Bolsonaro says he could return to Brazil in coming weeks

BRASILIA, Brazil — Former President Jair Bolsonaro said on Saturday he intended to return to Brazil “in the coming weeks”.

The comment at an event at an evangelical church in Florida was the first time Bolsonaro has made a public statement about coming home.

The far-right politician has been in the United States since arriving in Orlando, Florida on December 31, the day before his leftist rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was inaugurated as Brazil’s current president.

Saturday’s event was held entirely in Portuguese for a Brazilian crowd of Bolsonaro supporters living abroad and was organized by right-wing organization Yes Brazil USA. Bolsonaro received acclaim throughout the event.

There has been speculation in recent weeks about when Bolsonaro could return to Brazil, where he is the subject of several investigations into possible wrongdoing.

He originally entered the United States on a one-month diplomatic visa, which expired on January 31. He was accompanied by a team of presidential advisers and his wife, who all left Florida last month.

Bolsonaro’s lawyers recently told Brazilian media that they applied for a tourist visa to extend his stay in the United States.

Amid speculation over Bolsonaro’s plans, one of his sons, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, told Brazilian reporters he did not know when his father would return. “It could be tomorrow, it could be six months from now, he might never come back. I don’t know. He’s relaxing,” the son said.

For the first time in more than three decades of political career as a lawmaker and then as president, Bolsonaro no longer enjoys the special legal protection that requires any trial to take place before the Supreme Court.

Bolsonaro is being investigated in four inquests, which went to the Supreme Court and were returned to the lower court last week.

Among the investigations is whether Bolsonaro played a role in inciting the Jan. 8 riot by his supporters who stormed into government buildings in the capital, Brasilia, demanding that his electoral defeat against Lula is cancelled.

Investigators are also looking into who organized and financed the mass rally of Bolsonaro supporters, who came to the capital from all over Brazil.

One of the investigations carried out by the Brazilian judiciary is to find out who is responsible for inciting the crimes, as well as who financed people from all over the country to go to Brasilia.


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