Caracas: Leftist Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday branded far-right Brazil counterpart Jair Bolsonaro a "modern day Hitler" supported by evangelical Christians.
Maduro was delivering his annual address to the Constituent Assembly, four days after he was sworn in for a highly-controversial second term. He and Bolsonaro have been exchanging barbs since the Brazilian won elections at the end of last year.
"Bolsonaro is a modern day Hitler. He is. What he doesn't have is courage and his own decisions because he's the puppet of a sect," said Maduro, referring to Bolsonaro's conservative evangelical Christian support base.
Bolsonaro has accused Maduro of being a "dictator" and described him as illegitimate when the Venezuelan leader was sworn in on Thursday. Maduro won an election in May that was boycotted by the opposition and dismissed as a fraud by the United States, European Union and many Latin American countries.
He was sworn in by the Supreme Court, made up of regime loyalists, rather than the opposition controlled National Assembly, as Venezuela's constitution demands. Parliament has been sidelined since the Supreme Court stripped it of its powers in 2017, shortly after the opposition gained a majority in late 2016.
Maduro then created the Constituent Assembly to replace the National Assembly. Brazil's foreign ministry said it recognized the original legislature as Venezuela's "democratically elected" body with "executive authority." Its president, Juan Guaido, has said Venezuela's constitution allows him to assume power and set up a "transitional government" ahead of new elections, but Maduro retains the support of the military high command.