The Brazilian people exploded this week in a wave of protests throughout the country. The governor of the state of Sao Paulo was on a news video that went viral saying that the protests were from a very “small” group of people, that quote has run viral as showing how of touch the average politician in Brasil is about what’s going on.
Although I haven’t gone to Brasil for the last 3 years, I traveled extensively there from 1998 to 2010 and still have a lot of friends there. During that span of time I could see the incredible surge in economic development that happened in the country during that time and the rise of a huge middle class. It moved a country that the majority of it’s people were poor to middle class which was a remarkable achievement, however that achievement still happened with government corruption that people still see as rampant, and despite improvements in infrastructure and other services, there is still a lot of poor infrastructure and services.
The people just couldn’t take for one more second the vast expenditure that the government undertook to host both an olympics and a world cup in a short span. Spending that has enriched quite a lot of people in industry and government. While all those people were getting rich and investments were not made in healthcare, housing and roads, an increase in mass transit fares, which hits the poor quite harshly, was passed. I think it was a simple read for most people in Brasil, if we can afford to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in these two events why do the poor have to pay more for transport!?!
The great thing is that a huge number of middle and upper class people in Brasil agreed which is why this exploded so quickly. The mass transit rate increases were rescinded, but the demands for a better government will still continue. I don’t know how long the protests will continue, but I think it’s quite clear that the people of Brasil have spoken. Let’s see how the government reacts.
A friend in Argentina once told me a joke, it sounded like a joke to me, but I think the first person that said it was serious, he told me “We don’t want the politicians not to steal, we just don’t want them to steal EVERYTHING”. There will always be corrupt politicians, like there are corrupt businessman, clergy, etc… But let’s see if the table can be tipped in favor of the citizens?