The former Brazilian president told «Corriere»: «My grandparents were from Padua, with very little bureaucracy I would be a full citizen». To date, however, he has not made a request. The diplomatic visa in Florida expired in late January
FROM OUR REPORTER
ORLANDO «SI’m Italian. My name is Bolsonaro, my grandparents were from Padua. According to your law, I am Italian,” says former Brazilian president al
who asks him if he is applying for citizenship in Italy. “With very little bureaucracy – he adds – I would have full citizenship”.
Lula’s first wife also obtained Italian citizenship, declaring: «I want my children to have a future» (not an ideal phrase while her husband was president). Till today
he did not make a request, the Italian ambassador to Brazil Francesco Azzarello tells us. The diplomatic visa with which he arrived in Florida on December 30 expired at the end of January, two days before the end of his mandate (avoiding attending the inauguration of his successor Lula), Bolsonaro sees his near future in Florida, where he has applied for tourist visa for six months.
“He’s resting. You never go on vacation?” Flavio, the first of his five children, who is a senator, told Brazilian journalists in recent days. When will he come back? “Tomorrow, in six months or never. I do not know”. In Washington, 41 Democratic deputies ask Biden not to “give shelter” to a former president who is under investigation for the January 8 assault by his supporters on the palaces of power in Brasilia – a revolt that reminded many of that of the Trumpians at the American Congress. But Bolsonaro distances himself: “It was not our right, our people” (the thesis of his supporters is that it is the work of infiltrators).
In Florida’s populist paradise, however, a former president cannot be satisfied with the sun and the Disney parks. Jair has begun holding events that resemble Trump rallies in small ways. We approach him on a Tuesday evening, in improvised Portuguese (he doesn’t speak English) on the sidelines of the Great Encounter organized in Orlando by the Yes Brasil-USA group, the same group that last summer involved him in a parade of 350 motorcyclists and 2,000 fans of the large local Brazilian community. It’s his first public event since he lost the election and “the largest immigrant rally for a non-president in the United States,” the organizers proclaim. It was supposed to be in church, but with 600 tickets sold, they opted for Legends, a restaurant with a piano-bar stage, on which Bolsonaro appears to the tune of Space Odyssey. There is no press accreditation, we enter with a 58-euro “VIP” ticket (a pittance Trump would say); inexplicably banned «cameras and video» but nobody respects the rules. “It’s not a political or cult event,” says the announcer, although it sounds like both. “It’s a tribute to a man of God.”
The attack on Lula
Bolsonaro is not Trump: he only speaks for 20 minutes. But some sentences are deja vu. “What happened during the elections is a shock to many people,” he says, referring to his defeat and leaving the shadow of possible fraud. “I’ve never been more popular. In the end we were left with a question mark in our heads. But we will face this moment and, God willing, we will win together.” And of Lula, who will see Biden in Washington on February 10, he says: “If it continues as in these 30 days, the government will not last”.
When we ask him if he has met The Donald, Bolsonaro replies with a reproachful smile at the question, and one of his men pushes us away. But in Miami, in a Trump golf club, Bolsonaro will hold another rally tomorrow, with 29-year-old Charles Kirk of «Turning Point USA» who supported Trump’s thesis of fraud, financed buses of protesters headed for Washington on the day of the assault on Congress and now he says: «Brazil has become a global battlefield in the confrontation between the power of the people and the corrupt globalist machine». Meanwhile, his son Eduardo, a deputy, has just made a podcast with Trump’s son, Don Jr (“We must be united, the left wants us divided,” he said on Instagram), to return to Brasilia in time for the election of the president of the Senate. His father from Florida supports former minister Rogerio Marinho against Lula’s candidate.
For the first hour (half of the event) Bolsonaro sat in an armchair on stage without saying a word. His hair was freshly cut by the evangelical priest David Watson (who had promised on video to give him “a Neymar cut, the crest”: was he joking or a more conservative choice prevailed). He smiles pleased as the singers and videos praise the “best president of Brazil” and the audience shouts: “Myth, myth.” There is no need to speak to be a receptacle of devotion. They ask him if he will return to the field in the 2026 presidential elections. “I’m 67 years old and intend to remain active in politics,” he replies, but adds that 2024 needs to be thought of first and that many others are interested in running. If he does not, said the head of the Liberal Party to
, an excellent choice would be his wife Michelle (the third, 27 years younger, evangelical to the core and more eloquent than her husband). Back in Brazil on Thursday from Florida, Michelle was in the Senate yesterday and the day before yesterday she called Jair making him intervene by telephone at a party dinner where she defined her project as “immortal”. Finally, in Orlando, they wrapped him in the flag and began to pray.
February 2, 2023 (change February 2, 2023 | 07:56)