Leading Brazilian presidential contender Jair Bolsonaro stabbed during rally

Jair Bolsonaro, a right-wing populist presidential candidate in Brazil was stabbed in the stomach Thursday afternoon during a campaign rally in Juiz de Fora, outside Rio de Janeiro.

The 63-year-old lawmaker suffered three wounds to the abdomen, perforating parts of his lung, liver, and intestine.  After undergoing emergency two-hour surgery at a nearby hospital, Bolsonaro’s condition is listed as stable.

Hospital officials have stated Bolsonaro suffered from a 40 percent loss of blood in the attack and is expected to remain in the hospital for one week.

According to eyewitness accounts, Bolsonaro was hoisted above supporters during a walk through Juiz de Fora’s town center when he was attacked by a man wielding a kitchen knife.

The suspect, 40-year-old Adelio Obispo de Oliveira, was seized by Bolsonaro supporters and handed over to police.  A former left-wing activist, it has been reported Mr. de Oliveira was beaten by members of the crowd.

Preliminary police reports say Mr. de Oliveira suffers from a form of mental illness, although this is unconfirmed.

Following the attack, Mr. Bolsonaro suspended his Social-Liberal Party campaign for the presidency, but has vowed to remain in the race.

A leading candidate to replace President Michael Temer, Bolsonaro currently serves as a federal deputy representing Rio de Janeiro in the Brazilian Senate.  A political figure often referred to “Brazil’s Trump,” controversy often surrounds Mr. Bolsonaro for his heated rhetoric.

A campaign in which he is promising to end government corruption and institute more aggressive tactics to combat violent crime, Bolsonaro’s comments have often stunned voters and his political opponents.

Campaigning for office, Bolsonaro has often uttered demeaning remarks about homosexuals, women, and those of African descent.

Similarly, Bolsonaro has previously praised the former military dictatorship which ruled Brazil from 1964–’85, saying it should have killed more people.

Although often described as a nationalist and populist, supporters of Mr. Bolsonaro have said his political positions are more aligned with traditional conservative views against immigration, land reform, abortion, social welfare programs and affirmative action.

Initially expecting to face off against the now-jailed Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who served as Brazilian president from 2003–’11, Bolsonaro’s top rival is far-left environmental candidate Marina Silva.

Mr. Bolsonaro leads Silva and center-left candidate Ciro Gomes in public opinion polls by 10 percentage points.

The first round of Brazil’s elections are scheduled for Oct. 7; and the second round will be held Oct. 28.


[BBC] [The Rio Times] [Photo courtesy O Imparcial]