Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva is coming to the White House on Friday, February 10. The scheduled meeting between Biden and Lula coincides with Jair Bolsonaro’s recent request for a 6-month US visa extension.

Brazil’s former head of state fled to the US two days before Lula was officiated as President. Many accused Bolsonaro of being a “coward” for leaving the nation and refusing to partake in the ceremonial tradition representing the transfer of power from one President to the next. 

After a month of his stay in Kissimmee, Florida, Bolsonaro has requested to extend his US visa for another six months. It has been assumed that Bolsonaro used an A-1 visa reserved for heads of state to enter the US. However, this visa expired on January 31st, 30 days from the end of this presidential term. Now, the former leader is seeking a tourist visa. 

In the past, Bolsonaro told CNN Brasil that he planned on returning to the country by the end of January. Bolsonaro’s decision to prolong his stay in the US – or, in other words, avoid returning to Brazil – may be connected to the January 8 attack on the nation’s Presidential Palace a week after Lula was inaugurated. 

“The US must cease granting refuge to Bolsonaro in Florida,” AOC tweeted Sunday.

Lula’s administration has launched an investigation into Bolsonaro’s involvement in the assault. Before the 2022 elections, Bolsonaro instigated a campaign against Brazil’s electronic voting system and spread false claims about the machine’s supposed “vulnerability to hackers.” 

Shortly after the invasion of Brazil’s Three Powers, Biden condemned “the assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power in Brazil. Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined.” 

Lula will now be welcomed with open arms by the White House on his visit to the US.

According to the White House spokeswoman, Lula and Biden will examine the American “unwavering support for Brazil’s democracy” and how the two counties will work together to continue promoting “inclusion and democratic values in the region and around the world.” 

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