Former President Bolsonaro Returns to Brazil

March 30, 2023

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro returned to his home country Thursday after spending three months in Florida.

The government mobilized hundreds of police officers as hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters awaited his return in the capital city of Brasilia, where the far-right former leader is the subject of several investigations.  

Bolsonaro left Brazil just before the end of his presidential term. In so doing, he broke with tradition by declining to hand the presidential sash to his successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who defeated Bolsonaro during elections in October. Lula was sworn in on January 2.

In the immediate aftermath of Lula’s inauguration, hundreds of rioting Bolsonaro supporters were arrested after storming government buildings in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro has denounced the rioters’ actions, saying that while peaceful and lawful demonstrations were part of democracy, “depredations and invasions of public buildings…escape the rule.” 

Despite being under investigation Bolsonaro is seeking a new role in politics as he returns to Brazil. This is the first time in 30 years that he has not held some sort of political office in his home country.

“I’m without a mandate, but I’m not retired,” Bolsonaro told a Brazilian television network on Monday. However, before getting on a flight in Orlando, Florida, he told CNN he had no plans to lead the political opposition to Lula—an assertion that his allies don’t believe.

The investigations against Bolsonaro include looking into whether he incited the riots back in January. 

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