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Revoke Bolsonaro“s visa, 41 U.S. Democrats urge Biden administration

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2023-01-12T17:39:04Z

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FILE PHOTO: Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro arrives to the house where he is staying after being discharged from the hospital, in Kissimmee, Florida, U.S., January 10, 2023. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Forty-one Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday to cooperate with Brazil’s investigation into violent protests in Brasilia and revoke any U.S. visas held by former President Jair Bolsonaro.

They sent a letter calling on the administration to support democracy and the rule of law in Brazil. “Furthermore, we must not allow Mr. Bolsonaro or any other former Brazilian officials to take refuge in the United States to escape justice for any crimes they may have committed when in office,” the letter said.

Far-right Bolsonaro flew to Florida two days before his term ended on Jan. 1 and leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office.

Supporters of Bolsonaro ransacked Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace on Sunday, calling for a military coup to overturn the October election that Lula won.

State Department and White House officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.

The State Department has said repeatedly its policy is not to discuss specific visa cases. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington had not received any specific requests from Brazil over Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro has said on social media that he would return to Brazil earlier than planned for medical reasons. He has denied inciting his supporters and said the rioters “crossed the line.”

The letter was led by U.S. Representatives Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat and former chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Joaquin Castro, Ruben Gallego, Chuy Garcia and Susan Wild.

Biden joined other world leaders in condemning Sunday’s violence in Brazil.

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