© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro attends an inauguration ceremony for brand new judges of Brazil’s Superior Courtroom of Justice in Brasilia, Brazil December 6, 2022. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Picture
By Ueslei Marcelino
BRASILIA (Reuters) – President Jair Bolsonaro left Brazil for america on Friday, 48 hours earlier than his leftist rival President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was set to take workplace, saying in a teary goodbye speech he had “misplaced a battle however not the warfare.”
Bolsonaro, who has barely spoken since dropping the election, has not confirmed the place he’s going, however aircraft monitoring information suggests he’s heading to Florida, the place his safety workers are already in place.
He has repeatedly stated he wouldn’t hand over the presidential sash to Lula at Sunday’s inauguration, breaking with Brazil’s democratic custom.
He can also face authorized dangers from remaining in Brazil as his presidential immunity expires when Lula takes workplace.
Vice President Hamilton Mourao is now appearing president, his press workplace informed Reuters, confirming Bolsonaro had left the nation. However Mourao is not going to cross the presidential sash to Lula both, a spokesperson stated, elevating questions on who will hand over the ceremonial ribbon to the leftist.
Web site FlightAware, which screens air visitors, confirmed the presidential aircraft departed Brasilia shortly after 2pm native time, sure for Orlando, Florida.
“I’m in flight, again quickly,” Bolsonaro was quoted as saying by CNN Brasil. His press workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The U.S. State Division didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. The U.S. embassy in Brasilia referred questions on Bolsonaro’s journey to the Brazilian president’s workplace.
Earlier than takeoff, Bolsonaro delivered an emotional remaining deal with on social media through which he ran by the highlights of his time in workplace, sought to defend his legacy, and tried to encourage his followers into maintaining the combat in opposition to Lula.
A few of his base have refused to simply accept Lula’s victory, believing Bolsonaro’s baseless claims that the October election was stolen. That has contributed to a tense environment within the capital Brasilia, with riots and a foiled bomb plot final week.
Bolsonaro labeled the bomb plot a “terrorist act” for which there was no justification. He sought to distance himself from George Washington Sousa, the person who confessed to creating the bomb, and who informed police that Bolsonaro’s name to arms impressed him to construct an arsenal of weapons and explosives.
“The person had concepts that aren’t shared by any citizen, however now they classify him as a ‘Bolsonarista’,” the president stated.
Nevertheless, Bolsonaro additionally praised protesters who’ve been tenting outdoors military barracks throughout the nation, urging the navy to stage a coup.
“I didn’t encourage anybody to enter confrontation,” he stated, including that his supporters had merely been searching for “freedom.” He stated the protests had been “spontaneous,” with no management or coordination.
Bolsonaro’s swift exit is a disappointment for a lot of on the precise, the place his status has taken a beating for his post-election silence. His political associates need him to steer the conservative opposition to Lula with a view to ousting him within the subsequent election in 2026.
A few of his diehard supporters on the entrance of the Alvorada Palace, the presidential residence the place he lived, known as him a “coward” throughout his speech, in response to a Reuters witness.
Others felt deserted by his departure.
“It feels as if my boyfriend has left me,” stated Deise Casela, a 57-year-old widow, touching the Brazilian flag that was lowered after Bolsonaro left the residence. “I’m mourning once more.”