Washington The outbreak of violence in the Brazilian capital Brasília could have diplomatic consequences for the United States. Because Jair Bolsonaro, ex-president of the South American country who was elected from office, has been in the US state of Florida since the turn of the year. One reason for this, the US media suspected, is the threat of criminal charges from the government of his left-wing successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
The first US politicians are now calling for Bolsonaro to be expelled to Brazil. “Almost two years to the day, when the US Capitol was attacked by fascists, we see fascist movements abroad attempting to do the same in Brazil,” tweeted Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “The US must stop granting sanctuary to Bolsonaro in Florida,” she demanded.
Joaquin Castro, also a Democratic MP, called on the US government and the authorities in Florida to refuse Bolsonaro shelter. “The United States should not be a haven for this autocrat who inspired domestic terrorism in Brazil,” Castro told CNN.
US President Joe Biden was on the US-Mexico border on Sunday as Bolsonaro supporters stormed several government buildings in Brasília. In the Texas city of El Paso, he visited a refugee center. above Twitter Biden condemned the events as an “assault on democracy and the peaceful transfer of power,” adding that Brazil’s democratic institutions have the full US support. “President Biden is closely monitoring the situation,” added White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated US solidarity with Lula.
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Alliance of right-wing populists: Bolsonaro’s Trump connection
The 67-year-old Bolsonaro landed in Florida at the end of December, according to several US media he wanted to stay there for at least a month. A series of social media videos showed Bolsonaro in the entertainment metropolis of Orlando. The house he rents belongs to Jose Aldo, a former mixed martial arts national star, according to the Rio Times.
The settlement where Bolsonaro found shelter is a few kilometers from Disney World and about a two-hour drive from Mar-a-Lago, home of Donald Trump. In the video footage, Bolsonaro can be seen shopping in a supermarket or eating fast food at “Kentucky Fried Chicken”. Fans regularly gather outside his door, and Bolsonaro visits him in the polo shirt for selfies and hugs on the street.
After storming government buildings in Brasília, Bolsonaro disapproved of the actions of his supporters and called on them to avoid violence. But the attack on the US Capitol two years ago and the riots in Brasília are not only visually similar – they share a similar ideological background.
Bolsonaro and Trump have a close connection, both rely on nationalism and populism. Comparable to Trump in the USA, Bolsonaro had questioned the Brazilian electoral system. And both politicians refused to accept their defeats. “May our close ties last for many years to come,” Trump vowed in the summer of 2019 when Bolsonaro visited him at the White House.
So far, nothing is known about a possible current meeting in Florida. But since the election in Brazil on October 30 last year, Bolsonaro’s inner circle has met with advisers to ex-President Trump several times, the Washington Post reported. Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of Jair Bolsonaro, visited Trump in Mar-a-Lago. He also exchanged views with former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, as well as with former spokesman for Trump’s campaign, Jason Miller. Bannon recently devoted several episodes of his War Room podcast to the Brazilian election.
Eduardo Bolsonaro was also present in Washington during the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and is considered a keen linker of right-wing networks between the US and Brazil. Among other things, he was responsible for the right-wing event spectacle “Conservative Political Action Conference” (CPAC) getting an offshoot in Brazil. When he accompanied his father to Washington in 2019, he said of the right-wing movement: “We are finally doing what the communists and socialists did a long time ago. We organize ourselves internationally.”
More: Bolsonaro disapproves of storming of government buildings in Brasília – around 200 arrests