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Bolsonaro wants to stay in Florida longer after riot in Brazil

The former Brazilian president reportedly has applied for a visa so he can remain in Florida, which deserves a new slogan with all of its wannabe despots.


Florida is quickly solidifying its reputation as a favorite locale for the world’s wannabe despots. There’s former President Donald Trump. Current Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. And these days, Jair Bolsonaro, the violent, anti-democratic former leader of Brazil. 

Bolsonaro apparently feels right at home in DeSantis’ Florida — and as he awaits word on Brazil’s investigation into a violent coup attempt waged by his supporters, he’s looking for an extended stay in the Sunshine State. Officials in Brazil are investigating whether the former president played a role in rioters’ decision to storm several federal buildings after Bolsonaro lost the presidency to liberal candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last year.

Like Trump, Bolsonaro spread lies about his election being stolen ahead of his loss in October — and he has continued spreading those lies since arriving in Florida … even after the Jan. 8 riot

I’m thinking Florida deserves a new slogan: “Florida: Come for the gators, stay for the potential to evade legal repercussions for your violent acts.”

The Financial Times reported Monday that Bolsonaro has been staying in the U.S. on an expired A-1 visa — that is, a visa for diplomats and foreign government officials — since the end of December. Now, Bolsonaro is applying for a six-month visitor visa that would allow him to kick it in Florida a little while longer, his immigration lawyer says. 

“I think Florida will be his temporary home away from home,” the lawyer, Felipe Alexandre, told FT. “Right now, with his situation, I think he needs a little stability.” 

Don’t we all?

I’m thinking Florida deserves a new slogan:

“Florida: Come for the gators, stay for the potential to evade legal repercussions for your violent acts.”

(It’s a work in progress, I know.)

Several Democrats have called on the United States to send Bolsonaro back to Brazil. Republicans are much quieter on the matter. And given that Bolsonaro has endeared himself to American conservatives by parroting Trump’s bigotry (and leaning into his “Trump of the Tropics” identity), I suspect DeSantis’ Florida will be in no hurry to give him the boot. 

The fact that conservatives are already planning to feature him at upcoming events doesn’t inspire much confidence in that outcome either.

Either way, it’s notable that DeSantis — a man who has boasted about his willingness to confront authoritarians and targeted immigration as a threat to his state — is currently providing refuge to a wannabe strongman who’s only making Florida his home because he stirred his first one into a fascist frenzy.