NY TIMES- In a tony suburban enclave in Kissimmee outside of Orlando, Fla., residents and visitors were buzzing about an unexpected neighbor: Jair Bolsonaro.
The far-right former president of Brazil has been staying in a gated community since he left Brazil in a fitful rebuke of the inauguration of his successor and longtime leftist rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. While Kissimmee is known for its robust Puerto Rican population, the Orlando area, which has grown a lot in recent years, is also home to a great many Brazilians.
“Somos Bolsonaristas para sempre,” said Maria Para Cavalcante. “We are Bolsonaristas, always.”
Cavalcante, originally from the south of Brazil, described what she perceived of Bolsonaro’s accolades: a boon for the Brazilian family.
“Bolsonaro was the best president we had in 30 years,” she said.
Cavalcante’s views reflected those of others interviewed in the high-end complex.
Helen Lima, originally from an area near São Paulo and who now lives in the same complex, said she supports Bolsonaro but did not agree with the shocking events in Brasília.
“We support Bolsonaro but not about yesterday,” Lima said, using “we” to generally speak for those around the complex.
Around midday Monday, the suburban complex was quiet, dotted with pool repair vehicles and the occasional private police patrol. Closer to the center of the complex and the house where Bolsonaro is alleged to be staying, sporadic pockets of people wandered with the sole aim of seeing Bolsonaro.
But Bolsonaro was not there. Instead, the house where he was staying was empty except for a truck and a person, who declined to be identified, shooing away bystanders.
“Have you heard?” Lima asked. “Bolsonaro is in the hospital.”
The news was later confirmed by Brazil’s former first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, who said on Instagram that her husband was under observation at a hospital. She said the pain was “discomfort” from a 2018 stabbing during his election campaign that year. “We are in prayer for his health and for Brazil,” she said.