Van Hollen, Menendez, Kaine, Colleagues Introduce Resolution Expressing Solidarity with the Brazilian People in Aftermath of Insurrection
Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) alongside Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and their Democratic Senate colleagues in introducing a resolution condemning the January 8 siege on Brazil’s Congress, presidential palace, and Supreme Court by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro.
Against the backdrop of the insurrection’s parallels to the January 6, 2021 siege on the U.S. Capitol, the resolution expresses steadfast support for the country’s democratic institutions, reaffirms U.S. commitment to its strategic partnership with Brazil, and urges President Joe Biden to promptly review and respond to any requests for assistance related to investigations into the violent events. It also expresses concerns about rampant disinformation and misinformation in Brazil and their role in contributing to the events of January 8, and calls on social media and group messaging companies to work with Brazilian authorities to address the potential exploitation of their platforms to facilitate and amplify such events.
“Upholding democracy in Brazil is critical to ensuring the will of their people is both heard and acted upon. We stand in solidarity with Brazilian citizens in condemning the violence on January 8th and will continue to press for accountability as we urge all parties to respect the democratic principles made clear in the Brazilian constitution. The United States is committed to doing all we can to support the people of Brazil and to maintain our strong partnership,” said Senator Van Hollen.
“Just over two years ago, the health and strength of American democracy was tested when a violent mob—incited by dangerous electoral disinformation, hyper-nationalist rhetoric, and above all a call to action by a former president—sought to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power by storming the U.S. Capitol. Just over a month ago, the world watched again as democracy—this time in Brazil—came under assault,” Chairman Menendez said. “While the recent insurrection in Brasília reminds us once more of the precious fragility of democracy, it also demonstrates the resilience of the Brazilian people and the country’s own democratic institutions. I am therefore honored to be joined by my colleagues in signaling our unwavering commitment to our hemispheric neighbor, and affirming that as Brazilian officials seek to advance truth and pursue accountability for January 8, they deserve nothing less than our full support.”
“The recent assault on Brazil’s democratic institutions and our own country’s tragic experience with January 6th reminds us of the need to stand up for democracy at home and abroad,” said Senator Kaine. “This resolution reaffirms our strong support for Brazilian democracy. We will continue to stand together in the wake of these horrific attacks.”
Joining Senators Menendez and Kaine in cosponsoring the legislation in addition to Senator Van Hollen were Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
“As we did in the run-up to the elections last year, the United States must stand in solidarity with Brazilian democracy, support the country’s democratically elected government, support good-faith efforts to investigate what happened on January 8th, and find ways to cooperate with the new administration on shared challenges like climate and the environment,” Senator Sanders said.
“The recent assault on Brazil’s symbols of democratic government — following months of reckless disinformation by former President Bolsonaro — was an attack on democracy around the world,” said Senator Durbin. “It is shameful that Bolsonaro was in the U.S. taking selfies during that disgraceful event. I recently introduced legislation to ensure that foreign officials who undermine a free and fair election or peaceful democratic transfer of power cannot escape accountability by fleeing to the United States. This resolution will further emphasize the message that we stand with the people of Brazil and support the safeguarding of their democratic institutions.
“Brazilians and Americans share the recent experience of having seen our fundamental democratic processes and institutions threatened by violent mobs,” said Senator Cardin. “We both have also demonstrated the resilience of our democratic norms and institutions, and our peoples have rejected extremism. The resolution we are introducing today quite properly reaffirms ‘the strategic partnership between the United States and the Government of Brazil on the defense of democracy and human rights and other issues of shared priorities.”
“The violent scenes in Brasília on January 8th were all too familiar to what we saw two years ago on January 6th in Washington. When leaders like Jair Bolsonaro start to follow Trump’s playbook to undermine the integrity of elections, it’s clear the world is facing a crisis of faith in democracy. The United States must stand strong with the people of Brazil and those defending their democratic institutions as they work to hold insurrectionists accountable,” said Senator Murphy.
“What many of us feared following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was the message it sent to the world about the fragility of democracy and the encouragement it gave other bad actors around the globe to replicate that malign behavior. That’s precisely what happened in Brazil – Jair Bolsonaro took a page out of President Trump’s playbook on spreading misinformation about the results of Brazil’s general election, which spurred a violent assault on their capital. I’m glad to join this group of lawmakers to repudiate his actions and stand with the people of Brazil in defense of their democratic institutions to ensure they have a government that is held accountable for its actions,” said Senator Shaheen.
“A peaceful transfer of power is integral to a strong democracy, anywhere,” said Senator Merkley. “The attempted coup in Brazil, amid ongoing tension and polarization, underscores the fragility of democracy and the concerted efforts required to preserve it. The U.S. must condemn any and all attempts to incite political violence and intimidation to help Brazil uphold its democratic traditions.”
A copy of the resolution can be found here.
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