Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro landed back in Brazil on Thursday, nearly three months after decamping to Florida. Bolsonaro left his country on the eve of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s inauguration, after refusing to recognize his own defeat.
Speaking at an airport in Florida before boarding the flight to Brazil, Bolsonaro said he would not lead the right-wing opposition in his country, the BBC reported.
However, many believe he’s still a prominent political figure in his country.
“The leader of the Brazilian right continues to be Bolsonaro,” Tarcisio de Freitas, the governor of Sao Paulo and a close Bolsonaro ally, told the Financial Times. “He has a big influence on social networks, he can mobilize crowds, he has the respect of people [and] an amazing charisma.”
The former president can stand for election again in 2026.
Despite spending most of his sojourn in Florida vacationing — he was seen dining out at KFC and shopping at supermarkets — Bolsonaro continued his populist style of politics, meeting regularly with his supporters across the Sunshine State.
However, some have questioned the timing of his return.
Bolsonaro faces several accusations in Brazil, including for embezzlement — he failed to declare over $3 million of jewelry said to have been a gift of the Saudi government — and for inciting the mobs that stormed the country’s Presidential Palace in January.