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article imageOp-Ed: Protests in Brazil — What really lies behind

By J.N. Paquet     Jun 27, 2013 in Politics
It all started with the 20-cent increase of the bus fares. A small increase that was going to have some serious consequences on people’s budget. A just cause worth fighting for.
But what really lies behind the Brazilian demonstration is the people’s disgust at the waste, mismanagement and endless increase of the cost of staging the World Cup in Brazil, reaching the federal budget for education in 2013, R$28 billion (about £8 billion) and expected to reach over R$33 billion in total (about £10 billion).
The billions of Reais spent on building and renovating stadiums for the FIFA competition could have provided the communities with 8,000 new schools, 39,000 school buses, 28,000 sports facilities.
Speaking in a YouTube video, Romário, a former football player of the national team turned congressman, said that “the money spent in Mané Garrincha Stadium (in the country’s capital, Brasília) could have been used to build 150,000 homes for people of low income, medium income or no income.”
Worse: some of the stadiums (in Manaus, Cuiabá and Brasília for example) especially built for the competition will NEVER be used after the World Cup! No legacy at all. A total waste of public money that rightly angers the population.
Promises of investment in the public transports have remained promises only. Violent home evictions without any prior negotiation have also taken place so that the stadiums and their neighbourhoods attract tourists.
The clear winner in the whole process of preparation to the World Cup is FIFA. Brazil had to create some new exceptional legislation (the Lei Geral da Copa, or Cup’s General Law) to meet FIFA requirements and ensure the interests of FIFA and its partners, which includes the characterization of new offenses to protect the brands and the exclusive partners of FIFA.
Human Rights Violations have also been noticed with, for example, the right to information and participation in decision-making processes. Projects associated with the World Cup and the Olympics are not subject to any public debate.
The World Cup, however, is not the only reason why “o Gigante” (“the Giant”) Brazil has finally awakened. People were simply fed up to see that, whatever the judges decide, corrupt politicians always manage to get out of troubled water completely dry. Whatever local, regional or federal government, the spendings were perpetually on the increase, the cost of living continuously on the increase too, but the standard of living was lowering for the people in every city and town in Brazil. Whatever local, regional or federal government, the taxpayers’ money was simply wasted between the politics’ own expenditures as people’s representatives and aberrant decisions wasting sometimes millions of reais for here a ridiculous statue, there a building that is not solid or a swimming pool that will never be used.
Some Brazilian politicians are absolutely not afraid to say frankly where they stand: “I don’t give a damn about the public opinion. You can beat us, we will be re-elected anyway.” Congressman Sérgio Moraes was, for example, reported to have said. Shameless.
Others believe in a Cura Gay (“gay cures”).
Brazil is a deeply religious country where being gay or lesbian is unfortunately not yet easily accepted. Gays are often the subject of practical jokes and mockery, even on TV.
What makes it worse is when a Brazilian congressional human rights committee approves a bill that allows psychologists to treat homosexuality as a “disorder.”
The committee is led by an evangelical pastor, Congressman Marco Feliciano, a man who is not foreign to frauds and controversies. He once said that the assassination of John Lennon, in 1980, had been a “divine vengeance”. Feliciano denies being xenophobic (“I’m no racist: my mother is black and I went to Africa”) although he has already posted content that was considered racist (“Africans descend from an ancestor cursed by Noah”) and homophobic rants on his Twitter account (“Being gay is hateful, sick and against the rule of God” and “AIDS is a gay cancer”).
Yet, the man is the President of the Human Rights and Minorities Committee at the Brazilian Parliament!
The Committee seeks to lift a ban on the so-called “gay cures” in place since 1999. Brazilian psychologists have called on the government and the commission to vote against the proposed bill.
Joao Campos, a friend of Feliciano explains that “in practice, a person over 18 years old, responsible for his actions, who is homosexual and wants to reorient his sexuality, can be attended by a psychologist.”
Aren't those people who pretend to have moral value and instead preach against gay rights and gay union, who believe that homosexuality is a disease and are in favour of ‘gay cures’, who don’t hesitate to judge, spit their poison at, and hurt homosexuals in fact secretly afraid of their own sexual orientation? That would explain why they want to create limits in our society and why they cannot stand facing the truth that we are all equals.
One of the other causes the demonstrators were fighting for was a proposed constitutional amendment known as PEC 37 (or “PEC of Impunity”), which aimed at limiting the power of federal criminal investigation police and civilians in corruption cases in which politicians are involved.
Another very popular cause the protesters were demonstrating for was the removal of the President of the Brazilian Senate, Renan Calheiros, who was accused six years ago of accepting money from a lobbyist, of income tax fraud and the use of fake identity to buy a stake in a radio station. The senate voted against his impeachment on the lobby funds accusation. His re-election as president of the Senate in February 2013 had provoked anger among the population and resulted on the creation of an online petition demanding his impeachment. It has been signed by more than 1.3 million Brazilians!
Another demand from the protesters was the creation of a law that would make corruption a heinous crime, so that the Brazilian society finally regards it as a serious act deeply disgusting, nasty and offending common moral values such as solidarity and respect for human dignity.
Whatever happens in the weeks, months and years to come, the Brazilian People have shown that from now on it wants to be heard and taken seriously by its leaders, by the politics. When a protest is relevant, it can be heard without violence, the Brazilian people already proved it!
The problem with the media, common to every country where a protest takes place, is that they usually are quite conservative on the actual number of demonstrators.
However, there is a fine line between being careful with the information they broadcast or publish and changing or even hiding the evidence, the Truth.
During the 2013 protest, the demonstrators have quickly understood that the main TV channel Globo was portraying them as violent protesters and criminals, showing long reports on the violence and the riot police fighting their way to suppress the destructions using rubber bullets and pepper spray.
A backlash immediately followed with thousands of Brazilians going online and sharing on social media Facebook and Twitter their pictures and comments on the way they felt betrayed by the media.
Besides the signs demanding for changes in Brazil, some demonstrators had their own signs directed at the media: some “Globo liars!” or “Don’t watch TV! Come into the street!”
When broadcasting from the streets, the reporters of Globo had to remove the logo of the TV channel from their microphones, as it could have been considered as a provocation.
Of course, some little criminals, who had nothing to do with the protests, were taking advantage of the situation to provoke the police, destroy public and private properties, burning broadcasting vans, destroying shop windows and stealing items, breaking into cash points to steal the money inside, etc. but they were a minority.
Some of the media, especially Globo, were giving them the importance they didn’t deserve in such a pacific and peaceful protest. What a shame really!
Nothing will ever be the same again. Brazilians in London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Sydney have all shown their support to the cause.
Together, the Brazilian People at home and overseas have created something quite exceptional that children will learn generation after generation: the first ever GLOBAL borderless pacific revolution in History!
When even Brazil football legends Ronaldo and Pelé end up considered traitors by their own people, after their unfortunate words supporting the World Cup and football instead of supporting the people of Brazil in the streets, it means a lot about what Brazil has now become.
Brazil can be proud of its people for they have become role models for the next generations of pacific protesters, for all the people of the world too!
We can somehow all claim it very loud:
“We are all Brazilians!”
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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