Jair Bolsonaro returns to Brazil after three months in Florida

Former President Jair Bolsonaro has returned to Brazil after a three-month stay in Florida, seeking a new role on the political scene as authorities in the capital prepare for the return of the far-right populist.

Hundreds of supporters dressed in yellow and green chanted for him as they waited in the capital city of Brasilia, where the far-right leader is the subject of several investigations.

He left Brazil just before the end of his presidential term, breaking with tradition by refusing to hand over the presidential sash to his successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who won the October election in the closest result since Brazil’s return to the democracy for more than three decades. earlier.

Bolsonaro supporters outside the Brasilia International Airport
Bolsonaro supporters outside the Brasilia International Airport (Eraldo Peres/AP)

While in the United States, Bolsonaro kept a low profile, though he made several speeches to Brazilian expatriates and conservatives, including at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

For the first time in 30 years, the lawmaker-turned-president does not hold a popularly elected position.

“I am without a mandate, but I am not retired,” he told the Jovenm Pan television network on Monday.

The Federal District Security Secretariat mobilized hundreds of police officers and the Ministries Esplanade was closed to prevent concentrations of Bolsonaro supporters.

A horde of his supporters stormed and looted the capital’s most important government buildings on January 8, a week after Lula took office, in an effort to overthrow the new president.

Bolsonaro’s goal of regaining political prominence may be hampered by a series of investigations, even if he incited the January 8 uprising.

Recent revelations by the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper regarding three boxes of expensive jewelry allegedly brought to Bolsonaro from Saudi Arabia have exposed the former president to increased legal risk.

CPAC 2024 Election
Jair Bolsonaro speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland (Alex Brandon/AP)

His return to Brazil has been repeatedly delayed and some have speculated that he could postpone it indefinitely in light of his legal problems.

Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of Donald Trump and considered a strategist for the global far-right, told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo this week that Bolsonaro should never have left the country and dismissed the importance of the investigations.

Bolsonaro’s first goal will be to build opposition to Lula’s government, said Mayra Goulart da Silva, a political scientist at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. “Bolsonaro decided to return to Brazil because no clear leader in opposition to the government has emerged.”

Next year’s municipal elections are an important step in gaining political momentum for a potential 2026 presidential bid. Bolsonaro is expected to lend his support to mayoral candidates from his Liberal Party.

In addition to the diamond investigations, Bolsonaro is the subject of a dozen investigations by Brazil’s electoral courts into his actions during last year’s campaign, particularly in connection with his unsubstantiated claims that the electronic voting system was susceptible to fraud.

If he is found guilty in any of those cases, he would lose his political rights and would not be able to run for office in the next election.


Leave a Reply