Photo: Sen. Roger Pinto
Sen. Roger Pinto arrived in Brazil this week after spending more than 450 days holed up at the Brazilian Embassy in La Paz, where he went in May 2012 seeking asylum.
The Bolivian was taken to the Brazilian city of Corumba by land in a diplomatic car escorted by Brazilian soldiers.
“A civilized, democratic country protects exiles, to whom it must guarantee security and above all their personal safety,” Rousseff told reporters here Tuesday, adding that sneaking Pinto out of Bolivia without a safe-conduct from the Bolivian government “could put his life in danger.”
Pinto’s escape from Bolivia, with the obvious complicity of Brazil, has shaken relations between the neighbors and allies and led Monday to the resignation of Brazil’s foreign minister, Antonio Patriota.
The charge d’affaires at Brazil’s embassy in La Paz, Eduardo Saboia, said he collaborated with Pinto’s escape for “humanitarian reasons.”
Saboia said that he opted to protect someone who was “politically persecuted” and that he compared to Rousseff, who was jailed and tortured during Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
Bolivia is governed by a popularly elected president.
“I felt as if the DOI-Codi (a torture center under the Brazilian junta) was next to my office,” Saboia said with reference to Pinto’s plight in the Brazilian Embassy.
Rousseff reacted Tuesday to the comparison with absolute indignation.
“I was in the DOI-Codi. I knew what the DOI-Codi was and I can assure you the Brazilian Embassy in La Paz is as far from the DOI-Codi as heaven is from hell. Literally,” the visibly irritated president said.