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Blinken says no request so far from Brazil over events of Jan. 8

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks on the “U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security,” at the State Department in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 4, 2023. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

The United States has not received any specific requests from Brazil over the storming of Brazil’s top institutions in Brasilia by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

“We’ve not received any specific requests from Brazilian authorities. Of course, if and when we do, we’ll work expeditiously to respond,” said Blinken, speaking at a news conference at the State Department.

The far-right former Brazilian president flew to Florida two days before his term ended on Jan. 1, having challenged the results of the Oct. 30 runoff election that he narrowly lost to leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

On Sunday a violent movement of election-denying Bolsonaro supporters stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court, marking the worst attack on the country’s institutions in decades.

After supporters of former U.S. leader Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol two years ago, Democratic President Joe Biden is now facing mounting pressure to remove Bolsonaro from his self-imposed exile in suburban Orlando, Florida.

But Blinken declined to comment on Bolsonaro’s specific case. “With regard to individuals, we’re talking now about people who are private citizens … It’s not appropriate for us to comment on any individual’s visa status,” he said.

Bolsonaro said on social media that he would return to Brazil earlier than planned for medical reasons.

He faces several investigations before the Supreme Court in Brazil and his future in the United States, where he traveled with a visa issued to heads of state, diplomats and other government officials, is in question.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday said anyone in the United States on an A-1 visa no longer engaged in official business must depart the country within 30 days, or apply for a change of immigration status. Price said he could not comment on an individual’s visa status, but was speaking in general terms about visa rules.

Blinken repeated that Washington stands with Brazil’s democracy and its institutions. “President will have an opportunity to confer directly and closely with President Lula when he visits Washington in early February,” Blinken added.

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