Residence in the US where Bolsonaro is staying at the invitation of a supporter.

A group of 46 U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers have called on President Joe Biden’s administration to revoke any U.S. visas held by former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro after Sunday’s attack on Brazil’s capital.

On Thursday, lawmakers, all Democrats, also urged Biden to investigate any US-based “instigators” who might have played a role in the attack.

The move comes after Bolsonaro supporters stormed government buildings in Brasilia over the weekend, looting the Federal Supreme Court building, assaulting police and journalists and vandalizing parts of the National Congress and the presidential palace on the Planalto.

Bolsonaro was in the US when the attack unfolded.

Read too: US congressmen want Bolsonaro deported from the US

After the attack in Brasilia, Biden condemned “the attack on democracy and the peaceful transfer of power”. But his government said it had not received a request from Brazil to extradite the former president.

“We applaud your administration’s condemnation of the events in Brasilia,” the 46 Democratic lawmakers said on Thursday.

But they added: “We must not allow Mr Bolsonaro or any other former Brazilian official to take refuge in the United States to escape justice for any crimes they may have committed while in office” and should help with the Brazilian government’s investigation if ask for help.

Lawmakers also called on the Justice Department and other federal agencies to hold accountable any Florida-based actors who funded or supported the Brazilian riots, asking the FBI to investigate whether any action was taking place on US soil to organize the riot.

Read also: Under investigation, Bolsonaro flees Brazil through the back door

“We stand with the Brazilian people as they recover from this challenging time in their democratic history,” the lawmakers’ letter to Biden reads. “As members of the United States House of Representatives, we urge you to work with us to support newly sworn-in President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the Brazilian people in their pursuit of justice, upholding the rule of law, and protecting democratic institutions in their country.”

export of extremism

Thursday’s petition likened the attack in Brasilia to the events of January 6, 2021, when thousands of people supporting outgoing President Donald Trump descended on the US Capitol to try to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

“Two years ago, the United States faced a similar attack on our democracy,” the lawmakers wrote in a statement. “We know firsthand the impact – immediate and long-term – when government officials subvert democratic norms, spread misinformation and foment violent extremism.”

Also read: TCU appoints rapporteur to investigate Bolsonaro’s trip to the US

Texas Representative Joaquin Castro, one of the lawmakers behind the petition, went a step further, saying the 2021 US attack paved the way for riot in Brazil. The petition is also signed by Ruben Gallego (Arizona), Chuy Garcia (Illinois), Susan Wild (Pennsylvania), and House Minority Leader Gregory Meeks (New York), who is also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. .

“The attack on Brazilian democracy is a painful reminder of the global consequences of the January 6 insurrection,” Castro wrote on social media. He said that revoking Bolsonaro’s visa “would ensure that he cannot escape justice”.

Doubtful conditions of stay

Bolsonaro left for the state of Florida, in the southern United States, 48 ​​hours before his term expires on December 31, being able to use a diplomatic passport that expires after the end of his term. It is not clear what kind of visa Bolsonaro obtained to enter the US and whether it is still valid due to the change in political status.

Also read: Bolsonaro can respond in the common court and become ineligible

Asked about Bolsonaro’s entry, State Department spokesman Ned Price declined to provide details on the visa status, citing privacy concerns. He said, however, that anyone entering the U.S. on the so-called A-1 visa reserved for acting heads of state would have 30 days to leave the country or adjust their status with the Department of Homeland Security after their term ends. .

Afraid of deportation or extradition, Bolsonaro said on social media that he would return to Brazil earlier than planned for medical reasons. He denied inciting his supporters and said the protesters had “crossed the line”.

Critics speculate that Bolsonaro left Brazil while he was still president and enjoyed legal immunity. As president, Bolsonaro could only be arrested if convicted by the Federal Supreme Court. But after the transfer of power, he would have been vulnerable to lawsuits in the first instance.

Also read: Request for Bolsonaro’s preventive detention is filed at the STF

Bolsonaro faces four ongoing criminal investigations in Brazil, including allegations that he spread false claims about the election and used his office as president to spread misinformation.

The former president currently lives in a gated community in the metropolitan area of ​​Orlando, Florida, where resorts such as Disney World are located.

Florida is home to the largest population of Brazilian-born residents in the US, and some come to visit Bolsonaro to ask for autographs and take selfies. On Monday, Bolsonaro was reportedly admitted to a Florida hospital after reporting intestinal pain stemming from a stab wound in 2018.

palace conspiracy

This Thursday, Lula told reporters that he wondered if the protesters had help from within the government.

Read also: Palácio do Alvorada was left as in ruins, as the entire Bolsonaro government

“I am convinced that the door to the Planalto Palace was opened for people to enter because there are no broken doors,” explained Lula. “That means someone made it easy for them to get in.”

He said he had called for a “complete overhaul” of the presidential palace staff.

Brazil’s Supreme Court has already ordered the arrest and investigation of Anderson Torres, who served as Minister of Justice in the Bolsonaro government. Torres was Brasília’s security chief at the time of the attack on the capital, although he was in Florida when the riot unfolded.

Torres denied wrongdoing and said he intended to return to Brazil to face the accusations. He, the governor of Brasilia, Ibaneis Rocha, and the head of the military police in the capital, were removed from their positions, pending investigations into security breaches that allowed the attack.

With information from News Agencies


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *