Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he plans to return to Brazil in March to lead the political opposition to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and defend himself against accusations he incited attacks by protesters on government buildings last month.
“The right-wing movement is not dead and will live on,” said Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for Florida late last year, before da Sivla was sworn in as his successor.
Bolsonaro, who hasn’t conceded defeat, appeared to moderate his criticism of the election outcome, telling The Wall Street Journal, “Losing is part of the electoral process. I’m not saying there was fraud, but the process was biased.”
The former Brazilian President is under investigation for alleged involvement in the January 8 attacks in Brasilia, in which his supporters stormed Brazil’s democratic institutions in the capital.
Bolsonaro last month applied for a six-month tourist visa to remain in the United States.
Bolsonaro, who was in Florida when the riots occurred, said he is innocent of any wrongdoing and said he welcomed an investigation of the January events.
“I wasn’t even there, and they want to pin it on me!” he told The Wall Street Journal, adding he was dismayed by the violence, which he condemned at the time in a post on Twitter. At the same time, he said it was wrong to say that the attacks amounted to an attempt to overthrow da Silva’s government.
“Coup? What coup? Where was the commander? Where were the troops, where were the bombs?” he asked.