Brazil’s opposition slammed President Jair Bolsonaro on Saturday as ‘depraved’ for suggesting a group of Venezuelan girls that he visited in their home were prostitutes, as the country gears up for a presidential run-off.
Bolsonaro will face left-wing former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva in the second round of a presidential election on October 30, with the expectation of a close contest pushing both sides to intensify their attacks in the run-up.
Local media aired an interview with Bolsonaro about the situation in Venezuela in which he recalled a visit last year to a poor neighborhood in Brazil’s capital where he met a group of Venezuelan girls.
The president said he had asked a group of “three or four very pretty 14 or 15-year-olds” if he could “come in your house”, where he found “15 or 20 girls” getting ready “to earn a living”.
The leader of Lula’s opposition party, Gleisi Hoffmann, quickly slammed Bolsonaro’s comments as “depraved” and “criminal”, while Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, coordinator of Lula’s campaign, expressed ‘disgust’.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly said that Brazil would suffer the same fate as Venezuela if Lula wins the election. According to polling organisations, Lula has a lead over the president.