Brazil's Bolsonaro Has Been Hospital For Intestinal Issues After 10 Days Of Hiccups

Jul 15, 2021
Originally published on July 15, 2021 6:48 pm
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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is still in the hospital after being airlifted to Sao Paulo earlier this week. He's being treated for a possible intestinal obstruction. This is the latest in a string of health scares for Bolsonaro since 2018, when he was stabbed while on the campaign trail. As NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, it comes amid a drop in his popularity and intense criticism for his handling of the pandemic.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Doctors of the Vila Nova Star Hospital in Sao Paulo say President Bolsonaro is, quote, "evolving in a satisfactory manner." But they didn't give a timeline for when he might leave the hospital. The president was flown to the facility from the capital Brasilia on Wednesday to possibly unblock an obstructed intestine.


EDUARDO BOLSONARO: (Non-English language spoken).

KAHN: Bolsonaro's son Eduardo, a legislator, posted a video to Telegram saying that nearly a liter of liquid had been removed from his father's stomach, alleviating much pain. Bolsonaro has undergone seven surgeries due to complications since being stabbed in the abdomen by a mentally ill assailant more than three years ago. For the past few weeks, Bolsonaro has looked ill, sounding unwell during several public events.


PRESIDENT JAIR BOLSONARO: (Non-English language spoken).

KAHN: Last Friday, at the opening of a university fair in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, Bolsonaro can be seen visibly hiccupping. He later told a radio station he had the hiccups 24 hours a day, some reports said for up to 10 days. His hospitalization comes at a difficult time for him politically; his popularity is plummeting.

MAURICIO SANTORO: It is his worst political moment since the beginning of his administration.

KAHN: Mauricio Santoro is a political scientist at the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

SANTORO: People are so angry right now, and they want answers. They want vaccines.

KAHN: He says Bolsonaro is facing much criticism for his handling of the COVID pandemic. More than half-a-million Brazilians have died. Officials are looking into allegations that Bolsonaro's administration sought kickbacks when they purchased COVID-19 vaccines.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

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