24 Jun

Demonstrations in Brazil: a volcano in activity

Demonstration in São Paulo (Image Marcelo Camargo, source Gazeta do Povo)

Lovely and quiet people, famous for samba and soccer, the Brazilian has shown that the hot blood runs through the veins: the volcano erupted. However, many foreigners could be surprised by asking the following question: if the economy is doing well, why so many protests? Outside, the Brazilian image was shown very positive, criticizing Brazil has become synonymous of inconvenience. However current manifestations arrived.

Once, for instance, as a student abroad, I disagreed and criticized the income transfer policy of Brazil, known as “bolsa família”( familie allowence program). This project has helped to improve the lives of many poor families, but these brazilians become extremely dependents from the government, for this reason they are easily manipulated electorally.

Here in Mexico, there is a huge surprise of the university students about Brazil when we say that the country is not well. As  foreigner ,which lives here, I try to explain: the Brazilian is suffering a lot , the cost of living is very high and we had serious problems of corruption involving government ministers from Lula and Dilma, along with several political parties, which shows a big connivance  with corruption.

Last week, the sociologist Manuel Castells lectured in São Paulo, during the event “fronteiras do pensamento”, and spoke about the subject: “All these movements, like all social movements in history, are, above all, emotional. Are not specifically a kind of claim. It is not the transport system. At some point, there is a fact that raises a great indignation … and provokes indignation, and then to feel the possibility of being together, feeling that there are many people who think the same way outside the institutional framework, comes the hope of making something different. About what? we don’t  know. But it certainly is not what is there. Certainly, it is something else. Because, fundamentally, most citizens of the world does not feel represented by democratic institutions. “

These manifestations in Brazil can be perfectly compared to those occurred in France, Egypt and Libya, they have something in common with Brazil, the fact that they mobilizations are organized by social networks, but there are importants differences: this is not an international phenomenon. Also in Brazil we elect our leaders democratically, while in Libya and Egypt it doesn’t happen, the struggle for power occurs between groups.

In Mexico, where I live currently, public transportation is virtually free, the metro costs 3 pesos equivalent to 0.50 reais( 0.2USD). Soon comes a big surprise of mexicans on the price of public transportation in Brazil: ” so in Brazil you pay  1.5 USD in transport, or 18 pesos!” In this way is possible to give a small reference  about daily difficulties of brazilian people. As the Mexicans say: “fue la gota que derramo el vaso”( something like the last straw).

I am part of a generation that parents fought against the dictatorial regime, participating in the movement  “Diretas Já”(Direct Elections Now). It is wonderful to see young people demanding basic rights, helping to improve the country, claiming for better  cities and exercising the voice of the community. The international events that will be hosted in Brazil, represent  a great opportunity to transform our urban structures. We must always be aware of powerful people, because they always act in their own benefit. This is  Brazil: a volcano that is in full activity!

Demonstration in Rio de Janeiro (Image de Marcelo Sayão, source Gazeta do Povo)

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