Former President Bolsonaro remains in Florida with no return date to Brazil | International

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets with supporters in Orlando, Florida on January 4, 2023.
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets with supporters in Orlando, Florida on January 4, 2023.Skyler Swisher (AP)

Michelle Bolsonaro, wife of the former president of Brazil, landed Thursday night in Brasilia without her husband, who remains in a borrowed villa in Florida on the eve of a month after his departure and the end of his term. The far-right Jair Bolsonaro remains silent about his future and has not given a return date. Meanwhile, the investigation opened against him by the Supreme Court for encouraging the assault on the political and judicial heart of Brazil on January 8 has not produced any relevant news. The trickle of arrests for the coup attempt continues and more than 1,000 people remain in prison. Among the suspects police are looking for, a Bolsonaro nephew known as Leo, The Indianwho participated in the attack and took a selfie right there.

Bolsonaro, who initially traveled with the intention of staying a month in Florida, has not detailed his plans in public for now. Among multiple speculations and anonymous sources that assure that he has asked his host to stay until after Carnival, his eldest son, Senator Flávio Bolsonaro, has delved into uncertainty: “There is no forecast, he is the one who knows. It may be tomorrow, in six months, he may never come back. I don’t know ”, he declared this Saturday.

The head of the Bolsonaro patriarch’s party, Valdemar Costa Neto, instead expects an immediate return. “The other day he sent me an audio saying that he returns at the end of the month (January),” said the president of the Liberal Party this Friday in an interview with the newspaper or globe. The Brazilian commentators did not quite believe it. And the leader of the acronym that Bolsonaro joined to contest re-election admits that he speaks little with him. Costa Neto considers it essential that he appear in Brazil to lead the opposition to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the leftist who presides over a coalition government.

The former president’s intestinal problems are one of the reasons that could speed up his return given that he suffered a new crisis that forced him to go to the hospital in the United States.

This Monday marks one month since Bolsonaro settled in the city of Kissimmee (Florida), two days before the end of his term, on January 1. He then lost the immunity that the reserve soldier has enjoyed for three decades thanks to successive elected officials. He is still on American soil, leading the life of an ordinary citizen. He has been seen in some hamburger joint with his wife and in the supermarket. Little more. At first, he would stop to chat with fans at the door of the house where he is staying, owned by a Brazilian who was a professional wrestler.

He has made few public statements in these weeks. After thousands of his followers forcibly invaded the Presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court in Brasilia, he issued a timid condemnation: “Peaceful demonstrations, according to the law, are part of democracy. However, the depredations and invasions of public buildings such as those that occurred today (due to January 8), as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, are beyond the rule.” A video that questioned Lula’s victory, posted on his networks after the coup attempt, is the main reason why Bolsonaro was included in the investigation for instigating the coup attack. He has defended himself with the argument that he has always acted “within the four lines of the Constitution.”

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Three months after a defeat that he has never explicitly acknowledged, it is clear that Bolsonaro has abdicated his role of leading the opposition despite the enormous political capital gained in the elections, which he lost by less than two points. The violent assault by thousands of his supporters, whom he encouraged to believe his election was stolen, has further complicated his future. He is under investigation in a handful of cases, including some due to the pandemic.

One of the three sons he has in politics, Carlos, is also in the US, according to the Brazilian press. Investigated for directing the Bolsonaro disinformation machine, he awaits his position as councilor in Rio de Janeiro. His brothers are summoned to take possession of their seats in Brasilia next Wednesday, Flavio as senator, and Eduardo as deputy. The election of the presidents of the two Chambers will allow us to glimpse that day of the balance of power between Lula and Bolsonaro in Congress.

There is no news that the Brazilian far-right has been seen in recent weeks with former President Donald Trump, a regular presence in Florida. Nor has he met with Brazilian allies who have dropped by Florida taking advantage of the New Year holidays.

One of them, his former Justice Minister, Anderson Torres, was arrested six days after the assault on the powers that be, upon landing in Brasilia. Torres, who was in charge of public security in Brasilia, was in Florida the day of the invasion of the buildings. Accused of “intentional collusion” with the assailants, Bolsonaro’s former minister left his cell phone in the US and since he is in pretrial detention he has not opened his mouth.

The police found a draft presidential decree at Torres’ house to intervene in the Supreme Court after the elections and reverse the October result. Costa Neto, the head of his party, said in the aforementioned interview that there were proposals for coup decrees “at the house of the whole world.” He recounts that he himself received proposals: “I was careful to shred them. I saw that the conditions were not met, and Bolsonaro did not want to do anything outside the law.

The extreme rightist went abroad to avoid participating in the ceremony of transfer of power to Lula. He flew as head of state on an Air Force plane, but since January 1 he is an ordinary citizen. Among other things, he has to resolve his immigration status with the US authorities. Those who want to see him in person can pay between 10 and 50 dollars to attend an event in Orlando on Tuesday entitled Great meeting with the captain who has organized a group of fans.

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