Brazil’s Conservative Frontrunner Gives Thumbs-Up from Hospital After Stabbing

Brazilian conservative presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro gives supporters a thumbs-up from a hospital in Sao Paulo after being stabbed at a rally, September 6, 2018
Twitter/Flavio Bolsonaro

Brazilian conservative lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro, currently leading the polls in October’s presidential election, gave supporters a thumbs-up from the hospital and thanked them and the medical staff aiding him in a video posted shortly after a socialist attacker stabbed him during a campaign rally.

Police have identified the would-be assassin as 40-year-old Adélio Bispo de Oliveira. According to Brazilian media reports, Bispo de Oliveira was a longtime member of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) and dedicated much of his time on social media to disparaging Bolsonaro. During a police interrogation, Bispo de Oliveira said he was “commanded by God” to kill the candidate.

The candidate’s son, lawmaker Flavio Bolsonaro, posted a photo of the retired army campaign smiling and giving a thumbs-up to supporters from his hospital bed on Friday.

“Jair Bolsonaro is stronger than ever and soon will be elected president of Brazil in the first round!” his son wrote (Brazil requires a second runoff election if no candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote). “God has given us yet another sign that good will conquer evil! Thank you to all who have given us strength in this very difficult time!”

Bolsonaro ends the message with his father’s campaign slogan: “Brazil above everything, God above everyone!”

Shortly following the stabbing at a campaign event in Minas Gerais, where video shows Bolsonaro being carried by a crowd before someone beneath him stabs him in the abdomen, initial reports from family suggested that his wound was “superficial” and he would recover swiftly. Since then, doctors updated with the news that Bolsonaro lost nearly half of the blood in his body and suffered significant damage to some vital organs, though the knife missed his intestines and other sensitive areas by a matter of centimeters.

Eunice Dantas, a doctor at the Minas Gerais hospital where Bolsonaro received surgical intervention, told reporters that Bolsonaro lost over two liters of blood. She added that he would likely recover completely, however, as “his surgery went very well.”

Bolsonaro also posted a video to social media, where he appeared to be struggling to speak. “The pain was unbearable, and it looked like there was something more serious going on,” he said, thanking his supporters and the medical staff treating him. He added that he “never harmed anyone” but that “God had prepared us” for such an attack.

During his stay at the hospital, supporters gathered outside to express support for the leader, many having already left their homes to attend the rally where the attack occurred.

Bolsonaro was transferred to a hospital in Sao Paulo closer to home on Friday. According to son Flavio, he “had a good night” after the surgery and appeared to be recovering without incident, but will need some days to fully recover. His condition is considered “serious but stable.”

“He is a tough guy. He has exceeded expectations, is doing very well much faster than many expected, he will even be back on the street soon,” he son Flavio said.

Brazil’s most recent polls showed Bolsonaro with a ten-percent lead over the secondmost popular candidate, environmentalist leftist Marina Silva. Bolsonaro stood at around 22 percent support. He has remained in the lead in most polls since Brazil’s supreme court disqualified former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from running again after being convicted of accepting lavish bribes from contractors and being sentenced to 12 years in prison.

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