Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president from 2003 and 2011, roasted current leadership of the country, calling them US "lackeys" and a "bunch of lunatics" in his first interview since his imprisonment over corruption charges last year.
The 73-year old former president has been forbidden from giving interviews until Friday, when two Brazilian journalists finally won the permission to visit Lula after a lengthy legal battle, The Guardian report says.
"I've never seen a [Brazilian] president salute the American flag. I've never seen a president go around saying, ‘I love the United States, I love it!'" Lula said, referring to President Jair Bolsonaro and his close ties to US leadership. "You should love your mother, you should love your country. What's all this about loving the United States?"
"Does anyone really think the US is going to favour 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."
Lula said that Brazil under Bolsonaro has fallen from its status as emerging world power to an increasingly shunned outcast due to Bolsonaro's hardline views.
"I was the only president who was invited to all the G8 meetings… Brazil was very important in the G20," Lula said. "All this has fallen apart."
"Now I see news that the mayor of New York doesn't want to have dinner with the president of Brazil," he continued, referring to Bill de Blasio's recent campaign to stop the Brazilian leader from being honoured in New York.
"Brazil is adrift — so far [Bolsonaro] doesn't know what to do," Lula said.
He criticized Bolsonaro for his alleged ties to paramilitary groups that dominate large parts of Rio de Janeiro, The Guardian report says.
"If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life," Bolsonaro told Brazilian magazine Exame Thursday. "But we can't let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise… We have families."
Paulo Coelho, Brazil's world-renowned writer, was among those criticising the controversial president.
"Brazilian women ARE NOT a commodity. Sex tourism is NOT a reason to visit Brasil," he wrote in his Twitter, which has more than 15 million followers.
"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.
Lula da Silva was imprisoned last April over charges of corruption and sentenced to 13 years in prison, according to New York Times. At the time of his imprisonment, he enjoyed a record-high approval rating and was expected to win his re-election by a landslide. He has been barred from running over corruption charges less than a month before the election.