Political columnist Natuza Neri toured the Palacio da Alvorada (“Palace of Dawn”) on Thursday with Brazil’s new first lady, Rosangela Lula da Silva, and was shocked by what she saw. “The general state of the building, which is the most iconic in Brasilia, is not good and will require a lot of effort in terms of repair,” Neri told the audience, who was shown torn carpets and sofas, leaky ceilings, broken windows . , as well as damaged works of art.
The photographs of the ruined palace looked more like images of a dilapidated student dormitory than an architectural monument designed by one of the world’s most famous modernist architects. A tapestry by Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, one of the most celebrated Brazilian artists of the 20th century, was damaged after it was removed from a library and hung in the sun. “Unfortunately, it will have to be fully restored,” Brazil’s first lady said in a report.
Neri said several works of art had completely disappeared from the palace, which was completed in 1958, two years before then-President Juscelino Kubitschek inaugurated the purpose-built Brazilian capital. The First Lady, commonly known as Yana, added that she was “quite disappointed” and “overwhelmed” by the dilapidated state of her new home. Thus, the Brazilian cactus, planted by her husband Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during his presidency from 2003-2010, has disappeared. Bolsonaro left only a disposable pen, one of the symbols of his populist administration, on one of the empty tables in the palace.
Bolsonaro, who headed to his American mansion ahead of Lula’s inauguration last Sunday, is unlikely to return to Brazil anytime soon, The Guardian believes. He is based in Florida and reportedly fears prosecution for alleged crimes, including his unscientific response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 700,000 people in his country.
A report in the Brazilian magazine Istoé this week alleges that the former president lobbied the Italian government to grant his family citizenship and hoped to move there after a stay in the United States to avoid jail time. Bolsonaro believes that the Brazilian authorities will not be able to extradite him from the European country where his great-grandfather Vittorio Bolsonaro emigrated from at the end of the 19th century.