Power

Bolsonaro used health scare to garner sympathy. He failed

President Jair Bolsonaro had hoped he would see a much-needed boost in popularity during a short stay in the hospital to treat a bowel obstruction — but the population didn't want to know

President Jair Bolsonaro had hoped he would see a much-needed boost in popularity during a short stay in the hospital to treat a bowel obstruction — but the population didn't want to know
President Bolsonaro speaks next to his personal physicians in a São Paulo private hospital. Photo: Andre Ribeiro/Brazil photo Press/Folhapress

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro spent his first working days of 2022 in a private São Paulo hospital, treating a bowel obstruction. The head of state has faced a number of digestive issues ever since he was stabbed in the abdomen during the 2018 election campaign — and, last week, Mr. Bolsonaro sought to make use of his ailment to garner sympathy from the population. 

Though the strategy has worked in the past, this time it seems to have been backfired.

Mr. Bolsonaro’s already low approval ratings are unlikely to increase at the beginning of the year, while a...

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