Bolsonaro Plans to Return to Brazil in March to Lead Opposition – But Has Renewed His US Visa Just in Case

It didn’t take long for former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to flee to Florida after leftist leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won — but only by the skin of his teeth — the presidential race. He left on December 30th, days before Lula was sworn into office, and the former president has been mostly, if not strangely, quiet since.

Taking a break from this quiet life in Florida, Bolsonaro told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he’s planning to fly back home in March. The right-wing leader wants to return to take the reigns of the political opposition to Lula’s government and also defend himself from allegations that he stirred up the January 8 attacks in Brazil’s government buildings.

“Coup? What coup? Where was the commander? Where were the troops? Where were the bombs?” he said of the accusations. He has also condemned, just ever so lightly, the events of January 8, and called the actions of his supporters “regrettable.”


Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been staying in Orlando, Fla., told WSJ he will defend himself against accusations he was behind riots that damaged government buildings in January. In his first interview since leaving Brazil for Florida late last year after a narrow election loss to leftist President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro said he is innocent of any wrongdoing and said he welcomed an investigation of the January events. #brazil #bolsonaro #jairbolsonaro #lula #wsj #wallstreetjournal #thewallstreetjournal

♬ original sound – The Wall Street Journal

The former Brazilian strongman, who has been called ‘Tropical Trump,’ has appeared to have emulated much of the former US president’s reaction to his own loss, from undermining the elections, refusing to concede, down to the insurrection.

“I’m not saying there was fraud, but the process was biased,” and like the former US president, he has yet to provide proof. 

His connection to the January 8 attacks is just one of the probes waiting for him back home. Bolsonaro fled Brazil on the advice of his lawyers over the threat of a looming arrest. Without his presidential immunity, he faces a host of investigations from his time as president, including one on his handling of the pandemic, which Lula called a “genocide” that killed more than 680,000 Brazilians. 

The former president is in the US on a special diplomatic visa reserved for heads of state. This visa would have already expired at the end of January, 30 days after his presidential term ended. It was earlier reported that he applied for a six-month visitor visa, although it’s unclear whether his application has been approved. The process typically takes months, which probably explains the March target for his return to Brazil. His supporters will have to wait and see.

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