Things That Matter

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Is In The Hospital For Emergency Surgery Related To Chronic Hiccups

On Wednesday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was transferred from the capital Brasilia to a hospital in São Paulo for possible emergency surgery following a case of chronic hiccups and complaining of abdominal pain. While in the hospital, a photo of a shirtless Bolsonaro lying on a hospital bed, with a man who appeared to be priest touching his right shoulder, was published on the president’s social media accounts alongside the message: “God willing, we’ll be back soon. Brazil is ours.”

Bolsonaro is in a São Paulo hospital awaiting possible emergency surgery.

President Bolsonaro was rushed to a hospital in the capital city Brasilia early on Wednesday, following a case of chronic hiccups that lasted for more than 10 days. Then later in the afternoon, it was announced that Brazil’s leader was being transferred to São Paulo after Antônio Luiz Macedo, the surgeon who operated on Bolsonaro after he was stabbed shortly before his 2018 election, diagnosed him with a bowel obstruction.

In a statement, the presidency said additional tests would be carried out in São Paulo, which is home to some of Brazil’s top medical centers, to determine whether Bolsonaro needed emergency surgery. Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has been hospitalized several times in the wake of the near-fatal campaign trail stabbing, which perforated his intestine. He also caught COVID-19 last year.

“Jair Messias Bolsonaro, remains hospitalized at Hospital Vila Nova Star, in São Paulo, evolving in a satisfactory clinical and laboratorial manner,” the note from the president’s doctors said, adding that non-surgical treatment would be continued.

The president’s health condition had been topic of speculation in the weeks leading up to his hospitalizaiton.

Many in the country had already been questioning the president’s health condition after the far-right leader made several public appearances in which he visibly struggled to speak. And last week, during a trip to southern Brazil, Bolsonaro had to abandon a planned dinner after falling ill.

In a recent social media broadcast, Bolsonaro said his hiccups problem had started after he underwent dental surgery on 3 June, and blamed it on drugs he had been prescribed. But it’s well known that the president has had to undergo a series of surgical procedures since his stabbing, an event many believe helped propel him to the presidency. Less than two months later he won a landslide election victory against his leftwing rival, Fernando Haddad.

And since Bolsonaro sees himself as a ‘strong man leader’, of course he posted a shirtless photo from the hospital.

From his hospital bed, the president shared a photo on social media of himself shirtless, with a man who appeared to be priest touching his right shoulder, and a message reading “God willing, we’ll be back soon. Brazil is ours.”

The photo, which was accompanied with a text railing against his leftist opponents, led some to allege that Bolsonaro might be leveraging his condition for political gain. A piece in the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo said Bolsonaro’s hospitalization had allowed him to resurrect one of his “favorite personas … that of the political martyr.” It noted “that Bolsonaro did not invent his health condition” but said his current plight has “immediate utility” as he is “in one of the most pressing moments of his term.”

All of this attention comes as Bolsonaro has been plunged into what analysts call the worst moment of his two-and-a-half-year presidency, with his popularity in free fall amid mounting public anger over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and failure to secure sufficient vaccines.

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