Brazil’s Bolsonaro leaves hospital, says will be working Monday

Far-right leader was admitted to hospital last week for an intestinal blockage after suffering days of chronic hiccups.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to the media as he leaves Vila Nova Star hospital, where he was treated due to an obstructed intestine, in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 18 [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has left the Sao Paulo hospital where he was being treated for an intestinal blockage since last week, saying he would be back at his desk on Monday and was looking forward to eating barbecued ribs.

The far-right leader was admitted on Wednesday to the Vila Nova Star hospital because of abdominal pain and several days of constant hiccups.

He has said the problem relates to a 2018 stabbing he suffered on the presidential campaign trail. Since then, Bolsonaro has undergone six operations, five of which were on his digestive system.

On Saturday, the Vila Nova Star had said the president was being put on a diet of soups and purees and could be discharged in the coming days.

“I’ll be back in the presidency tomorrow,” Bolsonaro told reporters as he left the hospital on Sunday.

“I had to undergo a diet, I did what had to be done … I wanted to leave from day one, but they didn’t let me. I hope in 10 days I’ll be eating barbecued ribs, eating anything,” he said.

“It seems that my stomach was on fire. The cause was an intestinal obstruction, which is common in those like me that have undergone surgery, after the stabbing.”

Bolsonaro has faced mounting pressure to account for his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

There had been fears Bolsonaro, 66, might need surgery to clear the obstruction, although that was quickly ruled out.

The hospital said in a statement that Bolsonaro will remain under observation from an assisting medical team as an outpatient.

His medical team also advised him to go on a diet, but Bolsonaro said he may not comply.

“I’ll try to follow, but I’m not an example to anyone when it comes to diet,” he said.

Bolsonaro’s hospitalisation comes as he is facing widespread criticism and political pressure for his handling of the coronavirus crisis in Brazil, which has killed at least 541,000 people in the South American country, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

A COVID-19 sceptic who had dismissed the virus as just “a little flu”, Bolsonaro has defended his policies, saying coronavirus-related shutdowns would harm Brazil’s economy.

Over the past month, Bolsonaro also has been accused of failing to respond to alleged irregularities in the health ministry involving the procurement of a COVID-19 vaccine from India, and new allegations surfaced that Bolsonaro was involved in a scheme to skim his aides’ salaries when he was a federal deputy.

He has denied all the accusations against him.

But the president could face a stiff challenge in next year’s presidential elections, as Brazil’s former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is expected to run against him – and recent polls have shown Lula could defeat Bolsonaro.

The former army captain’s popularity also has been slipping. A Datafolha poll released this month showed 54 percent of Brazilians said they would support impeaching him.

Source: News Agencies