Accessibility links

Breaking News

Brazil's Bolsonaro in U.S. Hospital

FILE - Then-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct. 29, 2022.
FILE - Then-Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct. 29, 2022.

Brazilian far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro has been hospitalized in Orlando, Florida with abdominal pain, media reports said Monday, a day after his supporters invaded the seat of power in Brasilia.

Bolsonaro was admitted to AdventHealth Celebration acute care hospital outside Orlando with "strong abdominal pains," Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported, a day after he denied Lula's claim he incited his supporters to storm the presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court in the capital.

Bolsonaro has had a series of health problems stemming from a knife attack that nearly claimed his life during his winning 2018 presidential campaign.

He has undergone six surgeries since the stabbing, perpetrated by an attacker who was found mentally unfit to stand trial.

Bolsonaro, 67, left Brazil for the United States two days before the end of his term, snubbing the traditional handover of the presidential sash when the man who beat him at the polls, veteran leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, took office on January 1.

He has been staying at the Orlando home of Brazilian former mixed martial arts champion Jose Aldo, a stone's throw from Disney World.

While in power, Jair Bolsonaro openly copied Donald Trump, embracing the nickname "Trump of the Tropics."

Like the US president, the Brazilian leader built a right-wing Christian brand celebrating gun ownership, scorn for sexual minorities, flag waving, disdain for conventional political speech and journalists, and love of big crowds.

So it was less of a surprise that in defeat to leftist challenger Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro reached for the Trump playbook after his defeat to Joe Biden in 2020.

1. Refuse to graciously concede after months of spreading false rumors about election rigging.

2. Refuse to attend the inauguration of the winner.

3. Watch supporters rampage for hours through the halls of government before issuing a grudging call to order.

Even the dates of the attacks were almost the same -- January 6 in Washington, January 8 in Brasilia, although in the Brazilian case Bolsonaro had already been replaced, while Trump was still president.