Jair Bolsonaro Hospitalized In Florida As New Brazilian Government Takes Power
EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was hospitalized in Florida one day after supporters of his failed re-election campaign rioted and stormed multiple federal buildings in his home country.

The conservative populist was admitted to AdventHealth Celebration, a hospital outside Orlando, with concerns over severe abdominal pain, according to a report from Brazilian news outlet Globo. The former chief executive has reportedly been hospitalized a handful of times from abdominal pain since he was stabbed by a socialist activist in 2018 during a rally, resulting in severe blood loss and damage to multiple organs at the time.

The hospitalization occurs as Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who assumed office last week, and other officials in the South American nation crack down on Bolsonaro supporters who destroyed federal property in the Sunday demonstrations. Lula, a self-described socialist, defeated Bolsonaro, a populist conservative sometimes called the “Trump of the Tropics,” by a narrow margin during elections held in October, which occurred two years after a justice on the Brazilian Supreme Court cleared him of previous corruption convictions.

“The coup plotters who promoted the destruction of public property in Brasilia are being identified and will be punished,” Lula said on social media. “Tomorrow we resume work at the Planalto Palace. Democracy always.”

Bolsonaro has been residing in Florida for the past few weeks; videos of him signing soccer jerseys and visiting fast food restaurants have circulated online, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel. Bolsonaro is reportedly facing various probes in his home country related to the release of classified documents, denying election results, and potential connections to misinformation campaigns.

Biden administration officials have not yet received any requests from the Brazilian government regarding Bolsonaro.

“We have not, as of now, received any official requests from the Brazilian government related to Bolsonaro,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday. “Of course, if we did receive such requests, we’d treat them the way we always do, we’d treat them seriously.”

Bolsonaro, who is reportedly staying in the home of retired Brazilian mixed martial artist Jose Aldo, condemned the rioters. “Peaceful demonstrations, in the form of the law, are part of democracy,” he remarked. “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.”

Lula is regarded as a socialist figurehead across Latin America; residents of Brazil are concerned that his policies will fail to discourage violent crime and drug trafficking. Bolsonaro supporters have camped in front of military facilities in recent months as they plead for authorities to seize control of the government.

Military assets were nevertheless used on Sunday to contain the unrest, in which several buildings were vandalized. “I come to inform you that more than 400 people have already been arrested and will pay for the crimes committed,” Brazilian Federal District Governor Ibaneis Rocha said. “We continue working to identify all the others who participated in these terrorist acts this afternoon in the Federal District. We continue to work to restore order.”

Social media platforms are currently working to remove posts expressing support for the demonstrations, according to a report from Reuters. A spokesman for Meta, which runs Facebook, designated the protest as a “violating event,” meaning that the company “will remove content that supports or praises these actions,” while a spokesperson for YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, told the outlet that the company is “closely tracking” the protests and “removing content” that violates community guidelines.

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