Supporters Welcome Bolsonaro Back

Official in new administration calls former president's return to Brazil a 'flop'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 30, 2023 7:00 PM CDT
Bolsonaro's Return Draws Modest Crowd
Supporters of Brazil's former President Jair Bolsonaro shout slogans outside the Liberal Party's headquarters Thursday.   (AP Photo/Gustavo Moreno)

Former President Jair Bolsonaro returned Thursday to Brazil after a three-month stint in Florida following his election loss, and the right-wing populist told supporters he doesn't think leftists will be in power in Brazil for long. Bolsonaro, who is the subject of several investigations that could stymie any attempts at a political comeback, arrived in the capital under tight security. Authorities sought to avoid any repeat of Jan. 8 events when supporters who didn't accept his defeat stormed government buildings. Police in Brasilia blocked the main artery to those buildings, the AP reports.

Hundreds of supporters dressed in Brazil's national colors of yellow and green chanted for Bolsonaro as they awaited his arrival, but his return did not draw the huge crowds many of his allies had expected. That appeared to please his opponents; President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's minister of institutional relations, Alexandre Padilha, called the reception a "flop." The former president said in his first speech after touching down that his leftist successor and his allies "will not do whatever they want to the fate of our nation," and added that the left will only keep power "for now, for a little while."

Speaking in front of a banner that read "today Brazil woke up stronger," Bolsonaro said he would spend as much time as necessary at the headquarters of his Liberal Party to help the campaign for next year's municipal races, when the country elects 5,500 mayors nationwide. "I am coming here in the position of an elder, an experienced person who will be consulted by whomever wishes. I will give opinions," he said. Bolsonaro left Brazil just before the end of his term. While in the US, Bolsonaro mostly kept a low profile, though he delivered several speeches. The Brazilian leader said his three months in Florida had helped give him a vision for the future. "Everything we saw there is what we want to implement here. The most important thing is liberty," he said.

(More Jair Bolsonaro stories.)

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