Brazil: Bolsonaro’s Ex-Wife Denies Document Claiming He Threatened Her Life, Runs for Office with His Last Name

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Doctors say Brazil’s presidential frontrunner, conservative Jair Bolsonaro, should be out of the hospital by Friday, where he has been recovering for weeks after an assassination attempt. This week, however, he has been battling the publication of a diplomatic cable claiming his ex-wife accused him of threatening to kill her.

The left-leaning Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo published a report this week claiming to include a private diplomatic cable in which members of Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Ministry – often referred to by the name of its headquarters, Itamaraty – made a note that Ana Cristina Siqueira Valle had left the country after Bolsonaro threatened to kill her and that she was considering seeking asylum in Norway. The cable is dated 2011; at the time, Bolsonaro and Valle were dissolving their marriage and had not resolved the issue of custody of their youngest child, Renan.

“Ms. Ana Cristina Siqueira Valle said she left Brazil two years ago [in 2009] ‘because she received death threats’ from the child’s father [Bolsonaro]. She thought that this fact could be grounds for political asylum in this country [Norway],” the document reads.

The file is signed by the then-Brazilian ambassador to Norway, Carlos Henrique Cardim.

Folha added that there is evidence that, at the time, Bolsonaro attempted to use connections at the Foreign Affairs Ministry to contact his ex-wife abroad and learn about his child, which would violate the ministry’s typical refusal to meddle in civilians’ personal affairs.

Cardim, who allegedly signed the document, confirmed that it was legitimate to O Globo, another Brazilian newspaper, in an article published Tuesday. He told the outlet that he merely wrote down the facts as presented to him.

“In the telegram is written just that: an official with the ministry spoke to the wife of the lawmaker, Ana Cristina. He narrated the death threat and possible asylum request situation. Consular issues have a routine. We treat all Brazilians equally. We register the facts and people figure out what they are going to do in cases like this,” Cardim said. “The embassy is not a police station.”

Despite Cardim’s confirmation, the woman at the center of the allegation denies that it ever happened. Valle – who is running for a legislative seat still using the married name Bolsonaro, though not in the same political party as him – published a video on social media insisting that her ex-husband never threatened her.

“I come to you here very indignant to deny what was written in Folha de Sao Paulo,” she says in the video. “They published that Jair threatened to kill me. Never! That’s the father of my children, my ex-husband. He is very beloved, by me and by everyone.”

Valle goes on to insist that Bolsonaro “does not have the temperament to do such a thing” and state that she supports his presidential run and expects him to win the presidential election in the first round. To become president, a candidate must receive at least 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate does so, a run-off election is held between the top two vote-getters.

The revelation could harm Bolsonaro’s lead in the upcoming elections, scheduled for October 7. An Ibope firm poll released on Wednesday found that Bolsonaro was leading all other candidates with 27 percent of the vote, but has a 52 percent unfavorable rating among women, an 11-point increase from a month ago.

Folha noted that Bolsonaro did not respond to a request for comment on the Valle story. The candidate has been in Sao Paulo recovering from an assassination attempt since September 6, when a man identified as a longtime socialist ran up to the candidate at a campaign event and stabbed him in the torso. Bolsonaro lost about 40 percent of his blood in that attempt and was subject to multiple surgeries to repair his digestive tract. He is expected to be released by Friday, leaving him available to participate in upcoming presidential debates.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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