The Case of the Terrorist Tourist and the Kidnapped Ambassador

A Wikileaks State Department cable from Brazil highlights a problem found from time to time at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. A terrorist from forty years ago has given up the violence and now has a position as a prominent member of society or the government. It happens. Then, of course, they want to tour the U.S. You know, see Disneyland and stuff. Seriously. They all want to do that for some reason.

Don't jump out of your chair just yet.

At the time of the event, in this case the kidnapping of the American Ambassador to Brazil, the country was being run by a military junta that was torturing and killing thousands of its own citizens. It was a dictatorship. And the United States government supported the Brazilian government, illegal as it was.

The terrorist tourist, Paulo de Tarso Venceslau, had a significant part in the kidnapping of the American Ambassador, Charles Elbrick. Ambassador Elbrick was exchanged successfully for fifteen political prisoners.

After getting caught and put in prison, Mr. Venceslau emerged in 1974 into Brazilian society. "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."

So basically, Mr. Venceslau went straight after he didn't have a dictatorship to fight anymore.

So? Should we let him in to take in Chicago's jazz scene? Read the cable and find out how this issue was analyzed and managed. If you wanted a quick answer without a lot of thinking, then stick to the sports pages. You don't belong in diplomacy. You probably shouldn't even be voting.

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