(Bloomberg) — Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told supporters he's not done yet after returning from exile in Florida.
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At an event in Orlando on Tuesday filled with prayers and patriotic signs, he appealed to a captive audience ahead of the biennial midterm elections.
It was Bolsonaro's first public speech since leaving Brazil and made it clear that he wanted to fan the political flames. His opponent, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who came to the United States on a diplomatic passport, has now passed the deadline by applying for a tourist visa.
"I'm 67 years old and I want to be active in Brazilian politics," he said, raising questions about the country's next presidential race in 2026.
Back home, Bolsonaro has faced multiple investigations, including allegations that he had a hand in the Jan. 8 uprising after his supporters refused to accept Lula's defeat in the Oct. 8 election. US officials do not know how to deal with what has become a diplomatic headache for President Joe Biden.
In his speech, the former conservative president did not say when he would visit the country. "I've been here for 30 days and I want to stay a little longer."
Read more: Bolsonaro applies for six-month US visa, Biden in dilemma
Bolsonaro, who lives a few hours away from the home of his good friend and former President Donald Trump, will be in the United States on February 10 to welcome Lula to the White House.
At the same time, the optics of Bolsonaro and Lula in the country, disturbing parallels with those who deny the election and attack democracy, pose problems for the administration.
Bolsonaro's return to Brazil will also be a difficult one for Lula's administration, as he could become a political martyr depending on how the courts handle the charges against him.
Bolsonaro going down would be one thing, but he has effectively returned. He announced that he will be leaving at the end of January. do not Now he tells his followers that he is far from a weakened political force, but he does so from afar.
For example, the former president sided with former cabinet member Rogerio Marinho's bid to take part in Wednesday's crucial election for the Senate.
"I hope there will be people who oppose Lula in the new Congress," he told the audience, which paid $10 to $50 for tickets to hear him speak. Marinho is trying to defeat the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, who is running for re-election.
Read more: Bolsonaro cheers as Florida fans chant 'Don't go home'
And all signs appear to be a growing gathering place with the right name. On February 3, he will be at another rally at one of Trump's golf courses in Miami.
In this case, the event was organized by Phoenix-based Turning Point USA, which describes itself as "a platform for freedom, free markets and limited government to stand up to the radical left."
— Assisted by Daniel Carvalho and Simon Iglesias.
(Updated with Bolsonaro's comments on paragraphs six and eleven).
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