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Montevideo, May 19th 2022 - 15:08 UTC



Rio demands end of fingerprinting for US tourists

Thursday, January 8th 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Rio do Janeiro fearing an impact on its tourist industry is strongly lobbying for the elimination of a federal court decision instructing Brazilian police to photograph and fingerprint all visiting U.S. citizens.

"We decided to file an appeal before the courts because we're concerned with the negative effects this measure could have on the city's tourism and economy" said Rio de Janeiro's Attorney General Julio Horta. It is estimated that 60% of visitors to Brazil are American.

Last week a federal judge, responding to a petition from a prosecutor from the state of Matto Grosso do Sul, ruled that Brazilian federal police must photograph and fingerprint all U.S. citizens arriving at Brazilian airports, ports and border crossings.

The decision really came as a reaction to the inclusion of Brazil on Washington's list of countries whose citizens face a similar rigorous treatment when entering the US.

The U.S. State Department expressed concern over the delays experienced by US citizens arriving in Brazil, some of them having to stand in queues for almost eight hours.

Mr. Horta acknowledged that the extra security measures imposed on Brazilians at U.S. airports "are not pleasant", but added that Brazil, lacking a good reason for implementing similar measures as well as the infrastructure to apply them, cannot simply respond in kind.

"The US worked on their system for a year, and they use digital equipment. Brazilian tourists are photographed and fingerprinted in less than one minute, while U.S. tourists can be delayed hours in Brazil," admitted Mr. Horta.

Rio, famous for its beaches and Carnival festivities is Brazil's main tourist attraction and 26% of the country's 1.5 million foreign visitors, in 2002, came from the US.

Categories: Mercosur.

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