Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

WikiLeaks cable reveals how a Brazilian 'terrorist' got a US visa last year

(Read article summary)

Thomas Peter/Reuters/File

(Read caption) US President Barack Obama seen after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo City Hall Dec. 10, 2009. Some speculated that the Obama administration had relaxed US policy by issuing a visa to a Brazilian who, while a member of a student radical group, had held former US Ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick hostage for four days in 1969. The visa issuing occurred at the same time the media was talking about the Nobel Prize awarded to President Obama.

About these ads

A Brazilian who helped kidnap the US ambassador to his country in 1969 should never have received a tourist visa from the State Department last year, according to a US diplomatic cable posted yesterday by Wikileaks.

After the US consulate pasted the precious visa into former student radical Paulo de Tarso Venceslau's passport, but before it returned the passport to him, officials realized what had happened. A top diplomat wrote to Washington asking whether it would be best to let him slide "in light of the distance from the crime, the circumstances under which it took place, and our desire for a forward-looking relationship."

The US had long considered Mr. Venceslau a terrorist for holding former US Ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick hostage for four days in 1969 along with a group of radical students that included current Brazilian congressman Fernando Gabeira and Franklin Martins (a minister for President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva). The group, known as Revolutionary Movement 8th October (MR-8), demanded the release of 15 political prisoners held by the Brazilian military dictatorship. It worked.


Page:   1   |   2   |   3

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.