Bolsonaro flies to Florida in last days as president of Brazil, stoking speculation

Jair Bolsonaro
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, center, poses for a selfie with a supporter as he campaigns for reelection at the rural workers’ settlement New Jerusalem, in Brasilia, Brazil, on Oct. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Bolsonaro flies to Florida in last days as president of Brazil, stoking speculation

Video Embed

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly flown to Florida in his last days in office, stirring speculation.

Brazil has been in a state of high tension for nearly two months after left-wing politician Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was declared the victor of the presidential election. Many of Bolsonaro’s supporters openly called for a military coup, with large crowds of Bolsonaristas protesting outside of military barracks, urging them to seize power in Bolsonaro’s favor.

However, on Thursday, Bolsonaro ruled out the use of military force and condemned any violent demonstrations in a teary farewell address, the Washington Post reported. He has since apparently left for Florida, spending his last full day in office abroad. He will be the first Brazilian president to skip the inauguration of his successor, at which the outgoing president traditionally hands over the presidential sash to his replacement.

BRAZIL’S LULA WILL POSE CHALLENGES FOR THE US

Bolsonaro’s flight to Florida was apparently confirmed by Flight Aware: Forca Aerea Brasileira, Brazil’s Air Force One, was tracked landing in Orlando, Florida. His security detail was also seen getting situated in Florida.

The reason for Bolsonaro’s Florida trip is not known, but two major theories are being put forward.

The first is that he is planning to go into exile in the United States. On Jan. 1, his presidential immunity will expire, leaving him open to prosecution on a litany of charges. Two members of his inner circle told the New York Times in October that the president expressed fears that he may be sent to prison once his immunity expires. Bolsonaro’s administration faces accusations of embezzling public funds, the theft of staff wages, and mishandling COVID-19 — with some lawmakers even calling for charging him with crimes against humanity for his response.

The second is that he is meeting with former president and longtime ally Donald Trump. Bolsonaro’s allies met with Trump aides in the U.S. in the days after Lula was declared the victor, and the president’s son Eduardo Bolsonaro met with Trump personally at Mar-a-Lago last month, the Washington Post reported. One rumor is that Jair Bolsonaro is looking to attend Trump’s New Year party at Mar-a-Lago, according to the Sunday Times.

Despite Bolsonaro’s apparent retreat, tensions remain high in Brazil. Authorities fear that die-hard Bolsonaro supporters will resort to violence at the Jan. 1 inauguration, an event expected to be attended by nearly half a million Lula supporters. An army of 8,000 police officers is providing security for the event.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

A supporter of Bolsonaro was arrested last week after being caught planting a bomb near an airport gas tanker. He admitted to attempting to stir chaos in order to force a military intervention, the Washington Post reported. Bolsonaro condemned the attempted violence.

“Nothing justifies this attempted terrorist act here in Brasilia airport,” he said. “[Have] Intelligence. Let’s show we are different from the other side, that we respect the norms and the Constitution.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles