- Conservative Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was brutally stabbed during a campaign rally.
- The suspect was identified as Adélio Bispo de Oliveira, a former member of a socialist party and sympathizer of left-wing autocrats.
- The stabbing is likely to help Bolsonaro, who leads polls with his politically incorrect speaking style and pledges to restore law and order to the country.
First suspected to be mentally deranged, the man who allegedly stabbed Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was discovered to be a former member of a socialist political party and sympathizer of radically left leaders.
Conservative lawmaker Bolsonaro — who leads the polls in Brazil’s upcoming presidential election — was brutally knifed in the stomach while campaigning Thursday in the southern city of Juiz de Fora. Moving through a crowd of people on top of a supporter’s shoulders, the conservative candidate was seen wincing and falling over in pain after a man jabbed a knife into his belly.
Juiz de Fora, há pouco! pic.twitter.com/Z3M9S1pz6E
— Blog do Noblat (@BlogdoNoblat) September 6, 2018
Bolsonaro was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors repaired wounds to his small and large intestine.
“The internal injuries were serious, and the patient’s life was at risk. At the start of the surgery his condition was unstable, but we were able to bring it under control and stabilise him,” explained Dr. Luiz Henrique Borsato, who was part of a medical team that performed emergency operation on Bolsonaro. The right-wing candidate is expected to remain in the hospital for 10 days and off the campaign trail for about two weeks. Doctors said it’s too soon to know if he will ever permanently recover.
After allegedly committing the knife attack, the suspect was immediately subdued by Bolsonaro supporters and taken into police custody, where he was identified as Adélio Bispo de Oliveira. Law enforcement first suspected Oliveira to be mentally unstable since he claimed he was “on a mission from God.” (RELATED: Watch: ‘Brazilian Trump’ Brutally Stabbed During Rally)
However, further investigation into his private life reveals politics might have played a larger role in his motive.
Oliveira maintained membership in the Socialism and Liberty Party from 2007 to 2014, reported Veja magazine, according to Bloomberg. The Socialism and Liberty Party is a radically left political party in Brazil that espouses socialist, feminist and anti-capitalist views. Also notable is Oliveira’s social media activity. The suspected assailant had posted messages on his Facebook account that were critical of Bolsonaro and gave praise to Nicholas Maduro, the socialist president of Venezuela, according to the Daily Mail.
Oliveira’s lawyer told local media that his client has confessed to the attack, but is maintaining that he did not intend to kill the presidential candidate.
The incident has shaken what is already an unusual campaign season in Brazil. Bolsonaro, a longtime lawmaker, leads the pack of presidential candidates. The only candidate who has polled ahead of him is former left-wing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a man who has been officially barred from participating in the election given the fact that he is serving time in prison for corruption.
Bolsonaro has upended the Brazilian political establishment and garnered a mass following with his irreverence toward political correctness and his brash speaking style. In fact, he has been frequently referred to as the “Trump of Brazil” for his straight-shooting rhetoric.
For example, during a heated exchange in 2014 regarding military related rapes, Bolsonaro told Congresswoman Maria do Rosário — a former member of the Communist Party of Brazil — that she was too ugly to be raped. During a public speech in 2017, the father of four boys claimed his one daughter was the result of a “moment of weakness.” At a campaign rally Wednesday, Bolsonaro kicked into the crowd an inflatable doll of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the jailed former president and his left-wing rival. (RELATED: The ‘Brazilian Trump’ Leading The Presidential Race Wants To Leave The Paris Climate Accord)
However, many Brazilian citizens cite Bolsonaro’s vow to bring law and order into the country as their main reason for supporting him. Bolsonaro — who was a military officer before entering politics — has garnered a tough-man image among the electorate, many of whom crave more security during a time of rampant drug and gang-related crime.
The presidential candidate is also a supporter of free market reform, earning him a support base among the country’s business class. In fact, Brazil’s currency and stock market immediately rose upon the news of his stabbing, with investors believing the incident would foment sympathy for his candidacy and propel him closer to victory.
The first round of the presidential election will be held in October. The top two candidates of that election will move on into the runoff.
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