MIAMI – A day after supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro attacked a Brazilian government building, Vitor Speer, who lives in Orlando, Florida, condemned the violence in his home country.
But Speer, a Bolsonaro supporter who believes Brazil’s recent election was rigged, said he “expected” some backlash from the former president’s supporters.
“We don’t believe he won the will of the people,” said Speer, referring to new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, also known as Lula.
Speer’s view echoes what Bolsonaro and many of his allies have said since losing the disputed Oct. 30 presidential bid, claiming voter fraud and a rigged election.
Expectations of violence in their country were shared by Brazilian Americans who opposed Bolsonaro.
“It’s no surprise to anyone,” said Alinio Azevedo, a Brazilian who lives in Aspen, Colorado. “Bolsonaro has been talking about this for months. … It was completely avoidable.”
Now, Bolsonaro is in Orlando, where he has supporters among the state’s growing Brazilian-American population. Florida is home to a large Latin American diaspora, including many who support center-right politics and gravitate to the Republican Party — building this growing voting bloc.
Florida is a permissive environment, especially for a former president, said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of America and America Societies. “It’s a very common position where Latin Americans generally feel welcome and comfortable.”
Bolsonaro tweeted late on Monday that he had been admitted to a hospital in Florida, posting a photo from his hospital bed. In an interview with CNN Brasil, Bolsonaro said he was “good” and expected to be discharged in the coming days after being hospitalized with “abdominal pain”. He also suggested that he might return to Brazil sooner than he had planned.
Before he was admitted to hospital, his supporters gathered outside the home of retired Brazilian MMA fighter Jose Aldo, where Bolsonaro is believed to be staying, to show their support.
In a video posted on YouTube, Orlando realtor Ricardo Molina filmed the former president exiting his home to greet supporters before Lula’s inauguration. Molina did not respond to requests for comment and NBC News has not verified Bolsonaro’s position.
Longstanding ties to Trump, allies
After angry mobs of Bolsonaro’s supporters stormed the presidential palace. Congress and the Supreme Court, many are drawing parallels between. What unfolded in Brazil and the 2021 Capitol riots in the U.S. Many are honoring. The long-standing relationship between Bolsonaro. And his family and the former president, Donald Trump. As well as his former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
After Bolsonaro’s defeat, unfounded claims of electoral fraud. Reminiscent of those in the United States, began to surface in Brazil.
After Sunday’s riots, Bannon shared a video on the alt-right social media platform. Gator showing protesters entering the congressional building and calling them “Brazilian freedom fighters.”
Bannon has posted the “Lula stole the election” lie.
Bannon said before the Brazilian election. That Bolsonaro would lose if the “machine” stole the election.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, the former president’s son. Who is also a congressman, has met with Trump and Bannon several times since his father took office in 2019.
Leading up to Brazil’s presidential election. Trump’s allies have exported many of the former president’s campaign tactics to the Latin American country.
At a Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC) conference in Brazil in 2021. Guests included Donald Trump Jr. and Rep. Mark Green, R-TN. Who voted against certifying the 2020 election results. Speakers attacked the press and branded opponents as criminals and communists.
Eduardo Bolsonaro gave a presentation. On election fraud in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in August 2021. At an event hosted by Mike Lindell, a pillow executive. And one of the leading voices in Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
Eduardo Bolsonaro was cheered by Lindell and Bannon. As he spoke about election fraud, conspiracy theories and fake news media.
After Bolsonaro’s defeat in October. Thousands of supporters began camping outside military installations across. Brazil to protest his loss.
Eduardo Bolsonaro, meanwhile, met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. He and other members of Bolsonaro’s inner circle have consulted with Trump allies to forge a path forward. That uses the power of his father’s supporters.
Trump did not comment on the attack in the Brazilian capital.
There were other similarities with the January 6 incident.
Laura Pereira, a Brazilian researcher focused on social media. And the Internet, said protesters used WhatsApp. Telegram and YouTube to organize and finance the uprising.
And execute activities, not to share distractions,” Pereira said. “It’s like an ecosystem of information about working in Brasilia. [stealing] power, protecting Bolsonaro’s agenda. And the need to rebel against democracy.”
“Confusion was a growing part of our election.” He said, calling it “a challenge to democracy and the Internet in general.”
Jan. 6 parallels, but an important distinction
According to Bruna Santos, senior adviser at the Brazil Institute. At the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington DC think tank. There is a fundamental difference between the riots in Brazil and January 6.
“The first is timing; the specific goal of the Capitol attack was to prevent Joe Biden from taking the oath of office to prevent. His victory from becoming a foregone conclusion,” Santos said. In Brazil, by contrast. All deadlines (declaration of results, swearing-in, inauguration) had passed before the riots took place.
“This suggests that the possibility of a coup succeeding at this point is very remote.” Santos said, “showing the rapid response of the international community.”
For Farnsworth, the timing of the riots shows it’s not about bringing Bolsonaro back to Brazil. “Bolsonaro has any interest in doing that. That’s why he moved to Florida,” he said.
About 1,500 protesters have been detained since Sunday in what is considered. The country’s worst attack on democracy in 40 years.
Those who predicted the violence said the police should have done more to prevent it. Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled Sunday that Ibanez Rocha.
“Everybody knew it was a possibility. Why didn’t the police department from the [Federal District] do anything to stop it?” Azevedo said. “There are open chats on social media bringing them together to do this.”