‘It’s party time’: Jair Bolsonaro opens themed online store
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‘It’s party time’: Jair Bolsonaro opens themed online store

May 22, 2023

Products include ‘party kits’ with hats, cake decorations and banners bearing Brazilian ex-president’s face

Some politicians go on lucrative speaking tours when their days in power are done. Others start foundations, distill whiskey, raise cattle or buy luxury sheds.

Jair Bolsonaro has chosen a different path and opened a shop where, for the price of a hardback, you can order a Bolsonaro-themed birthday pack complete with party hats, cake decorations and a plastic banner carrying a festive message from Brazil’s former president.

“It’s party time, alright?” reads the poster’s slogan, below a portrait of the grinning populist. The far-right “party kit” costs 149.99 reais, or just under £24.

The party paraphernalia is the latest offering from the online Bolsonaro store, which opened in February, one month after his followers ran riot through Brazil’s capital to protest at his defeat in last year’s election.

“If there’s a birthday party theme cooler than this, I’m not aware of it,” read a post on the shop’s Instagram account accompanying a photograph of Bolsonaro’s politician son, Eduardo, sporting a conical hat featuring an image of his father.

Critics of Brazil’s former leader have derided the internet emporium as a wretched and melancholy coda to a political career they hope is finally over, after Bolsonaro was banned from seeking office last month for peddling “appalling lies” during the acrimonious 2022 election.

Writing in the newspaper O Globo on Tuesday, one conservative columnist asked readers: “Is Bolsonaro really [politically] dead?”

The pundit in question, Merval Pereira, admitted that writing off any politician was foolish: “They say even rock bottom contains a trampoline.

“Right now, however, the ex-president … looks like he’s heading inevitably towards the end of his career,” Pereira concluded, predicting his subject would end up leading a small, radical faction on the Brazilian far-right.

Members of that faction this week voiced delight at their leader’s transition from party politics to party hats. “My birthday’s only in February but I want to reserve mine now,” wrote one enthusiast from rural São Paulo, a stronghold of Bolsonaro support.

Other Bolsonaristas celebrated the “patriotic decorations” as a way of scaring off unwelcome partygoers belonging to Brazil’s tofu-eating wokerati. “The perfect repellent for infiltrated lefties,” wrote one.

Party hats are not the only merch on offer at the former president’s store, where products can be paid for in up to 12 instalments. There are notebooks (£9.30), beer mugs (£11), key rings (£3.95) and stickers (£1.50) carrying Bolsonaro’s catchphrase: “Brazil above everything! God above all!”

And there is a 14-page calendar remembering some of the “most important achievements” of Bolsonaro’s turbulent 2019-2023 presidency, when more than 700,000 Brazilians died of Covid, Amazon deforestation soared, and Brazil became a pariah in the world.

The calendar’s price was recently slashed from £9.50 to £7.90. “Our dream is more alive than ever!” reads the motto on its cover, although many Brazilians are not so sure.