Bolsonaro seeks U.S. travel visa as Brasilia pursues investigations

Though Bolsonaro condemned the actions of his supporter, the new Brazilian government has opted to investigate his alleged role in the incident.

Published: January 30, 2023 4:41pm

Updated: January 30, 2023 5:37pm

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month travel visa that would permit him to extend his stay in the United States.

An attorney for Bolsonaro, Felipe Alexandre, told the Financial Times that the U.S. government had received the application.

"I think Florida will be his temporary home away from home. Right now, with his situation, I think he needs a little stability," Alexandre told the outlet. Bolsonaro is currently residing in the Sunshine State.

Bolsonaro left Brazil on Dec. 30, 2022, after losing the presidential election to rival Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva. He did not attend the inauguration.

Lula's candidacy in the 2022 contest was controversial as he was previously caught in a corruption scandal and barred from participating in the 2018 contest that Bolsonaro won. Lula previously served as president from 2003 to 2010. The Supreme Federal Court later overturned his 2017 conviction and permitted his 2022 candidacy. That decision was not without controversy given Lula's appointment of several of the justices.

While Bolsonaro committed to a peaceful transfer of power, his supporters were less willing to accept Lula's victory, storming the Congress, Supreme Federal Court, and presidential workplace to demand Lula's resignation. The effort was ultimately unsuccessful and resulted in at least 1,500 arrests.

Though Bolsonaro condemned the actions of his supporters, the new Brazilian government has opted to investigate his alleged role in the incident, which federal authorities point to his posting of a video questioning the legality of Lula's election as evidence. Bolsonaro posted that video after the incident.

"By posting a video on January 10 (two days after the attack) questioning the legality of the 2022 presidential elections, Bolsonaro delivered a public incitement to commit crimes," read a Brazilian court statement.

Bolsonaro's application comes not only amid his home country's investigation, but is concurrent with an effort from Senate Democrats to deny him such a visa, contending that his alleged involvement in the Brasilia affair ought to disqualify him from remaining stateside.

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