September 27, 2022

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Jair Bolsonaro, a president back in his bunker and his commitments

Alvorada Palace (Portuguese for “dawn” or “dawn”) is the official residence of Brazilian heads of state. On June 30, 1958, it was the first building to open in Brasilia, the country’s new capital, built by President Jucelino Kubitschek.

The work of modern architect Oscar Niemeyer, it is a monumental building of more than 7,000 square meters, a parallelogram of marble and glass, 110 meters long and 30 wide, decorated with colonnades on three levels. On the ground floor are the luxurious and spacious official stations of the palace; On the first floor, the private quarters of the President and his family; In the basement there is an entertainment area, which includes a cinema and games room and a garage.

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However, few Brazilian presidents have enjoyed a stay at Alvorada. Located on a peninsula overlooking Paranova Lake, surrounded by a garden, large lawns and protected areas, “Aurora Palace” is incredibly isolated and almost cut off from the rest of the world. At night, complete silence. Presidents sleep rough there, many have nightmares. Some claim to have seen ghosts there.

Gun on his bedside table

(…) Everyone in Brasilia knows the insomnia “myth”. The staff of the Palais de l’Orre used to see him, wandering the corridors, in flip flops, shorts and football shirts. He hadn’t slept that long. Or worse. So he sometimes sends messages to his ministers at 3 or 4 in the morning. At the beginning of his tenure, the palace doctors examined him. The result: 89 brief sleep disturbances per hour. “I hold the Brazilian record for sleep apnea! », the head of state smiled. Doctors themselves were concerned: “Mr President, how do you keep your sanity? »

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Upstairs, in his nearly 10-meter-long white room, everything unfolds quietly. Shortness of breath. (…) It’s no secret: “Legend” sleeps with a gun, placed on his bedside table. Revolver, his pledge of peace, the little peace he had left. His one and last defense against his worst nightmares. Solitude, forgetfulness, silence.

(…) In the middle of the night, when he doesn’t know where to go to escape his demons, the President takes him to the dressing room. A small room of 30 square meters, U-shaped, adjoins its spacious bedroom on the first floor. Sometimes, it also serves as his workplace. At the beginning of his mandate, he installed a computer, a desk, a chair and a buff. In this surprising place, between underwear and socks, “myth” wants to isolate himself to rule his vast country. Sometimes, he got his closest friends. Locked in this room without leaving and without danger, he can spend hours. Even through the night.

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