Jair Bolsonaro announced that he plans to return to Brazil in March to lead the opposition against Lula da Silva. The former Brazilian president said that when he returns he will defend himself against accusations from politicians and leftist media that he orchestrated the assault on official buildings last month.
"The right-wing movement is not dead and will live on," Bolsonaro said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The former military man presented himself as "the national leader of the right; there is no one else at the moment." Upon his return, along with members of his party and allies in Congress and state governments, he will work to push pro-business policies and fight against abortion, gun control and other policies that, he said, go against family values.
Bolsonaro presents himself as "the national leader of the right"
The former president, who has not yet acknowledged Lula's victory, held back when speaking about the last election, when the Workers' Party candidate won by a narrow 50.9% of the votes. "I'm not saying there was fraud, but the process was biased," he said, before noting that "losing is part of the electoral process."
However, when asked about being accused of organizing the riots that ended with the attack on government buildings on January 8, Bolsonaro didn’t hold back m. Several activists, media and leftist politicians accused him of having organized a coup d'état, something he radically denies: "Coup? What coup? Where was the commander? Where were the troops, where were the bombs?" he asked. He also recalled that he was in Florida when the events happened: "I wasn't even there, and they want to pin it on me!" he exclaimed.
"Coup? What coup?"
He also referred to the most controversial episode of his presidency: the management of the Covid pandemic that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in his country. His measures were harshly criticized, and he is blamed for the more than 700,000 Brazilians who lost their lives as a result of the virus. His statements describing Covid as "a little flu" or telling jokes about vaccines turning men into crocodiles did not help either. The former president said that, if he could go back in time, "he would not say anything, he would leave the matter in the hands of the Ministry of Health.”
Bolsonaro also analyzed Lula's visit to the U.S., which he described as the current Brazilian president’s attempt to call attention to himself. "Lula just came here to be in the spotlight," he claimed.
Bolsonaro hesitates to run in the next elections
Regarding his return to Brazil, he pointed out that he is fully aware that his return to Brazil may end up with him in jail. "A prison order can come out of nowhere," Bolsonaro said. As an example, he recalled the case of former President Michel Temer, who was preventively imprisoned for several days in connection with corruption allegations after leaving office at the end of 2018. Temer denied the accusations.
In spite of assuming the leadership of the opposition upon his return, the former president is cautious about running in the new electoral race. According to Bolsonaro, it is something "much harder" than he imagined.