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

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The Brazilian ambassador to Angola denies the existence of cases of corruption linked to the issuing of visas and has announced that a general consulate will reopen “soon” to deal with “the explosion” of requests, which have increased fivefold in a year.

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

Many applicants complain of excessive bureaucracy and delays, leading them to resort to intermediaries, but Rafael Vidal believes that this is not a problem for the embassy, as “it is impossible for human and physical resources to grow at the same pace” as demand.

The Brazilian embassy currently has consular services, but the diplomat admits that the reopening of a new consulate general, already announced by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, could take place later this year.

Rafael Vidal said that measures have been implemented to facilitate the flow of applications, with daily limits having been set to deal with applicants and prevent passports from being held up.

“We had as many as 14,000,” he says, adding that all of them have now been handed in and that to avoid passports being held up, scheduling has become the “gateway” for applicants, with around 50 being seen a day.

Although he admits that appointments are still taking a long time, Rafael Vidal says that it’s not the embassy’s fault, but rather the “explosion in demand for visas to Brazil”.

According to the diplomat, the country has been increasingly sought after because it meets the needs of health, education, work and improved living conditions, but also because “the rest of the world is closing its doors”.

“Other countries that could be destinations, such as the USA and Portugal, for example, don’t have the same ease of issuing visas,” he said, pointing out that a tourist visa (granted for two years) only requires proof of income and valid documents.

The main type of visa applied for is tourist visas (90%), followed by student visas.

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

“As far as the embassy is concerned, there is no extra payment, the embassy is shielded. On the street, we don’t know what happens, it could be that the famous ‘mixeiros’ deceive the unwary and offer services for money to speed up visas, it’s possible that intermediaries, travel agencies do it, we have no way of acting on this,” he says.

The ambassador considers it “very irresponsible” to use the word corruption in connection with these cases, as he believes that this concept refers to the involvement of state agents.

“And we don’t have state agents offering expedited services. Those who do are the notorious ‘mongers’ who charge money with the promise of getting a visa faster,” insists the diplomat, who warns that many intermediaries present falsified documents that lead to visas being refused, and that users are “duped”.

Around 60% of visa applications are not approved, and of these, almost 80% are not granted due to non-compliance with the documents, while the rest are refused because they are linked to serious irregularities such as forgery or fraud, which prevent applications for a new visa for five years.

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

Last week, Omunga denounced the existence of alleged corruption schemes and influence peddling to obtain visas at the Brazilian Embassy in Luanda, after its executive director, João Malavindele, was unable to board a flight to the South American country to take part in a meeting of the Lusophone Anti-Corruption Network (RedGov).

“Mr. Malavindele (Omunga’s executive director) was waiting to be contacted by the embassy and we can’t contact thousands of citizens (…) in his case, fortunately, we kept the appointment and he didn’t pay anything,” says the diplomat, suggesting a miscommunication.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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