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Thread: Brazil

  1. #1
    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Arrow Brazil



    A summary below from The Economist, which doesn't quite answer my main question: "What the heck?" Anybody have any direct connection to this? Words of wisdom, perspective, notions of what's going down?

    -------------------------

    Protests in Brazil
    The streets erupt

    WITH stunning speed, protests that started on June 6th in São Paulo over a 20-centavo (nine-cent) hike in bus fares have morphed into the biggest street demonstrations Brazil has seen since more than 20 years ago, when citizens took to the streets to demand the impeachment of their president on corruption charges. The first protests were dismissed by paulistanos unsympathetic to the organisers, Movimento Passe Livre (The Movement for Free Travel), a radical group with the unrealistic aim of making public transport free at the point of use. Commuters were unimpressed by having already hellish journeys made even worse by road closures and outraged by the vandalism committed by a hard core. The city’s conservative newspapers called for the police to crack down.

    All that changed on June 13th when the state’s unaccountable, ill-trained and brutal military police turned a mostly peaceful demonstration into a terrifying rout. Dozens of videos, some from journalists, others from participants and bystanders, show officers with their name tags removed firing stun grenades and rubber bullets indiscriminately at fleeing protesters and bystanders and hunting stragglers through the streets. Motorists trapped in the mayhem ended up breathing pepper spray and tear gas. Demonstrators found with vinegar (which can be used to lessen the effect of tear gas) were arrested. Several journalists were injured, two shot in the face with rubber bullets at close range. One has been told he is likely to lose his sight in one eye. The following day’s editorials took a markedly different tone.

    By June 17th what has become dubbed the “V for Vinegar” movement or “Salad Revolution” had spread to a dozen state capitals as well as the federal capital, Brasília. The aims had also grown more diffuse, with marchers demanding less corruption, better public services and control of inflation. Many banners protested against the disgraceful cost of the stadiums being built for next year’s football World Cup. Brazil has already spent 7 billion reais, three times South Africa’s total four years earlier, and only half the stadiums are finished. “First-world stadiums; third-world schools and hospitals”, ran one placard.

    The marchers too were more diverse. An estimated 65,000 participated in São Paulo, with many more women, families and middle-aged folk than at previous protests. The state security-chief, Fernando Grella Vieira, met organisers earlier in the day and agreed a route; he gave the military police orders not to use rubber bullets and to stand by unless the protest turned violent. The result was a mostly peaceful, even joyous event.

    Most marches in other cities passed off without serious violence too, though in Rio de Janeiro protesters and police clashed outside the Maracanã stadium, refurbished at a cost of over 1 billion reais for the World Cup—just six years after its last pricey rebuild. It was no coincidence that violence broke out in Rio, whose police are trigger-happy and corrupt even by Brazilian standards. In Brasília a group of demonstrators managed to scale the roof of Congress, but the police there reacted with restraint.

    Similar escalations after seemingly minor flash points in recent years in Britain, France, Sweden and Turkey have appeared to be linked to some or all of the following features: government repression, high youth-unemployment, racial conflict, falling living standards and anger over immigration. Brazil is a different story. Its democracy is stable. Youth unemployment is at a record low. Brazilian racism is an internalised reality, not a daily street battle—and anyway, most of the marchers were white. The past decade has seen the most marked sustained rise in living standards in the country’s history. As for immigrants, though Brazil was built by them it now has hardly any. Only 0.5% of the population was born abroad.

    None of this is to say that Brazilians have nothing to complain about: they pay the highest taxes of any country outside the developed world (36% of GDP) and get appalling public services in return. Violent crime is endemic; crack cocaine is sold and consumed openly in every big city centre. A minimum-wage worker in São Paulo’s centre whose employer does not cover transport costs (an obligation for formal employees) will spend a fifth of gross pay to spend hours a day on hot, overcrowded buses that trundle in from the city’s periphery. But this is nothing new in a country of gaping inequality—and in fact economic growth in the past decade has brought the biggest gains to those at the bottom of the heap.

    So, why now? One reason is surely a recent spike in inflation, which is starting to eat into the buying power of the great majority of Brazilians who are still getting by on modest incomes, just as a big ramp-up in consumer credit in recent years has left them painfully overstretched. Bus fares have not risen for 30 months (mayors routinely freeze fares in municipal-election years, such as 2012, and in January this year the mayors of Rio and São Paulo agreed to wait until June before hiking in order to help the federal government massage the inflation figures). In fact, the rise in São Paulo’s and Rio’s bus fares comes nowhere close to matching inflation over that 30-month period. But bus fares are under government control, unlike other fast-rising costs such as those for housing and food. Perhaps they were simply chosen as a scapegoat.

    More broadly, the very middle class that Brazil has created in the past decade—40m people have escaped from absolute poverty, but are still only one paycheck from falling back into it, and 2009 was the first year in which more than half the population could be considered middle class—is developing an entirely new relationship with the government. They see further improvements in their living standards as their right and will fight tooth and nail not to fall back into poverty. And rather than being grateful for the occasional crumb thrown from rich Brazilians’ tables, they are waking up to the fact that they pay taxes and deserve something in return. Perhaps their government’s triumphalism over those shiny new stadiums was the final straw.

    Correction: we wrongly said above that Brazil had so far spent 3.3 billion reais on its World Cup stadiums. The correct figure is 7 billion reais ($3.2 billion).
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  2. #2
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    Absolutily nothing at all. According to a girlfriend of mine it are mostly students, but she has never been there she lives in Mexico

  3. #3
    Horse Archer Senior Member Sarmatian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    They're angry because they feel the government is spending too much on the World Cup, while a lot of people live in squalor.

    Nothing more to it, I assume...
    Last edited by Sarmatian; 06-19-2013 at 15:14.

  4. #4
    Standing Up For Rationality Senior Member Ronin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    What I take from our media here in Portugal:

    - People are pissed off over a number of issues that go from the price of public transports, general government irresponsibility and corruption, and the money spend on things like the world cup and the Olympic games instead of being invested in health and education.

    There are even people in Brazil asking for a boycott on the world cup:


    now, this video raises a number of valid and truthful points, but in my opinion ends up with choosing a wholly irrational course of action.
    The world cup is NEXT YEAR, the majority of the money has already been spent.
    if they wanted to protest against this thing, they should have done it before the stadiums were built/rebuilt, the money is gone now, the best thing to do at the moment is hope that people DO come and maybe they can recover some of the investment.

    What I take from my personal life and the local strip club:

    - Brazilian girls are hella hot and that ass just won´t quit!
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  5. #5
    Ranting madman of the .org Senior Member Fly Shoot Champion, Helicopter Champion, Pedestrian Killer Champion, Sharpshooter Champion, NFS Underground Champion Rhyfelwyr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    Heh, Brazil is one of my favourite films, it possibly gets the top spot. Never mind 1984 or your communists or fascists or utopians - Brazil captures the real danger and nature of tyranny that we face nowadays.

    I'm not sure what to make of the protests. I wonder if they are in some way part of a wider phenomena - somehow related to the protests across the Middle East and Turkey.

    Of course they always take on a local flavour and people tend to express their grievances as such, but I think they share certain things in common. Discontent with quite general issues like corruption, increasingly social inequality, a lack of some vague sense of 'democracy' etc. And, I suspect - a pretty large role played by social media in organising them, which would be reflected in the number of young student types taking part.

    It seems another thing they all have in common is the completely disproportionate response of the authorities, which in all cases seems to have escalated things exponentially.

    But it's too early days with Brazil to know exactly what is going on.
    At the end of the day politics is just trash compared to the Gospel.

  6. #6
    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarmatian View Post
    They're angry because they feel the government is spending too much on the World Cup, while a lot of people live in squalor.

    Nothing more to it, I assume...
    Brazil has been in a near constant state of urban warfare for a few years now. It was only a matter of time before the reactions came.
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

  7. #7
    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    If old-school Sepultura songs are anything to go by, life in Brazil has been pretty brutal for a while.

    The World Cup award happened just as the world's financial situation started falling apart. Not sure why they doubled down with the Olympic bid.
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  8. #8
    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    So whilst the government has been investing in big corporate events such as the World Cup and the Olympics both of which have poor reputations for corruption, the people are living in squalid conditions. New stadiums, transport for the rich tourists such as buses, trains and airport upgrades.

    So essentially the private Brazilians who have no coverage want more infrastructure and a landing stip won't do.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Brazil

    I agree with Rhyfelwyr about Brazil being a great movie :)
    Enormous amounts of money changing hands (check)
    Money flowing into the "right" hands (check)
    Pillaging the treasury behind a screen of National(!) whatever (check)
    What was the problem again?
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  10. #10
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    Brazil wants to flaunt it's developing economy to the rest of the world while half of its own population lives in poverty. And this is South America we are talking about here, did anyone expect anything different?
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  11. #11
    Apr 04-Nov 11 Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brazil

    Implying that money would be spent on "the people"

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