Former president Jair Bolsonaro said on Saturday that he intends to return to Brazil “in the coming weeks”.
The comment during an event at an evangelical church in Florida was the first time Bolsonaro has made a public statement about returning home.
The far-right politician has been in the United States since arriving in Orlando, Florida, on December 31, on the eve of the inauguration of his left-wing rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as the current president of Brazil.
Saturday’s event was held entirely in Portuguese for a Brazilian crowd of Bolsonaro supporters living abroad and was organized by the right-wing organization Yes Brazil USA. Bolsonaro was applauded throughout the event.
In recent weeks, there has been speculation about when Bolsonaro might return to Brazil, where he is the subject of several investigations into possible wrongdoing.
He initially entered the US on a one-month diplomatic visa, which expired on January 31. He was accompanied by a team of presidential aides and his wife, all of whom left Florida last month.
Bolsonaro’s lawyers told Brazilian media recently that they applied for a tourist visa to extend their stay in the US.
Amid speculation about Bolsonaro’s plans, one of his sons, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, told Brazilian reporters he did not know when his father would return. “It could be tomorrow, it could be in six months, he could never come back. I don’t know. He’s relaxing,” said the son.
For the first time in his more than three-decade political career as a legislator and then president, Bolsonaro no longer enjoys the special legal protection that requires any trial to be held in the Federal Supreme Court.
Bolsonaro is being investigated in four inquiries, which were in the STF and were sent to Justice this past week.
Among the investigations is whether Bolsonaro played a role in inciting the January 8 riot by his supporters who stormed government buildings in the capital, Brasilia, demanding that his electoral defeat to Lula be overturned.
Investigators are also investigating who organized and financed the mass gathering of Bolsonaro supporters, who came to the capital from all over Brazil.
One of the investigations of the Brazilian Justice is who are responsible for inciting the crimes, as well as who financed people from all over the country to travel to Brasilia.