Is Brazil heading for change?

Whilst thinking about a topic for my next blog post, I couldn’t really ignore the protests currently happening throughout Brazil. Even in Belo Horizonte, reportedly 120,000 people marched to the Mineirão stadium on Saturday whilst the Confederations Cup match took place inside. Things turned messy as a minority intent on meaningless (not to mention pointless) violence tarnished the messages which the innocent protesters had gathered to voice. I couldn’t help but gawp at the lack of intelligence of these vandals: who exactly do they think will be footing the bill for all the damage? Do they not realise they are on TV? It reminded me of the London riots last year.

Entre os "Vândalos" / Among the Thugs

Entre os “Vândalos” / Among the Thugs (Photo credit: Fernando H. C. Oliveira)

I haven’t written about this topic before now, because I don’t think there is much that I can add which hasn’t already been said again and again in the news. On the one hand, I think it is great that people are speaking up about what they believe is right and wrong, even if there are mixed causes and no clear leadership. The government simply cannot ignore action on this scale, especially at a time when the world is watching Brazil.

On the other hand, I think the people turning this into negative publicity for Brazil with their “don’t come to the World Cup” messages haven’t got all of their facts straight. It is indeed too late to be protesting about the cost of the World Cup, and in fact most Brazilians do (or at least did) want their country to host the event. I am worried about this kind of action occurring again during the World Cup next year and spoiling the event for thousands of sporting fans, rendering all that money spent pointless.

I’m also skeptical about the outcome of all this action. On the question of whether anything significant and lasting will come of it, the brazilians I’ve spoken to are divided in their opinions. Brazilians are a highly optimistic bunch, on the whole, yet still there are people who believe nothing will change.

I think that The Economist sums up the situation much better than I can, in their article ‘Protests in Brazil: Taking to the streets‘.

I, like everyone in Brazil right now, will be watching with interest over the next few weeks to see how the protests evolve and how the government responds. Lets hope that there is real change on the horizon.


6 responses to “Is Brazil heading for change?

  1. It’s interesting as I too have been holding off from commentating as a Brit with a few year’s of experience living here. I may write soon though, but in the meantime it was great to hear your thoughts. The Telegraph and Guardian seem to have been doing quite well giving well-balanced and more in-depth commentaries.

  2. Parei aqui procurando opiniões de estrangeiros sobre o Brasil e li alguns posts. Como nativo brasileiro, carioca da gema, ouvidor de samba e capoeirista, achei suas opiniões interessantes e incontáveis vezes engraçadas. Assim, me sinto obrigado a comentar. 1.Português não é sexista, você não avaliou (à época) palavras suficientes. Os substantivos masculinos e femininos ficam meio a meio – ou quase. 2.Também acho o preparo das comidas exagerado, as minhas preparo com pouco sal e açúcar – muitas vezes sem. 3. Achei engraçado nos achar tão comunicativos. Como universitário, ainda sinto pressão de aprender a me comunicar mais para o mercado de trabalho – e não sou tímido, mas bem extrovertido até. 4. Sobre cirurgias, também achamos feios os exageros. Não somos cegos, mas é o que você disse: com muita pressão tem gente que perde a cabeça. 5.”brazilian bottom”, God has blessed us with great bodies. What can we do? … A propósito, vi um jornalista americano essa semana falando sobre pelos, segundo ele somos impiedosos, “No prisioners!”. Morri de rir. 6.Você fez algumas críticas como ao trânsito, falta de infraestrutura básica, educação. A melhor análise sobre os protestos é que nós sempre reconhecemos que tínhamos essas falhas, mas estávamos acomodados. E agora explodiu tudo de uma vez. 7.Você precisa provar coração de galinha, é delicioso! Nem é nojento ao paladar. 8.Não há nada de incomum aqui com uma mulher branca e loira. Somos bem misturados no Brasil, isso não é tão incomum. Ruivas são ainda mais incomuns, por exemplo. Provavelmente o idioma acaba chamando mais atenção. 9.Eu tenho uma dúvida: alemães parecem ter a língua colada, russos parecem estar dando marretadas, franceses parecem metidos, espanhóis são excessivamente apegados aos “L”s e aos “N”s. Como soa o português de fora? Ouvi falar que é feio também. O inglês não tem nada demais pra mim, acho que também já estou muito acostumado a ouvi-lo. É isso, tchau.

  3. This is comes from what ive recently wrote in my blog – ” Surely, it would be foolish to hope for the quick, fundamental changes, but it is good to remember that every step we take towards a better life is the step towards a better future.There can not be any doubt what we are doing today will reflect on our tomorrow . Our people are unhappy with the politicians, PT party, former president Lula and the current one Dilma, but it is them [PT,Lula and Dilma] and people like them we should thank for the legacy of democratic revolt, if it can be called such, they bequeath us. What is happening now is clearly a result of what our current leaders [then rebels] were doing in the sixties. Therefore the process of transformation is ever on-going and will continue being such for some time. My estimation is that it will take a couple of generations to give our house a thorough clean up provided nothing too calamitous befalls Brazil and interrupts the process.

    At this very moment it is impossible to say how it will all play out in the end. Even so, Brazilian ”revolution” is a smashing success almost in spite of itself. Among the important results are :

    1. Stark realization that our government does not represent our people and must be submitted to the most rigorous reform.(unsurprisingly none of the politicians have expressed any perceivable support of the protests) The same goes for our ”vendida” mass media (The twisted, third-rated, lopsided coverage has left little doubt whom [Globo] protects and serves ) Sadly the local celebrities have disappointed too by electing to remain neutral preferring not to take sides.

    2. A new feeling of unity among Brazilians, where seemingly there had been none.

    3. Plenty of publicity for the righteous cause.

    4. Realization there is tremendous power lies dormant within the people.

    5. The inescapable conclusion that we still have a long way to go before making the cheap thugs in our government understand what is it we want of them.

    In the end, lets just say that this is just a beginning. Its going to take a bit of time. But even though the recent events have mostly resulted in a stand-off, the attitudes they represent will have wide-reaching repercussions.”

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