Two days before his term expired on January 1, the former Brazilian president of far-right flew to Florida, having challenged the Oct. 30, election he lost against leftist rival LuizInacio Lula da Silva. Bolsonaro’s supporters were violently opposed to the election and stormed Brazil’s Supreme Court, Congress, presidential palace and Congress on Sunday.
After two years of watching Trump supporters invade the US Capitol, Democratic Presidential President Joe Biden is now under increasing pressure to free Bolsonaro’s exile in suburban Orlando.
CNN’s Joaquin Castro, Democratic Congressman, said that Bolsonaro should not reside in Florida. “The United States shouldn’t be a refuge for an authoritarian who has incited domestic terror in Brazil.” He should be sent home to Brazil.
Castro stated that Bolsonaro had used the Trump playbook “to inspire domestic terrorists” and was now based there as a Trump acolyte.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (Democratic Congresswoman) also shared those views.
On Sunday, she tweeted that the US should stop giving refuge to Bolsonaro from Florida. “Nearly two decades after the attack on America’s Capitol by fascists,” we witness fascist movements in Brazil attempt to do so.
They raise the temperature on Bolsonaro’s comments and highlight Washington’s important decision about his future.
Bolsonaro had a conflicting relationship with Biden. He was already in weaker ground back home after losing broad protections from prosecution for his resignation as president. According to Reuters last week, those probes could lead him to arrest or prevent his candidacy for office.
John Feeley, the U.S. ambassador in Panama from 2016-2018, was asked by the Central American nation to extradite Ricardo Martinelli. Feeley stated that Bolsonaro’s greatest immediate threat would be created if his U.S. visa was revoked.
Feeley stated, “The United States or any sovereign country for that matter may remove a foreigner even if he entered legally on visa.” It’s a sovereign decision that doesn’t require any legal justification.
A U.S. consular officer spoke under anonymity and said Bolsonaro had almost certainly entered with an A-1 visa. This visa is reserved for heads of states.
Normally, the A-1 is cancelled after the recipient leaves office. Bolsonaro, however, had already left Brazil for the United States and was therefore suspected that his A-1 might still be in effect.
A person familiar with cancelling visas for former heads states said that there is no limit to how long someone can stay on an A-1 in the United States.
“We’re on uncharted territory,” said the official. “Who knows how long he’ll stay?”
A spokesperson for the State Department said that visa records are confidential according to U.S. law. Therefore, it is impossible to discuss individual visa cases.
Bolsonaro could be reluctant to go back to Brazil, where his arrest for instigating a violent movement of election denial with false claims of electoral fraud is a red flag.
Lula, who pledged to pursue Bolsonaro if necessary during his Jan.1 inauguration speech on Sunday, blamed his predecessor for this invasion.
Lula said that the genocidist “is encouraging this via social networking from Miami.” “Everybody knows that the ex-president has many speeches encouraging this.”
Bolsonaro retweeted Lula’s accusations Sunday and claimed that the invasion crossed the line between peaceful protest and invasion.
Bolsonaro was already subject to four criminal probes by the Supreme Court, before Bolsonaro became president.
Experts believe that he might be the subject of a Supreme Court probe by Justice Alexandre de Moraes to investigate anti-democratic protests.
If Moraes signs an arrest warrant in the United States while Bolsonaro’s is in Brazil, the former president will technically be required to fly home to Brazil and surrender to the police. Brazil could issue an Interpol Red Notice to request his arrest.
Brazil would need to formalize its extradition request if Bolsonaro is held on U.S. soil. Bolsonaro can appeal to U.S. court or seek asylum. But that does not guarantee that he will be allowed to return to Brazil.
The former Panamanian President Martinelli was extradited to Panama from the United States in 2018, three years after Panama’s Supreme Court issued its arrest warrant.