The so-called Trump of the Tropics has been in self-imposed exile in the Sunshine State as Brazilian authorities probe his alleged links to rioters who stormed his nation’s Congress on January 8 to protest his election loss.
He spent the early part of last week at an Orlando-area hospital being treated for an ‘intestinal obstruction’ but suggested on social media he would soon return to Brazil, where doctors are more familiar with injuries he suffered when he was stabbed on the campaign trail in 2018.
On Tuesday former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro finally emerged from his comfy bolt-hole in Kissimmee, Florida to meet and greet expat supporters
The handful of loyal supporters – ‘Bolsonaristas – had spent the past week waiting patiently outside a $850,000 property to see with their own eyes that the controversial far right leader was okay
Fans of the president flocked to Bolsonaro with their phones in hand to snap selfies with him
Bolsonaro’s whereabouts remained a mystery after that with security guards stationed at his rented vacation home in Kissimmee, a 15-minute drive from Walt Disney World, refusing to say whether he was inside but dismissing any suggestion that his life was in danger as ‘fake news’.
The handful of loyal supporters – ‘Bolsonaristas – who had spent the past week waiting patiently outside the $850,000 property to see with their own eyes that the controversial far right leader was ok, roared their approval as he finally walked outside into the chilly morning air this morning to greet them.
Wearing a blue fleece and navy pants, the 67-year-old Bolsonaro was moving freely and appeared to be in good health as he gave DailyMail.com a thumbs up and posed for our exclusive photographs.
‘Thank you, but I don’t speak any English,’ he said politely, before switching to his native Portuguese to speak to his hardcore fans, who begged him to sign their flags, t-shirts and even sneakers.
Wearing a blue fleece and navy pants, the 67-year-old was moving freely and appeared to be in good health as he smiled and waved at fans
Excited supporters begged him to sign their flags, t-shirts and even sneakers
Bolsonaro’s whereabouts had remained a mystery after his hospitalization with security guards stationed at an $850,000 rented vacation home in Kissimmee
Bolsonaro posted an image of himself lying on a hospital bed recovering from treatment in Florida last week
Bolsonaro’s HQ for the past month has been a 3,600-square foot vacation rental complete with a pool and hot tub owned by Jose Aldo, a retired Brazilian professional MMA fighter and UFC champion.
His presence there is becoming a headache for US President Joe Biden with mounting calls for him to expel Bolsonaro after the defeated right winger skipped the inauguration of his leftist rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and flew to Florida on December 30.
Despite being overseas when his supporters invaded the storied buildings to protest the supposed ‘rigged’ election, he has been named a ‘person of interest’ by Brazilian investigators, an accusation Bolsonaro vehemently denies.
This weekend a key Bolsonaro ally, the former security secretary for Brasilia, Anderson Torres, was arrested by federal authorities when he flew back to Brazil from Florida, where he was supposedly on vacation.
Torres was accused of conspiring to allow the attack by ‘sabotaging’ police efforts to protect Congress, according to The Guardian.
The commander of the capital’s military police was also among the 1,400 people taken into custody over the riot which caused millions of dollars of damage.
Bolsonaro’s stomach concerns stem from a protester stabbing him in the guts at a rally during his successful 2018 presidential campaign. He lost nearly 40 percent of his blood.
He has undergone at least four surgeries since then and was previously admitted to hospital in Sao Paulo in January 2022 because of a blockage found in his intestines.
According to reports, Bolsonaro was rushed to Advent Health Celebration last Monday although there was never any official confirmation from the hospital, in Celebration, outside Orlando.
Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen during his 2018 presidential campaign. He is pictured here on January 3, 2022, giving the thumbs-up from his hospital bed after being admitted for an abdominal problems, in Sao Paulo, Brazil
He was taken to Advent Health Celebration hospital in Orlando, Florida, on Monday
The 67-year-old was stabbed in the abdomen during his successful 2018 presidential campaign, losing nearly 40 percent of his blood (pictured moments after the attack)
In an Instagram post later that day he wrote: ‘I came [to the United States] to stay until the end of the month [January] but I intend to anticipate my return.
‘Because in Brazil the doctors already know about my intestinal obstruction problem because of the stab wound. My doctors did not accompany me here.’
Since flying into the US on a Brazilian navy plane, Bolsonaro has been filmed wandering around his neighborhood soaking up the adoration of expat Brazilian supporters.
He was also filmed inside a Publix grocery store and caught on camera eating a KFC meal in a now-viral video.
Some lawmakers have not been sympathetic to Bolsonaro – with Democrats calling for the United States to force him back to his country.
Progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Biden’s government to ‘stop granting refuge’ to the authoritarian leader.
‘Nearly 2 years to the day the US Capitol was attacked by fascists, we see fascist movements abroad attempt to do the same in Brazil,’ Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro told CNN that Bolsonaro ‘should be sent back to Brazil’ and accused him of emulating Donald Trump’s refusal to admit defeat in the Presidential election.
‘I stand with the democratically elected leadership in Brazil,’ Castro said. ‘He basically used the Trump playbook to inspire domestic terrorists to try and take over the government.’
Supporters of Brazilian former President Jair Bolsonaro invade the National Congress in Brasilia on January 8, 2023
Supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrate against President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as security forces operate, outside Brazil’s National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, January 8, 2023
Castro added that it ‘looks a lot like January 6 in the United States.’
‘Right now, Bolsonaro is in Florida, he’s actually very close to Donald Trump – he should be extradited to Brazil. In fact, it was reported that he was under investigation for corruption and fled Brazil to the United States,’ the Democrat went on.
Bolsonaro supporters have been protesting Lula’s electoral win since October 30, blocking roads, setting vehicles on fire and gathering outside military buildings, urging the armed forces to intervene.
But in comments made after the riots, Bolsonaro insisted the invasion of government buildings ‘crossed the line.’
‘Peaceful demonstrations, in the form of the law, are part of democracy. However, depredations and invasions of public buildings as occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule,’ he wrote.
‘Throughout my mandate, I have always been within the four lines of the Constitution, respecting and defending the laws, democracy, transparency and our sacred freedom.
‘In addition, I repudiate the accusations, without evidence, attributed to me by the current head of the executive of Brazil.’