This Thursday is the day scheduled by former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to write a new page on his political and judicial destiny, since it is when he announced that he would return to his country, where several accusations are pending.
The arrival of the 68-year-old far-right ex-president, who has spent three months in the US, generates great expectations. He is expected to land around 07:30 in the morning (local time) at the Brasilia international airport, where he will be received by his wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, members of the leadership of his political space, the Liberal Party (PL), and a multitude of followers.
From there, he plans to move to his home in the luxurious Lago Sul neighborhood. The Brasilia authorities have already authorized a strong security scheme to prevent possible crowds from leading to riots, in the midst of the high political polarization that the country is experiencing and fears that the president could be detained to testify in the multiple cases that he has pending in the Supreme Court, in common justice and in the electoral justice.
Allies anticipate conflict between Bolsonaro and PF when arriving in BrazilBolsonaro will not be able to leave by the main landing at the airport, but by an alternative routehttps://t.co/HPuQ9UTmrX
— Blog do Noblat (@BlogdoNoblat) March 29, 2023
According to the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, the president would like to drive home in a convertible to greet his supporters.
However, various media outlets report that the authorities plan to cordon off the airport to prevent the massive arrival of Bolsonaro supporters and for the ex-president to hold an impromptu rally. They even speculate that the politician will be forced to leave the terminal through a side door, which would have deeply irritated Bolsonaro.
Without “privileged jurisdiction”
True to his controversial style, Bolsonaro traveled to the US on December 30, two days before he had to hand over the presidential sash to the leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his greatest political enemy.
At that time, he already had a compromised judicial horizon, since when he left office he was going to lose the so-called “privileged jurisdiction”, opening the door to the possibility of being tried by common justice, more expeditiously.
But since then the outlook has darkened much more. The images of the Bolsonaro radicals destroying the iconic buildings of the presidential Planalto Palace, the National Congress and the Federal Supreme Court (STF) with sticks, stones and everything they found in their path went around the world.
The irruption in Brasilia was the way that part of Bolsonaro assumed to show their discontent with Lula’s return to power and their distrust in the electronic voting system, a doubt that Bolsonaro was paying for years with his insistent campaign without evidence against reliability of the polls, his contestation of the results and his refusal to publicly acknowledge the victory of the patriarch of the Workers’ Party (PT).
The STF then decided to investigate the former president’s alleged responsibility for the attacks, specifically whether or not he had encouraged his followers. However, this week Bolsonaro reiterated in an interview that he “never thought of launching a coup.”
The Saudi jewelery scandal
In the highest court, the president has other processes open. The files contain accusations for attacks on the members of that court with inflammatory statements, and for allegedly interfering with the Federal Police (PF) to avoid investigations into his family environment.
But more recently there is another case that generates a lot of controversy and has to do with the luxurious jewels, valued at more than 3 million dollars, that the monarchy of Saudi Arabia gave Bolsonaro and his wife during his term.
EDITORIAL: ‘Ethics is not only for others’ – Jair Bolsonaro’s claim to bag expensive presents reveals a distorted understanding of the public function. Public morality cannot be a slogan that is only required on the opposite side https://t.co/Eu0clD5OkSpic.twitter.com/SdiZkhaurY
— Estadão 🗞️ (@Estadao) March 29, 2023
Part of them were entered without declaring and, apparently, the president kept them for his personal collection, without including them in the patrimony of the Union, as established by law. Another handful of jewels were seized at the Sao Paulo airport, when one of his collaborators tried to bring them into the country without notifying customs.
The matter, the subject of an investigation by the Federal Police (PF), could be framed as corruption.
The Minister of Institutional Relations, Alexandre Padilha, said this Wednesday that, upon his return, Bolsonaro “will have to give explanations about the jewels (…) about various other things that are being discovered about his government.”
In addition, Bolsonaro faces fifteen investigations in the Superior Electoral Court, including for spreading false news about the electronic voting system.
The consequences of all these open fronts against Bolsonaro are difficult to predict, but most analysts agree that it is most probable that, before the STF or the common courts order a provisional arrest or resolve their cases, the TSE decides to disqualify him politicallywhich would prevent him from running in the next elections of 2026.
From Florida, the former president mentioned the possibility of being declared “ineligible” due to these investigations, but he considered that if he was detained, “it would be arbitrariness.”
“I’m afraid they’ll kill him”
His son and coordinator of the electoral campaign that lost against Lula, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, recently declared that he feared for his father’s physical integrity.
“Our main concern is not just his arrest or his debarment, because there is no reason for that. Now, as security has been reduced, I am concerned, as a son, of someone trying to take his life again. I’m afraid they’ll kill him,” she said.
Although for him, an eventual disqualification or arrest of his father would only give more fuel for his figure. “If it gets to that point”, Bolsonaro “it would become the biggest electoral bait in the history of Brazil”he predicted.
“Bolsonaro was fed by the anti-PT sentiment (Lula’s party) and was hit by his irrational and erratic aggressiveness. With his return, he wants to lead the right that he took out of the closet, mobilized and ended up disrupting,” he wrote in the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo the journalist and writer Elio Gaspari.