AndreSurfer

Beyond the News

Claudia Hoerig case: the view of a Brazilian living abroad

Today I came across an article on a Brazilian website informing that the US Congress has approved an amendment to freeze all permanent visas to my countrymen/women due to a case that might shake the diplomatic relationship between the two countries; and this does not make me happy.

Claudia Hoerig is suspected of killing her husband Karl Hoerig, an American veteran who fought the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. She would have clipped three bullets on him in 2007 and flew to Brazil on the same day by using his military credentials. Now, because the Brazilian government does not allow extradition, Claudia cannot be taken on court in the US and is freely living in Brazil.

São Paulo

São Paulo, a city with over 10 million inhabitants; Claudia flew here in 2007 after the death of her husband         Photo: Andre M. Pinto

After going through the entire article, which describes the Democrat Senator Tim Ryan as the leader of this amendment, I immediately wanted to ask him if he would fight on the same way to extradite Amanda Knox to Italy for a second trial on court. Knox’s lawyers defend her by saying that she cannot go back because the US government does not allow a retrial, so the local constitution is on her side and end of story.

Brazilian government is playing the same game; however, there is one small important detail in Claudia’s case: she is an American citizen. Hence, US are looking for an American abroad and not a Brazilian in Brazil!

I am not a lawyer, but as far as I know Brazilians cannot have two citizenships, so she would have opted to refuse her Brazilian one in order to become an American. Neither I do not know exactly how far she went on this process (perhaps she still an American resident without citizenship), but my feeling is that there is something very wrong in this story.

I do not believe that the Brazilian government will make any changes in the current laws to send her back to the US (although as a Brazilian I must agree that our laws are quite outdated), neither I believe that they will make any exemptions here; however, forbid Brazilians to get a Visa in the US is a bit too rush. How about if the American Congress pushes the President Barack Obama or the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss this issue directly with Brazilian President Dilma Roussef? Both ladies are 4th and 2nd, consecutively, most powerful women in the world and could sort this problem diplomatically, without retaliations which will only negatively affect the citizens of both countries.

Nevertheless, it seems like that who will again pay for the dishonesty of a few is the majority of people who, in this case, simply want their right to live their lives wherever they think is better for them! And this is not fair!

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36 comments on “Claudia Hoerig case: the view of a Brazilian living abroad

  1. Paul Rafferty
    May 23, 2013

    Reblogged this on ENGLISH LANGUAGE REVIEW 4U.

  2. admadonato
    May 24, 2013

    Great article, Andre! 🙂

  3. Elaine
    May 24, 2013

    I am sorry to correct you, but Brazil allows “dupla cidadania” dual citizenship. I am Brazilian with American Citizenship and know hundreds of other Brazilians with American Citizenship. We come and go to Brazil with our Brazilian passport and have no problems. We are not required to give up our Brazilian Citizenship.

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 24, 2013

      Thank you very much for the information Elaine.

    • Agnes
      May 27, 2013

      Yes, we can have it; but in an American article has she revoked on her Brazilian citizenship for some reason, so she is not Brazilian anymore.

      • Elaine
        May 28, 2013

        They say she revoked but they say that because they think once she acquired the American Citizenship she automatically revoked her Brazilian one. It’s not how it works. To have her Brazilian citizenship revoked she would have had to go to the Brazilian Consulate and sign papers revoking her citizenship, and they would take her Brazilian Passport away from her. Without her Brazilian Passport she wouldn’t even been able go back to Brazil in the first place.

        But the ones who say in the article that she revoked her Brazilian citizenship say that so because that’s what they believe happens once you get the American Citizenship because when we do it we have to say an oath committing ourselves to be loyal to the USA above all other countries. But that does not mean she has to revoke her Brazilian citizenship, or even that she automatically does it by acquiring the American one.

        The only country that tells someone if he or she is allowed to have dual citizenship is the person’s country of birth. Because Brazil allows its citizens to have dual citizenship, she is not obligated to revoke her citizenship when she acquires a new one.

    • James
      June 9, 2013

      That may be so but upon becoming a United States Citizen you do renounce all other citizenship. Claudia committed an act of premeditated murder and it serves neither country to have her running around free. The U.S. has all the right in the world to seek justice for it’s citizens, especially for a decorated war veteran. People here are not worried about a Brazilian’s freedom to come and go, we are worried about justice for our murdered bretheren.

      • lisa
        August 8, 2013

        My cousin Karl is a stranger to you, but he was a son, father, brother, & a friend to many. At the end of the day, it has been 6 years since he has been murdered, by a Brazilian & she has hidden behind your constitution. Many are insulted right now that our government is going to give Brazil a military contract, yet we are not demanding Claudia be returned. Tim Ryan is fighting for our family & for what is right. Murder is murder. I’m surprised you wouldn’t want to rid yourselves of her.

  4. Keegan
    May 24, 2013

    The US Congress hasn’t approved anything. A Committee has accepted it as an amendment to a bill due before the House in June. Even if they choose not to remove the amendment, the Senate may. And of course, if it goes even past that, Obama can decline to sign the bill into law, unless his party’s entire Senate caucus is willing to form a supermajority to pass it anyway. Stupid little things like this show up all the time in American politics, and cannot be seen as likely to pass.

    And from what I’ve found online, if she was naturalized as an American citizen, her Brazilian citizenship could be revoked. But she’d basically have to walk into a consulate and wave her American passport around for anyone to bother doing anything about it.

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 24, 2013

      Thanks Keegan. But I don’t think that these “stupid little things” are that stupid, perhaps the process should be a little faster, it’s true, but it also promotes a better debate around complex topics that involve diplomacy.

      • Keegan
        May 24, 2013

        I didn’t mean to dismiss your concern as “stupid”, but rather, amendments like this as being stupid. And it’s not so much the speed of the process – it’s how the American political system works. Most countries have rules preventing unrelated amendments being added to bills, but the US does not; that’s why this amendment – regarding visa issuance to Brazilian nationals – is being attached to a bill regarding 2014 funding for Homeland Security. The House Representative in question (Tim Ryan) was a member of the Appropriations Committee, so he could tack it onto a completely unrelated bill before it even hits the floor, even though both party’s main representatives in the Homeland Security Subcommittee were basically saying, “this is the worst idea ever”.

        This is a very common tactic by US politicians to say to their electorate, “Look! I’m doing something!” even when the party brass are saying, “this is dumb. Stop it.” (because neither major party wants to antagonize Brazil, and rightfully so). And so these things happen all the time. Every day Congress sits some representative tries to tack on some little amendment to a bigger bill, and it usually gets shut down.

        It’s worth noting Mr. Ryan has been lobbying for this sort of thing for several years now and hasn’t got anywhere with it. There’s a reason for that.

  5. Hundred
    May 24, 2013

    Hillary Clinton não é mais secretária de estado

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 24, 2013

      Hi Shijok, thanks for pointing it out. It is true that Hillary Clinton is no longer Secretary of State for Obama, so I fixed the article. Anyway, she had her chance to work on this case with Dilma Roussef. Sadly she did not.

  6. Rogerio
    May 24, 2013

    Pois é cara, agora os EUA mandarem para o Brasil os pilotos do Legacy para serem presos pois foram condenados, isso eles não fazem.

    “Pimenta é boa, mas nos olhos dos outros”, bando de safados esses Norte Americanos”.

    • pocahontas
      May 26, 2013

      Primeiro foi constatado que foi falha de equipamento pela propria agencia de aviacao brasileira sobre um radar que nao era obrigatorio na epoca, rogerio informe se mais ao inves de dessiminar a ignorancia e sub estima do nosso pais contra o resto do mundo.

    • Elaine
      May 28, 2013

      Tem muita gente usando esse argumento dos pilotos Americanos. Mas os pilotos Americanos NAO tem cidadania Brasileira, entao os EUA tem o direito de protege-los. Ja a Brasileira, tinha a cidadania Americana quando matou o marido, ou seja, os EUA querem que ela, como uma cidada Americana (afinal ela nao foi obrigada a pegar a cidadania Americana, pegou porque quis) seja julgada nos EUA onde ela cometeu o crime. Se fosse uma Brasileira que nao tivesse a cidadania Americana, eu acharia muita cara de pau dos EUA quererem que ela fosse extraditada pra ser julgada aqui nos EUA. Mas ela pegou a cidadania Americana, se tornou uma cidada Americana, se tinha direitos quando morava nos EUA, tb tinha que ter deveres. Fez merda tem que pagar. Poderia muito bem ter fugido do cara pro Brasil sem te-lo matado. Aih ninguem poderia traze-la de volta, nem amarrada. As pessoas estao misturando os casos, sem prestar atencao nos detalhes. Os pilotos Americanos nao tinham cidadania Brasileira. Claudia Hoerig tem a cidadania Americana. Sou super a favor dela ser extraditada e ser juldada nos EUA. Nao importa os motivos dela, ela cometeu um crime. Eu só nao concordo com os meios que o tal senador esta usando para convencer o Brasil a manda-la aqui para os EUA novamente.

      • Andre M. Pinto
        May 29, 2013

        Interessante o seu ponto de vista Elaine. Eu só adicionaria aí o fato de que os pilotos americanos se apresentaram à Justiça brasileira e foram liberados pela própria dois meses depois. Eles não saíram fugidos.

  7. > “although as a Brazilian I must agree that our laws are quite outdated”

    Why is it outdated? And if so, compared to what? to the US laws? You obviously don’t know there are thousands upon thousands of outdated laws still in books in the US (i.e. laws criminalizing fornication, sodomy, adultery, just to mention a few) that are sometimes applied randomly and capriciously by District Attorneys across the US. A Google search on this topic may help educate you!

    As for the extradition rules, it is in the Brazilian constitution, pal… and written specifically to protect Brazilian citizens!!! It is wrong to dismiss it as “outdated”. If you disagree with the Brazilian constitution, you offered no coherent argument in your post that supports your thesis.

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 24, 2013

      I can’t talk about American laws, I don’t know them! However, Brazilian Constitution was established in 1988 when the country was going through huge political instability. Several laws from dictatorship period still valid until today, should we wait another century to make changes on that? Regards the extradition, I don’t complaint about the law, I just said that Claudia is an American citizen, so US are looking for an American, not a Brazilian. Don’t you think it should be taken in consideration?

      • Elaine
        May 28, 2013

        Exactly. Very different from the Pilots’ case. They were no Brazilian Citizens, so the USA has the right to protect them. Claudia, on the other hand, chose to become an American citizen (even though she DID NOT revoke her Brazilian citizenship like many Americans are saying). It doesn’t matter that she still has her Brazilian citizenship, she is also an American Citizen who should pay for her crime and follow American constitution. Since she was living in America and committed the crime there (being an American citizen) she should be extradited.

    • James
      June 9, 2013

      The laws you mentioned above are no longer enforced and rarely were in the past. Protecting murders are in NO ONES best interest. Fornication is not in the penal code in any state that I’m aware of and sodomy is only enforced in the context of forcible sodomy ( a form of rape). I am willing to bet this silly Brazilian law has even resulted in the loss of a few honest Brazilian citizens who were victimized by the savages this law “protects”. People are treating this like a soccer game, one team against another and it’s not. This is about the intentional destruction of human life, if this was a person hiding Claudia they would be charged with aiding and abetting a fugitive. Think humanity, not one country against another.

      • lisa
        August 8, 2013

        well said james!! in what country is it “legal” to murder?? it’s outrageous when it is your family!! that is what makes the difference for us!!

  8. Ana Maria Campregher
    May 24, 2013

    Barsileiros podem manter2 cidadanias

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 24, 2013

      Thank you Ana. I’m running further researches on that and will come back to talk about it soon. Here in the Czech Republic my dual citizenship was refused!

    • Nereida Luz Brown
      May 29, 2013

      Sim, Ana Maria. Exceto se decidirem trabalhar no FBI êles tem que renunciar a cidadania brasileira.

  9. lisa
    May 25, 2013

    Brazilian law, as it stands now, makes it very dangerous for “any” US citizen. That, I believe, is the point. I have several Brazilian friends. Karl was also my cousin. I don’t want my friends to not be able to come to the US to visit, I just think Claudia, who killed my cousin, should have to come back to stand trial.

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 25, 2013

      Thanks Lisa. Hope your family will find justice at the end of this battle!

  10. Liz
    May 25, 2013

    Representative Tim Ryan is not a Republican but a Democrat.

    Brazilians can have dual citizenship – unless the Brazilian citizen is serving or want to serve in the US military or hold a job within the US Federal Government which will involved in revoking his/her Brazilian citizenship.

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 25, 2013

      You are right. Thank you for pointing this out. I already fixed it!

  11. maria campos
    May 25, 2013

    1) (errata)
    Timothy John “Tim” Ryan (born July 16, 1973) is the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 13th congressional district, serving since 2013. From 2003 through January 3, 2013, he represented the Ohio’s 17th congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served in the Ohio Senate.
    (só para esclarecer certos pontos)
    2) (perguntas e) respostas do Ministério das Relações Exteriores

    MRE: O Governo brasileiro recebeu com preocupação a notícia da aprovação, por Comissão da Câmara dos Deputados, da proposta de suspensão da concessão de vistos permanentes para brasileiros. Consideramos a ação descabida, desproporcional e injusta, que atinge cidadãos inocentes e honestos que se submeteram de boa-fé ao processo de solicitação de visto permanente nos EUA. Destoa do processo de aproximação construtiva entre os Presidentes Dilma e Obama.
    É importante notar tratar-se ainda de proposta em tramitação. Todos os esforços diplomáticos possíveis serão realizados para demonstrar aos parlamentares norte-americanos a injustiça da medida e reverter que tema pontual, sob análise do Poder Judiciário brasileiro, cause prejuízos indevidos aos cidadãos brasileiros.

    3) Vice President Biden, Dr. Jill Biden to Travel to Brazil dia 31 de Maio.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/08/vice-president-biden-dr-jill-biden-travel-brazil-colombia-and-trinidad-a

    https://www.facebook.com/Brasil.MRE

    • Andre M. Pinto
      May 25, 2013

      Thank you for your insights Maria. The errata has been fixed!

  12. JR Sousa
    August 6, 2013

    Brazilians can actually hold two citizenships at the same time. I have brazilian and canadian citizenship for example. Some people say that you can even have 3, provided that you don’t tell any of these countries that you do, though I’m not sure about this claim.
    Yes, it’s indeed a shame that Brazil is bending the rules pressured by the american government, americans do that in such an arrogant manner, and it’s not the first time they use this bargain power to their favor.
    Besides, I’m not sure if this lady was being treated well by her american husband, there may have been a bit of desperation in face of abuse and sexual assaults, though I’m just guessing.

    • Andre M. Pinto
      August 6, 2013

      Sousa, thanks for your thoughts and information provided! I do not see the Brazilian government bending to American pressure in this case; and I believe that this sort of “diplomatic” pressure is valid and normal. However, I just think that cracking on all other Brazilians who do not have anything to do with this story is, as you said, a bit arrogant and unfair!

    • lisa
      August 8, 2013

      Her ex-husband was abused by her. I love when people have opinions & don’t know ANY facts!!!

    • James
      August 15, 2013

      Actually it’s Brazil who is arrogant. Brazil is harboring an American fugitive and under it’s own review decided to revocate the citizenship she rejected upon becoming a U.S. citizen. Furthermore, your “guessing” about motivation here is comical. Victims don’t pay for target practice, ask for the best bullets to kill people, add a lazer sight and special grips to a gun while they are panic stricken. In America we call this premeditated murder.

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