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Viewing cable 09BRASILIA1239, HANDLING VISA REQUEST FROM BRAZILIAN INVOLVED IN

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Reference ID Created Classification Origin
09BRASILIA1239 2009-10-15 17:48 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Brasilia
VZCZCXRO2382
OO RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1239/01 2881748
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 151748Z OCT 09 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5218
INFO RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE IMMEDIATE 0017
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO IMMEDIATE 8278
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO IMMEDIATE 4644
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 BRASILIA 001239 
 
C O R R E C T E D COPY - ADDING ADDRESSEE 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA AND CA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/14/2019 
TAGS: PREL PTER CVIS BR
SUBJECT: HANDLING VISA REQUEST FROM BRAZILIAN INVOLVED IN 
THE 1969 KIDNAPPING OF THE U.S. AMBASSADOR 
 
BRASILIA 00001239  001.2 OF 004 
 
 
Classified By: Charge d' Affaires, a.i. Lisa Kubiske, reason: 1.4 (b) a 
nd (d) 
 
1. (U) This is an action request--see paras 2 and 10. 
 
2. (C) Summary and Action Request: Consulate General Sao 
Paulo on October 6 issued a visa to Paulo de Tarso Venceslau, 
who after the fact was identified in Brazilian media as one 
of the kidnappers of the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil in 1969, 
sparking speculation of a change in U.S. policy toward the 
former guerillas under the Obama Administration. CG Sao 
Paulo, which still has possession of Venceslau,s passport, 
reports that Venceslau omitted disclosure of his arrest and 
imprisonment for his involvement in the kidnapping on his 
visa application.  Cancellation of the visa, which would be 
the standard course of action, will likely lead to 
significant and negative reaction in the Brazilian media at a 
time when both official Brazilians and the public are 
considering new possibilities for U.S.-Brazil relations.  In 
light of the distance from the crime, the circumstances under 
which it took place, and our desire for a forward-looking 
relationship, now might be the time to consider waiving 
ineligibilities.  At the same time, issuance of a visa, with 
attendant waiver of ineligibilities, would set a precedent 
for others who participated in the kidnapping, including a 
prominent federal deputy and a government minister, and might 
have implications for broader U.S. policy and messaging on 
terrorism. CG Sao Paulo will interview Venceslau on Monday, 
October 19.  Mission requests urgent guidance from the 
Department on whether to undertake discussions with Venceslau 
that might allow us to recommend a waiver of ineligibilities. 
End summary. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
U.S. AMBASSADOR KIDNAPPER IS ISSUED VISA, RUNS TO PRESS 
-------------------------------------- 
3. (C) CG Sao Paulo on October 6 issued Venceslau a B2 
tourism visa after no hits of any kind appeared on all 
iterations of his name. Venceslau did not indicate on 
question 38 of his DS-156 application that he had "ever been 
arrested or convicted of any offense or crime, even though 
subject of pardon." The visa was processed and placed into 
the passport, but CG Sao Paulo remains in possession of the 
passport. 
 
4. (U) Reports in the October 9 and 10 Estado de Sao Paulo 
and O Globo newspapers announced that Venceslau, after years 
of frustrated attempts, had finally been issued a visa for 
entry into the United States. Venceslau was quoted as saying, 
"I never have had a great love for the United States," but 
that he had always had an interest in seeing the life and 
culture in the cities of New York, Chicago, and New Orleans. 
Venceslau said he had tried three time in the last four 
decades to get a visa at the Consulate in Sao Paulo but was 
denied for being considered "a terrorist." Venceslau told the 
paper that he immediately told old friends about his 
"victory," including fellow kidnappers Fernando Gabeira (a 
federal deputy from Rio de Janeiro) and Franklin Martins 
(Lula,s Minister of Social Communications at the 
presidency). Gabeira claimed to also have tried repeatedly, 
but with no success, to obtain a visa and celebrated 
Venceslau,s news by saying "this shows that the United 
States is looking forward, leaving behind the animosities of 
the past century" and joked "I thought this would only happen 
with the President serving during the 100th anniversary of 
the kidnapping." Martins said that while he is not 
considering applying for a visa right now, he will consider 
the idea. One article reports that Venceslau is due to 
receive his passport and visa this week and that Venceslau is 
not worried since "Obama just received the Nobel Peace prize. 
It would look bad if he cancelled my passport." Another 
newspaper reported Venceslau as saying "my only fear is that 
there was been a mistake and that the Consulate will cancel 
my visa. I would like to listen to jazz in Chicago but I 
don,t believe in miracles." 
 
-------------------------------------- 
THE 1969 U.S. AMBASSADOR KIDNAPPING AND PERPETRATORS 
-------------------------------------- 
 
5. (U) U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Charles Elbrick was 
kidnapped on September 4, 1969 by a Brazilian guerilla group 
named Dissidencia Comunista Universitaria da Guanabara 
(Communist Dissidence of the University of Guanabara) DI/GB. 
Their goal, in which they succeeded, was to exchange the U.S. 
Ambassador for the release of 15 political prisoners detained 
by the military government then in power. One of the 15 
 
BRASILIA 00001239  002.2 OF 004 
 
 
prisoners released was Brazilian President Lula,s former 
Chief of Staff, Jose Dirceu, who served under the first Lula 
administration but had to resign after his involvement in the 
"mensalao" (vote-buying) scandal in the Congress. During the 
kidnapping, in an attempt to humiliate the military, they 
called themselves the MR-8, which was a guerilla group the 
military had recently boasted in the press it had 
extinguished. They chose the U.S. Ambassador because he 
represented "imperialist and North-American interests in our 
country." Ambassador Elbrick was released on September 7 
having suffered minor head trauma from being pistol whipped 
during the kidnapping. 
 
6. (S//NF) According to press reports and FBI archive 
records, Paulo de Tarso Venceslau helped plan the details of 
the kidnapping, was one of the passengers in the vehicle used 
to block the Ambassador,s car, subdued the Ambassador,s 
driver, and was one of the kidnappers who boarded the 
Ambassador,s vehicle and took him into hiding. While the 
Ambassador was held, Venceslau helped put together the list 
of 15 political prisoners the group demanded be released. On 
October 1, 1969 Venceslau was caught and imprisoned, without 
trial, for his involvement in the kidnapping, according to 
press reports.  He was released in December 1974. Since 
leaving prison he has been a leader in the PT (Worker,s 
Party), worked for the city of Sao Paulo, and secretary for 
the mayor,s office of Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, and 
Campinas. He is currently a businessman in the field of 
communications. Venceslau was also put in jail for two to 
three days in September 1966 for participating in illegal 
student protests, according to press reports. 
 
7.  (S//NF) Most of the 12 kidnappers were convicted and 
imprisoned within one year of the kidnapping. Following is 
information available to post on the other identified 
kidnappers and drawn from press reports and FBI archive 
records: 
 
-- Franklin de Souza Martins: Was one of the chief architects 
of the kidnapping plot. Two months after the kidnapping he 
fled to Cuba for guerilla training and only returned to 
Brazil in 1973. He was never imprisoned. He is currently 
serving in the Lula administration as the Minister of Social 
Communications in the presidency, and has been discussed in 
the press as a close advisor to Dilma Rousseff in her 
anticipated run for the presidency next year. Based on 
personal interest from President Lula, the Brazilian Ministry 
of Foreign Relations (MRE) has intervened on his behalf in an 
attempt to secure Martins a visa for entry into the United 
States. 
 
-- Cid Queroz Benjamin: Was one of the kidnappers in the car 
that blocked the Ambassador,s vehicle. He was imprisoned in 
April of 1970; he only served two months because he was 
released as part of an exchange for the kidnapped German 
Ambassador. 
 
-- Vera Silvia Araujo de Magalhaes: Seduced the chief of 
security at the Ambassador,s residence to obtain information 
about the Ambassador,s car and schedule. She was imprisoned 
in February of 1970 and was released four months later as 
part of an exchange of the kidnapped German Ambassador. 
 
-- Fernando Gabeira: Rented the house in which the Ambassador 
was hidden during the kidnapping. He wrote the document that 
was left in the Ambassador,s car after the kidnapping. He 
was in the house when the Ambassador was brought there and 
took the Ambassador,s messages to his wife and delivered the 
list of the 15 political prisoners demanded in the exchange 
for the Ambassador. He was shot by police and imprisoned in 
January of 1970. He was also released during the exchange for 
the kidnapped German Ambassador. Gabeira, who has publicly 
repudiated his role in the kidnapping and has been critical 
of hostage-taking by the FARC, is a prominent federal deputy 
from Green Party in Rio de Janeiro. 
 
-- Manoel Cyrillo de Oliveira Netto: Was the second in 
command of the kidnapping operation and was one of the 
subjects who physically kidnapped the Ambassador in his car. 
He was imprisoned on September 31, 1969 and spent 10 years in 
jail. 
 
-- Sergio Rubens de Araujo Torres: Drove the car that 
followed and help trap the Ambassador,s car. 
 
-- Joao Lopes Salgado: Was never imprisoned but lived in 
exile outside of Brazil until 1980. He provided cover for the 
 
BRASILIA 00001239  003.2 OF 004 
 
 
vehicles that were used in the kidnapping. 
 
-- Claudio Torres da Silva: Drove all of the vehicles used to 
transport the kidnapped Ambassador, both during the 
kidnapping and for his release. He was the first of the 
kidnappers to be caught and jailed on September 9, 1969, and 
was released in 1977. 
 
-- Jose Sebastiao Rios de Moura: Was the watchman during the 
kidnapping who signaled the Ambassador,s departure from his 
residence. He went into exile and only returned to Brazil in 
1980. In 1983 he was shot dead by two men in suits and hats 
on his way 
home. 
 
-- Joaquim Camara Ferreira: Was the chief negotiator with the 
government during the kidnapping and stayed the entire time 
in the house with Ambassador Elbrick. He was imprisoned on 
October 24, 1970 and died hours later while being tortured. 
 
-- Virgilio Gomes da Silva: Served as the chief commander of 
the kidnapping operation. He was caught on September 29, 1969 
and died the following day during a torture session. 
 
-------------------------------------- 
POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS AND REQUEST FOR ACTION 
-------------------------------------- 
8. (C) CG Sao Paulo and Embassy Brasilia are in contact 
separately with CA regarding the technical and legal aspects 
of potential ineligibilities. CG Sao Paulo has an appointment 
to interview Venceslau regarding these ineligibilities, and 
particularly to verify reports (not officially confirmed) 
that he was arrested and convicted of the crime, which he did 
not acknowledge on his visa application (Note: In an initial 
conversation with CG Sao Paulo on October 14, Venceslau 
claimed that, as his crime was "political," he was not 
obligated to do so "under Brazilian law."  End note.)  If 
available information is correct, at a minimum he appears to 
be ineligible under Section 212(a)(2)(A)(i) for Conviction of 
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude, as well as 6C1 for 
misrepresenting a material fact. Other ineligibilities may 
apply. 
 
9. (C) Beyond the question of ineligibilities, Mission sees 
broader implications resulting from a decision to either 
cancel the visa with no additional action, or to pursue a 
waiver.  In our view, a minimum bar for granting Venceslau a 
waiver would be public repudiation of the crime and of 
kidnapping as a tactic.  We have no evidence that Venceslau 
has made such a renunciation and would have to seek it from 
him.  Assuming he were amenable to such a renunciation, 
issuance of a visa to Venceslau upon receipt of a waiver 
would set a precedent related to other kidnappers, at least 
two of whom (Gabeira and Martins) are likely to apply in the 
near future.  While Gabeira has publicly renounced kidnapping 
as a form of expression and has criticized the FARC for 
engaging in kidnapping, Martins has pointedly refused to 
express remorse for his actions, explaining that they were in 
the context of a worthy political struggle.  Mission also 
sees potential implications in issuing the visa for broader 
U.S. policy and messaging on terrorism, especially with 
regard to USG officials. 
 
10. (C) At the same time, with the new U.S. Administration, 
both Brazilian officials and the public are considering new 
possibilities for bilateral relations.  President Obama,s 
statements at the April Summit of the Americas regarding his 
desire to build a new relationship with Latin America that 
looks forward, rather than backward, resonated strongly in 
Brazil.  Although cancelation of his visa will be 
straightforward as a consular matter, it is likely to 
generate significant negative press that calls into question 
whether U.S. policy toward Latin America has changed, and to 
have repercussions in official circles where a number of 
senior officials and elite are linked to the case either 
directly (e.g., Gabeira and Martins) or indirectly (e.g., 
Human Rights Minister Paulo Vannuchi, who is linked with 
Venceslau as a political prisoner, and senior PT official 
Jose Direceu, who was released by the military government as 
a result of the kidnapping).  When considered with the fact 
that 40 years has passed since the kidnapping and the 
political nature of the opposition to the military regime, 
these factors suggest pursuing a waiver of ineligibilities as 
a way to promote a forward-looking bilateral relationship. 
 
11. (C) Action request: In light of the political and media 
sensitivities, Mission requests guidance from the Department 
 
BRASILIA 00001239  004.2 OF 004 
 
 
on an urgent basis, and ideally prior the October 19 meeting 
with Venceslau, as to whether to initiate discussions with 
Venceslau that might allow for a recommendation to waive 
ineligibilities. 
KUBISKE