Thousands of Brazilians have protested in several cities over the past ten days, and organizers are planning for another march in Sao Paulo on Monday night.
Rising prices for public transportation was the original cause of the the protests, organized by Movimento Passe Livre. Since then, Brazilians have joined protests for various other reasons, including rising crime, income inequality, and corruption.
The protests are quickly becoming a sign of a weakening public confidence for Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The protest’s nickname “Salad Uprising” was coined in response to the arrests of those who carried vinegar with them as an aide against police tear gas.
Tumblr blog Salad Uprising is reporting to collect stories and pictures from demonstrations across Brazil (Reuters cannot confirm individual posts on external blogs; please message the Reuters on Tumblr if you seek more information on any news).
When police tried to disperse the crowd on Thursday in Sao Paulo, violence erupted, injuring dozens and leading to nearly 200 arrests.
Photo: posters read, “Dilma, we are the ones who pay for your housing” and “Communities exist.” REUTERS/Alex Almeida
Many people have asked me about this, because 1. there are a lot of Brazilian nerdfighters, 2. I am a huge fan of Brazil and see the last 20 years of its history as a model for other nations in the developing world, and 3. I like soccer a lot.
My honest opinions may be unpopular with Brazilian nerdfighters, and that’s okay. I might be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. Also, I don’t know much about Brazil, and I don’t want to pretend otherwise. But since you’re all asking:
1. 100% of the protesters’ concerns are legitimate.
2. I think the World Cup (and the Olympics) will happen regardless of whether they are a net economic good for Brazil. (I think they’ll be a net negative, but it’ll be closer than many people are saying.) Brazil has already spent more than 3 billion reals to prepare for the World Cup; yes, that is a ridiculous number, but making the World Cup a failure will not make it a less ridiculous number.
2a. Given that, I think non-Brazilians who are planning to go should go and spend a lot of money. The time to have the conversation about whether it was a bad idea to host the World Cup has passed: The cost of abandoning the World Cup (or the Olympics) at this point would be prohibitive and more damaging to the Brazilian economy than going through with it and hopefully getting a reasonable windfall from foreign tourists spending a lot of money.
3. I understand that money spent by tourists will be unevenly distributed, but that’s been the case for decades, and in Brazil at least, the rising tide really has lifted all boats: after decades of rampant inflation and extremely high poverty rates, absolute poverty has fallen by half since 1994.
3a. That said, poverty is still much higher in Brazil than it should be, and corruption remains a huge problem. (Compare Brazil’s corruption levels to Chile’s, for instance.) Income inequality is extremely high. Crime is a vexing problem, and a very complicated one. Public transportation costs should not have gone up (for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it amounts to a tax on non-rich workers, who are exactly the wrong people to tax).
4. HOWEVER: It is important to note that real and important economic progress had been made in Brazil in the last 20 years. For that progress to continue, corruption, income inequality, and crime must decrease. These protests are important because they remind the government that all is not well and that progress is fragile and only counts if it continues. They hold the government accountable to the people. But as far as the World Cup goes: Most of the money that will be spent on the World Cup has already been spent. It is gone. Let us hope that the crowds are large and that most of that money can be recouped.
Everything John Green said above is basically right but lemme add some information.
The whole thing is not only due to to public transportation costs going up. The biggest problem on the table here is the fact that the costs gone up and our transportation is a piece of crap. Many buses are not even in condition to be on the streets. Because of that, many people get into debt and buy a car so they don’t have to rely exclusevily on public transportation.
You know what is the worst thing about this? We are one of the countries paying the highest taxes in all the WORLD. The money we give to the government should, in thesis, be invested in not only public transportation but also in health, education, security, et cetera. Aaand guess what? All of that is also a piece of crap.
So, yes, World Cup should have never been allowed to happen here. But now there’s nothing we can do about this exact issue. The problem is that a lot of money is being spent on it and we citizens see nothing change for us. It actually seems that things are getting worse than before. And now let’s remind something here: the problem is not about lack of money.
Besides the amount of taxes we pay on basically everything (on gasoline, for example, more than 40% of the liter price is… wait for it…. TAXES!), Brazil is pretty rich. We have a lot of natural resources to produce energy, we plant a lot all around the country and the technology production is not all that bad. And none, none of that money turns into benefits to us (for instance, our electricity bills are pretty high when it should be a lot more cheaper).
The money is, actually, on the politicians’s pockets. The amount of public money robbed by politicians per year was enough money to end starvation, give people a better health system and better education.
So the major problem, as I said before, is not the World Cup or the Olympics (those are very beautiful events to be honest) or the money spent on it. As a brazillian, I say that the problem is that we have already given enough money to the government and we need a change. And we need a change NOW.
(PS: John Green, thanks for the input. Much of what you said about our country is true. And thanks for sticking with us even when you’re not brazillian, we need all the help we can get! :) )
literally me if i get married
this is me right now oh my god
some old work i did for a fan bbc sherlock project
This is fucking gorgeous.
I don’t care who you fucking think you are
If a kid wants to show you something they’re proud of, you better fucking act impressed
I don’t care if it’s a small score on a video game or a piece of art made of nothing but blue paint or even a fucking fake burp
You better fucking act like you just saw Jesus materialize out of thin air.