Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said he was “battle-ready” on Tuesday, after spending the night in hospital, and continued with his planned activities as if nothing had happened.
“I just had a bad night,” the head of state said late in the morning, cheering on hundreds of supporters during a ceremony in Ponta Pora, in the state of Mato Grosso du Sud (mid-west), more than 1,000 km as the bird of prey from Brasilia, where he had been hospitalized.
Dressed in a short-sleeved blue shirt, the former paratrooper, who intends to run for president in October, allowed himself a short walk. “I’m ready for battle,” he said in a video posted on Twitter by Communications Minister Fabio Faria just before boarding the plane.
It was the same Fabio Faria who announced early in the morning that the head of state had been discharged from the hospital after his “malaise” the day before, specifying that he was “in good shape”.
The presidency did not respond to requests from AFP about the nature of this “malaise”, which appears to be due to recurring intestinal problems following a stab wound. According to the daily newspaper O Globo, the admission was motivated by “difficulties with the flow of stomach contents towards the intestine”.
Jair Bolsonaro, 67, was absent Monday night from a ceremony hosted by the Republican Party, one of the parties supporting him, as his presence had been announced. Deputy Marcos Pereira, leader of this party, then explained that the president had not been able to come because he had to “undergo some investigations”.
“The consequences of the assassination attempt (…) continue to cause health problems for my father,” Flavio Bolsonaro tweeted late Monday. “But evil has never won and will never win over good,” he added, praying for his father.
Since this stabbing from an unbalanced person during a walk that nearly cost him his life, Jair Bolsonaro has accumulated abdominal alarms.
The aftermath of this aggression has given him four abdominal surgeries, especially for a colostomy, and he is still threatened with bowel obstruction.
In January, he was acutely hospitalized in Brasilia and then transferred to a large establishment in Sao Paulo due to severe abdominal pain caused by intestinal sub-occlusion. But he had escaped another operation.
He had already been treated for an occlusion in July 2021, in the company where he was again on Monday, after suffering severe abdominal pain and a persistent hiccup for more than ten days.
Badly done shrimp
This malaise was apparently, according to his surgeon, caused by “a shrimp that was swallowed without being chewed” – an incident that had pleased cartoonists.
This surgeon, Antonio Luiz Macedo, who has operated on him several times since the attack, recalled in an interview with O Globo in January that “the risk of a new obstruction” was “significant” if he did not follow its recommendations.
In this case, it is a strict diet and moderate physical activity, restrictions that Jair Bolsonaro admitted to having difficulty complying with.
During his term, which began in 2019, the right-wing extremist president also underwent surgery for a kidney stone and contracted mild symptoms in July 2020 Covid-19 – which he never wanted to be vaccinated against.
In addition to his health problems, which risk complicating his campaign, Mr. Bolsonaro entered his final months in office in a difficult position. Opinion polls show he was largely beaten in October by left-wing ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, though he has narrowed the distance a bit in recent weeks.
If they are not yet officially declared candidates, the two sworn enemies have made no secret of their desire to fight in the presidential election. The economic context in Brazil is also worrying, with galloping inflation making the war in Ukraine even worse, sluggish growth forecasts in 2022 and still high unemployment.