Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Living in Florida

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Living in Florida

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
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January 4, 2023

As native Floridians can attest, Brazilians make up a sizeable contingent of foreign-born tourists at Disney World. But controversial ex-president Jair Bolsonaro isn't staying for the theme park rides.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Bolsonaro is supposedly living in UFC fighter Jose Aldo's Orlando-area vacation home, skipping out on the inauguration of his successor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The leftist Lula narrowly beat the "Trump of the Tropics" Bolsonaro in October by less than two percentage points. Bolsonaro famously refuses to concede, leaving Brazil tense as Lula is sworn in on Sunday. Bolsonaro's absence breaks tradition in the South American country, as the former president passes the sash to his successor.

Additionally, Bolsonaro faces potential investigations for alleged releases of classified documents, voting machine attacks, and connections to pro-Bolsonaro misinformation spreaders.

Nonetheless, there is something like grim optimism surrounding Bolsonaro, as he is receiving visits from Brazilian and Brazilian-American supporters outside his residence. One family visiting from Brazil is described as taking a brief detour in their Disney visit in an attempt to see him, while another gives Bolsonaro a USA soccer jersey before he takes time to sign autographs and snap pictures with fans.

Prior to his departure, Bolsonaro gave an address condemning an apparent bomb threat in Brasilia and urging his supporters to refrain from using violence. "We lost a battle, but we will not lose the war, the world does not end on Jan. 1," he is quoted as saying.

Former Florida Rep. Carlos G. Smith (SD-49) reacts to the news by saying "Florida isn't where woke goes to die... it's where dictators go to find sanctuary."

Despite his refusal to concede the election, it is unlikely Bolsonaro is establishing a government-in-exile here in the Sunshine State, as the Sentinel reports he intends to stay for one to three months.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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