From the presidential palace to the KFC: Bolsonaro's new life in the United States

From the presidential palace to the KFP: Bolsonaro's new life in the United States


He led the most important economic power in Latin America and its 214 million inhabitants. Now ex-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro lives in a suburban area near Disney World, Florida, and eats alone in a fast food chain.

The former far-right leader fled to the United States in late December, days before supporters unhappy with his left-wing rival Lula's victory in October's presidential election invaded and vandalized the presidential palace , Congress and Brazil's Supreme Court. 

Scenes reminiscent of the January 2021 storming of the Capitol in Washington by Donald Trump loyalists protesting his Democratic opponent's certification of victory Joe Biden. 

While he condemned the violence in Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro is being investigated by his country's Supreme Court to determine his role in the assault on national institutions in Brasilia on January 8. 

Used to the luxurious Brazilian presidential palace, the “Trump of the Tropics”, as he is sometimes nicknamed, now lives in a small house owned by former Brazilian martial arts fighter, José Aldo. < /p>

Bolsonaro kept a low profile during his first weeks in Florida; his only known activities consisting of a trip to the supermarket and another to eat fried chicken alone at a KFC restaurant.

But the former leader stepped out of his way this week, delivering two speeches within days apart. 

“More popular than ever”

On Friday, the former Brazilian strongman who moved crowds spoke in Doral, north of Miami, in front of some 400 people at an event organized by the American conservative association Turning Point USA, within a luxury hotel of ex-president Donald Trump, ally and model of Bolsonaro when he was in power. 

“There is no greater satisfaction than that of a job well done” , said the former president, referring to his mandate (2019-2023) in a speech that looked like an electoral meeting, addressing a conquered public who was on his thirty-one and wore the colors of Brazil.  

On Tuesday, Jair Bolsonaro spoke at a mall restaurant at a reception hosted by the Brazilian community in Florida, where he continued to question the result of the October ballot. 

“Many people are still shaken by what happened during the elections […]. But we will face this moment and, God willing, we will overcome together”, he launched, while he believes to be “more popular than ever.

On both occasions, Bolsonaro was warmly welcomed by his most loyal supporters who took photos with him and cheered him on. 

An uncertain future

But the future of the former Brazilian leader remains uncertain. After assuring the press that he intended to return to Brazil at the end of January, Mr. Bolsonaro applied for a six-month visa to remain in the United States.

One of his children, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, explained last week that the ex-president had no return date. “It could be tomorrow or in six months, or he may never come back,” he told reporters.

“I am 67 and I intend to remain active in politics brazilian”, however hammered Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday, in Orlando. welcome he paid tribute to on Friday. 

“I have always been a great admirer of the American people. His freedoms, his patriotism and his love of the flag,” he said.