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Brazilian ambassador to Angola denies corruption linked to visas and announces reopening of the consulate

The Brazilian ambassador to Angola denies the existence of corruption cases linked to the issuance of visas and announced the reopening of a consulate general to respond to “the explosion” of applications.

The Brazilian ambassador in Angola denies the existence of cases of corruption related to the issuance of visas and announced “soon” the reopening of a consulate general to address “the explosion” of applications, which increased fivefold in one year.

In an interview with Lusa, Rafael Vidal confirms that the problem has been growing since the end of the pandemic, with the increase in the number of Angolans who want to travel to Brazil, which has caused the demand for visas to exceed the annual average of 5,000 visas compared to the current 25,000 to 30,000 applications, almost 700% more than in 2022.

Many requests are made of excessive bureaucracy and delays, which lead to intermediaries, but Rafael Vidal considers that this is not a problem of embaixada, since “it is impossible for human and physical resources to grow at the same pace.” search. Currently, the Brazilian embassy has consular services, but the diplomat admits that the reopening of a new consulate general, already announced by the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, could take place at the end of this year.

Rafael Vidal adds that measures were implemented to facilitate the fluidity of applications, establishing daily limits to serve applicants and avoid passport retention. “We reached 14,000,” he says, adding that all of them have already been delivered and that to avoid passport retention, programming became the “entry door” for applicants, serving around 50 per day.

Although he admits that the appointments continue to take time, Rafael Vidal affirms that the fault lies not with the embassy, ​​but with the “explosion of demand [procura] of visas to Brazil.” According to the diplomat, the country is increasingly sought after because it responds to the needs of health, education, work and better living conditions, but also because “the rest of the world is closing its doors.”

“Other countries that could be destinations, such as the US and Portugal, for example, do not have the same facility to issue visas,” he stressed, highlighting that only proof of income is required for a tourist visa (granted for two years). and Valid documents are required. The main type of visa that has been requested is precisely the tourist visa (90%), followed by the student visa.

Asked about allegations of payments for appointments and corruption schemes, recently denounced by the Angolan non-governmental organization Omunga, Rafael Vidal denied the accusations.

“In relation to the embassy there is no extra payment, the embassy is armored. Now on the street we do not know what is happening, it may happen that the famous ‘mixers’ deceive the unsuspecting and offer services in exchange for money to expedite visas, it is possible that intermediaries, travel agencies do this, we have no way to act in this meaning,” he says. The ambassador considers “very irresponsible” the use of the word corruption in relation to these cases, since he considers that this concept refers to the involvement of State agents.

“And we do not have state agents who offer to expedite services. Those who offer it are the famous ‘mixers’ who charge money with the promise of getting the visa faster,” insists the diplomat, who warns that many intermediaries present falsified documents that lead to visa denial, with users being “deceived.”

Around 60% of visa applications are not approved, and of these, around 80% are not granted due to lack of conformity of the documents, while the rest are rejected because they are linked to serious irregularities such as forgeries or fraud, which They prevent applications for a new visa for five years.

As for “other insinuations,” evidence must be presented, Rafael Vidal stressed, pointing out that the embassy maintains an open channel to expedite urgent cases, whether due to health problems or participation in meetings in Brazil that are considered important, as was the case of Omunga, whose appointment was urgently requested.

Last week, Omunga denounced the existence of alleged corruption and influence peddling schemes to obtain visas at the Brazilian embassy in Luanda, after its executive director, João Malavindele, was unable to board the South American country to participate in the meeting. of the Lusofonia Network. to Combat Corruption (Red Government).

“Mr. Malavindele (Omunga’s executive director) was waiting to be contacted by the embassy and we cannot contact thousands of citizens (…) in his case, fortunately, we complied with the appointment and he did not pay anything,” says the diplomat, suggesting a communication failure.

Source: Observadora

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