After a contentious presidential race – considered by most to be Brazil’s most consequential election in decades – the country’s far-right former President Jair Bolsonaro has chosen to take an unconventional route not to attend at the inauguration of the new president Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva: fleeing the countryside.
Bolsonaro has faced extreme heat in recent years after his COVID denial cost the country thousands of lives. Bolsonaro has undermined efforts by medical and government officials to stop the spread of the virus, following the playbook set out at the start of the pandemic by US President Donald Trump. Bolsonaro’s catastrophic approach to COVID has weakened his approval rating, but left him an ally in the eyes of many in Brazil’s working class, after he fought isolation saying it would hurt the country’s economy.
Bolsonaro faced a close and combative election last fall battling Lula, the country’s longtime leftist former president who was jailed in 2018 on corruption charges. The second round of the Brazilian elections was the subject of voter suppression allegations from the Bolsonaro camp. Even after Lula’s victory was declared, Bolsonaro refused to accept defeat, as protests erupted across the country and voters blocked roads in scenes reminiscent of the US Jan. 6 insurrection.
Bolsonaro now facing multiple government investigations, The New York Times reports that the strongman fled to Orlando, Florida, thousands of miles from the country where a peaceful transition of power was to take place. In a distinctly Floridian move, Bolsonaro is reportedly staying with an MMA fighter and plans to stay there “at least a month.”
After a presidency that has mimicked every calamitous moment of Trump’s tenure, Bolsonaro is getting closer to his favorite political idol. Now that he is no longer president, Bolsonaro’s immunity privileges from prosecution are null and void, and top prosecutors say they believe there is enough evidence from Bolsonaro’s time. as president to aim for a conviction, particularly in a case related to the leaking of classified information about a secret. police investigation into a hacking attack on Brazil’s highest electoral court.
However, the only heat Bolsonaro seems to be feeling right now is the Florida sun. If its time eat at a Florida KFC is an indication, he tries to assimilate as best as possible to the locals.