FBrazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month tourist visa to stay in the United States, his lawyer said Monday.
Bolsonaro, who led Brazil from 2019 to 2022, is under investigation after thousands of his supporters stormed the capital, Brasilia, and damaged major government buildings in protest at what they believed was his unfair election loss to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, colloquially. known as Lula. The storming of the capitol occurred on January 8 and was eerily reminiscent of the January 6 US Capitol riot.
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Bolsonaro has claimed that the embezzlement deprived him of victory against Lula, who was sworn in as president on New Year’s Day. Those claims included raising controversial claims that voting machines were malfunctioning and sharing a later-deleted video of a woman questioning Lula’s victory.
Social Liberal Party presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro waves after voting in the second round of the presidential election in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(AP Photo/Sílvia left)
Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida on December 30. Still, his unsubstantiated claims of election interference led Brazil’s Supreme Court to authorize a review of the former president’s role in the riot.
A group of 46 Democratic lawmakers in the US sent a letter to President Joe Biden on January 12 demanding that Bolsonaro’s diplomatic visa be revoked. A Brazilian lawmaker also pleaded with the US government to initiate extradition proceedings for the former president after the capital attack.
Bolsonaro’s son, a senator, told reporters he was not sure when his father would return to Brazil.
“It could be tomorrow, it could be in six months, it might never come back. I don’t know. It’s relaxing,” said Flávio Bolsonaro, according to The Guardian.
The newspaper added that the US State Department has repeatedly refused to answer questions about Bolsonaro’s visa status in the US.
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Bolsonaro has been embroiled in at least five major inquiries related to his alleged abuse of power, fraud, promulgation of disinformation and leaking of classified information, as well as his handling of the pandemic. His successor, Lula, was previously arrested on corruption and money laundering charges in 2018, but the Supreme Court intervened and threw out those charges in 2019, paving the way for his rise to power.
During his stay in Florida, Bolsonaro was admitted to a hospital near Orlando to receive treatment for severe abdominal pain, likely stemming from the stabbing attack he suffered in 2018.