November 19, 1998

                  Rebel turned congressman may finally get U.S. visa
                  RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- A former rebel who now serves in
                  Brazil's congress may finally be going to the United States, a country that has
                  barred him from its shores.

                  U.S. immigration laws have long blocked Fernando Gabeira from visiting
                  America because he helped orchestrate the kidnapping of a U.S.
                  ambassador in 1969.

                  However, the 57-year-old lawmaker has recently been appointed as a
                  congressional observer to the U.N. General Assembly, which will meet later
                  this month in New York.

                  "It's been a long fight" to gain entry into the United States, Gabeira told The
                  Associated Press. "But this time it will be much more difficult for them to say

                  U.S. Embassy spokesman Terry Davidson said, "Until we receive a visa
                  application from Mr. Gabeira, we have no official position."

                  Gabeira, the lone congressional representative of Brazil's Green Party, says
                  his days of anti-Americanism are long over. "The U.S. government must
                  overcome its incapacity to forget the past," he said.

                  In his latest attempt to get a visa, Gabeira was refused entry in January to
                  attend the New York premiere of "Four Days in September," a movie about
                  the kidnapping of U.S. Ambassador Charles Burke Elbrick.

                  Elbrick, who received a blow to the head, was held for four days and
                  released after the then-military dictatorship allowed 15 political prisoners to
                  be flown out of the country.

                  Gabeira, who was later shot and nearly killed by military agents, was
                  released himself in a prisoner exchange for a kidnapped German
                  ambassador. After spending nine years in exile, he returned to Brazil under a
                  1979 amnesty.

                  Gabeira has made radical changes in his life since his days as a member of
                  the left-wing MR-8, the revolutionary group that nabbed Elbrick as he drove
                  to work.

                  These days, the congressman's fights include saving the Amazon, promoting
                  gay and indigenous rights and legalizing nudity on Brazilian beaches. He now
                  says that "violence is not the right response, under any circumstances."

                  If Gabeira comes for the U.N. meeting, he could be restricted to a 24-mile
                  limit of New York as was Cuban leader Fidel Castro during his last visit to
                  the United Nations, a U.S. official said.

                  Copyright 1998 The Associated Press.