Bolsonaro returns to Brazil, inspires supporters in political speech at Liberal Party headquarters
Bolsonaro has already begun indicating he is interested in making a comeback by helping the party campaign in local elections next year although he has not indicated he will run for the presidency again
March 31, 2023 9:10am
Updated: March 31, 2023 10:53am
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro returned to Brazil on Thursday after a brief self-imposed exile in the United States, in what appears to be a potential political comeback for his party.
The former president landed in Brasilia on a commercial flight from Florida, where he vacationed for three months in the immediate wake of his post-presidency.
Bolsonaro supporters rushed to show their loyalty to the former president, waving Brazilian flags as they cheered the word “legend,” while the former president was escorted out a side exit to secure transportation.
The landing in Brasilia marks the first time the former president has returned to his home country since his rival President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office and Bolsonaro’s supporters trespassed and damaged buildings in the nation’s government center on Jan. 8.
More than 1,500 people were arrested.
Bolsonaro is currently under investigation by da Silva’s government as prosecutors probe whether or not he incited or conspired with any of the rioters.
Since that day, Brazilian authorities have taken a cue from U.S. Capitol Police and the military by barricading the main esplanade in the capital.
Brazilian authorities, uncertain of how Bolsonaro would be greeted also raised security measures and protocols at the airport for the former president’s return. Local reports indicated a heavy police presence.
Wasting no time on a potential comeback, Bolsonaro sent a clear message to the country and his supporters by taking his car directly to the headquarters of the organization he led, the Liberal Party.
The former president spoke to other Liberal Party politicians and denounced da Silva’s administration, saying: “Those people who are in power now, won't be able to just do what they like.”
Bolsonaro has already begun indicating he is interested in making a comeback by helping the party campaign in local elections next year although he has not indicated he will run for the presidency again.
Other members of his conservative party have also risen in his absence.
The former president originally departed from Brazil on Dec. 30, 2022, two days before da Silva was sworn into office. Asserting that the election was unfair, Bolsonaro avoided a long held tradition in the South American country of handing over the presidential sash to his successor.
The presidential election, which took place Oct. 30 was one of the country’s closest in its electoral history.
Many Brazilians question the election results. While there was widespread speculation as to whether Bolsonaro would use the military to prevent the transition of power, he no such thing and spent his last days mostly avoiding public interaction within the presidential palace.
While investigators have thus far been unable to draw any substantive connection between the Jan. 8 events and the former president, he will be answering a summons next week in an unrelated case as to whether he tried to illegally import jewelry he and his wife were gifted by Saudi Arabia in 2019.
For now, his political party has expressed hope the former president has returned, and Bolsonaro is set to begin helping its rising leaders in upcoming local elections.