After 10 straight days of hiccups, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has been admitted to a hospital and might need emergency surgery for an intestinal obstructionBy DIANE JEANTET Associated PressJuly 14, 2021, 10:11 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleRIO DE JANEIRO — After 10 straight days of hiccups, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was admitted to a hospital Wednesday with what doctors said was an intestinal obstruction that could require emergency surgery.Bolsonaro, 66, was admitted to the Armed Forces Hospital in the capital of Brasilia early in the morning and was “feeling well,” according to an initial statement that said doctors were examining his persistent hiccups.But hours later, the president’s office said the surgeon who operated on Bolsonaro after he was stabbed in the abdomen during the 2018 presidential campaign decided to transfer him to Sao Paulo, where he will undergo additional tests to evaluate the need for an emergency surgery.Bolsonaro, who is both Catholic and evangelical, posted on his official Twitter account a photo of himself lying on a hospital bed, eyes closed, several monitoring sensors stuck to his bare torso. At the edge of the photo, a hand reaches out from an unseen person wearing what appears to be a black religious robe and a long chain with a gold cross.The 2018 stabbing caused intestinal damage and serious internal bleeding and the president has gone through several surgeries since, some unrelated to the attack.In recent weeks, Bolsonaro has appeared to struggle with speaking on various occasions and said that he suffers from recurring hiccups.“I apologize to everyone who is listening to me, because I’ve been hiccupping for five days now,” the president said in an interview with Radio Guaiba on July 7. He suggested that some medications prescribed after dental surgery might be the cause. “I have the hiccups 24 hours a day.”The following day, during his weekly Facebook Live session, Bolsonaro apologized again for not being able to express himself well due to the weeklong hiccups.Chronic hiccups are usually the manifestation of an underlying problem, such as an obstructed intestine, that might require surgery, said Dr. Anthony Lembo, a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. In some cases, part of the intestine might need to be removed, he said.“Any time you’re moving bowels it’s not a small surgery,” Lembo said, adding that in the case of repeated surgeries, as in Bolsonaro’s case, interventions get more complicated.Bolsonaro has been under growing pressure from a congressional inquiry into his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and alleged corruption in the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines. Recent polls have shown record-low approval ratings and indications that he could possibly lose next year’s election.On Tuesday night, in a 20-minute encounter with the president in Brasilia, supporters repeatedly asked him to look after his health.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says next year’s presidential election could be cancelled unless the voting system is reformedBy DIANE JEANTET Associated PressJuly 8, 2021, 7:48 PM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleRIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday ratcheted up assertions of potential fraud in next year’s presidential election, suggesting it could be canceled unless the voting system is reformed.“Either we do clean elections in Brazil, or we don’t do elections at all,” he told supporters in capital, Brasilia.For weeks, Bolsonaro has insistently cast doubt on Brazil’s electronic voting system, in place since 1996, by claiming elections have been marred by fraud, most recently his own in 2018. He says he should have won without a runoff. The nation’s electoral tribunal last month ordered him to present any evidence of fraud, which he has yet to do.This week, Bolsonaro said during a live broadcast on social media he could reject 2022 election results if he loses.Bolsonaro has been pushing for Congress to approve a constitutional reform that would add printouts of each vote to the electronic system. Were the change implemented, a receipt for each electronic vote would be visible to the voter before being deposited into a sealed ballot box.Bolsonaro and others in favor of the reform say that would allow for a manual recount in case of suspicion of irregularities. Those against, including the current and future presidents of the electoral tribunal, all three of whom are also Supreme Court justices, say the current system already enables an audit and the change would merely create leeway for baseless claims of fraud.Bolsonaro is trailing his nemesis, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, in early polling, and his claims of fraud have led analysts to express concern that he may be laying the groundwork for his own version of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in Washington where supporters of Donald Trump alleged he had been robbed of victory.
Police in Rio de Janeiro are evicting hundreds of homeless families from a tent city on land owned by Brazil’s state-run oil company PetrobrasBy DIANE JEANTET Associated PressJuly 1, 2021, 6:30 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleRIO DE JANEIRO — Police started evicting several hundred homeless families from a recently established tent city near Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, an event that underscored Brazil’s resurgent poverty during the pandemic.Televised images showed residents blocking the entrance to the campsite with bonfires as police launched tear gas canisters and fired water cannons at the tents. With the Southern Hemisphere in the heart of its winter, the city was experiencing one of its coldest mornings on record.The forced removal in Itaguai followed a court decision in favor of the land’s owner, Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras. The residents had occupied the plot since May and baptized it the “First of May Refugee Camp.”“They’re cowards,” said one tearful and angry resident, Ana Paula de Oliveira, 27. “Here no one is armed, or a drug addict or drug trafficker. … We just want to exercise our right to housing.”Another woman appeared on the Globo News television channel begging for help. “I’m a domestic worker,” the unidentified resident said through tears. “The woman fired me because of the pandemic. Help me, please: I have nowhere to go, I don’t have any family.”Shantytowns have emerged in several cities across Brazil, reflecting a surge of poverty after the government pared back one of the world’s most generous pandemic welfare programs. That left many exposed to soaring inflation as the nation’s weak job market has yet to show signs of recovery.According to the national statistics agency, some 14.8 million people were unemployed in the three months through April, or nearly 15% of the population. That tied the level recorded in the first quarter of 2021 that was the highest since the data series began in 2012.Rio’s police department said on its official Twitter account that the eviction was part of a legal process to recover the plot of land, but didn’t immediately reply to questions about how many families were there and whether they had been any injuries.Petrobras said in a statement that, in compliance with the court order, the company had provided hand sanitizer and face masks and offered transport to three nearby bus stations.By early afternoon, backhoes were demolishing the encampment. Children could seen carrying their families’ few belongings out of the area as police holding clubs stood watch.A federal oil workers’ union that had been helping families with donations issued a statement Thursday condemning “the attitude of Petrobras’ management and the violence of the police in the eviction of hundreds of families who have nowhere to go.”— Associated Press journalist Diarlei Rodrigues contributed to this report.