A group of 22 representatives of the Democratic Party of the United States released on Wednesday (2) a public letter in solidarity with Federal Representative Talíria Petrone (PSOL-RJ), who has been receiving death threats in Rio de Janeiro, and criticizing the “antidemocratic and xenophobic” policies of President Jair Bolsonaro.
Talíria is prevented from returning to Rio de Janeiro with her five-month-old daughter after receiving death threats. In September, the PSOL congresswoman called on the United Nations (UN) to ask for protection after not receiving help from both the federal government and the governments of Rio de Janeiro.
In the letter, U.S. congresspersons mention the murder of councilwoman Marielle Franco in 2018 and threats against former MP Jean Wyllys, who had to leave the country, and say that “Afro-Brazilian opposition leaders have not received adequate protection from the Brazilian government to ensure their safety.
U.S. Democratic deputies have been criticizing various aspects of the Bolsonaro government, especially in matters of human rights and environmental policy.
The letter is led by Congresswoman Susan Wild and has the support of deputies such as Joaquin Castro, Alcee L. Hastings, Mark Pocan, Henry C. Hank Johnson, Alan Lowenthal, Deb Haaland (quoted to take command of the Interior Department in the Biden government), Raúl M. Grijalva, Ro Khanna, and Ilhan Omar.
They are calling for a full and impartial investigation to identify and prosecute those responsible for the Petrone threats. According to the letter, it is “alarming” that the Bolsonaro government has so far shown itself “incapable or unwilling to guarantee the safety of elected lawmakers. “In fact, Bolsonaro’s attempts to promote a crack in the Brazilian population contributed to a high in political violence in the 2020 municipal elections, which resulted in the assassinations of several candidates and supporters.
Democratic congresspersons point to the growth of racism and homophobia in Brazil. “While President Bolsonaro continues to undermine the rights of Afro-Brazilians, women, the LGBT population, indigenous people and others, we are seeing the forces of racism, sexism and homophobia being dangerously empowered in Brazil,” the text says.
“That is why, since the beginning of the Bolsonaro government, a broad coalition of members of the U.S. Congress has denounced and fought against the praises of the Trump government and support for President Bolsonaro. We will continue to support the Brazilian people and oppose the anti-democratic and xenophobic actions of President Bolsonaro”.