By Edy Bestle
(LL Editor’s Note: News outlets have been reporting over the rising protests, the biggest in 20 years, to hit Brazil. The following piece provides insight into the unrest that a country making preparations to host the 2016 Olympics and currently hosting the FIFA Confederation Cup is facing from its own people who are demanding a better quality of life.)
There have been more than 200 demonstrations in Sao Paulo this year. Two thousand last year. In none of those demonstrations were there serious problems with police. As in the last demonstration that took place in this city, the others were peaceful. But this time, it was joined by more than 250,000 people in Sao Paulo and other capitals of Brazil, as well as, in other countries supporting this national cry.
Since last Thursday, June 13th, there has been a demonstration every evening in Brazilian cities — and the huge number of people participating is definitely commanding the world’s attention.
And it is about time that the world is aware of what is going on here, below the Equator Line, as we say.
The population, in general, is quite unhappy with government decisions, and we have been complaining a lot but as lonely voices.
These series of demonstrations exploded last Thursday because of an increase of R$0.20 in cost to ride public transportation. In reality, the R$0.20 represents less than a dime, but it’s more than 6.7 percent increase. Considering that the minumum wage is approximatelly US$322.00, the impact of these twenty cents gets clear.
Prior to our election, politicians promised free transportation, large investiments in health, education and security. Contrary to those promises, public health was cast aside, education is nonexistent, and we are far from being safe.
The huge investments in soccer stadiums is an outrage!
A high number of people are NOT for the soccer competitions that are taking place now and next year here in Brazil. And we believe that the high sums of money spent on those arenas could be better used to benefit all people.
The protests were organized by young people, basically, with no interferance of any political party. They used their social networks, especially Facebook, to set the date, time and meeting points for the demonstrations.
All of this outrage stems from the diversion of funds — a critical issue in a country plagued with corruption, lying, dishonesty and embezzlement. Words that describe the order of business in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, where the politicians ‘are’…instead of working for the good of the people.
The video is of protesters in a Sao Paulo subway station singing the country’s national anthem.
Edy Bestle is an entrepreneur who resides in Sao Paulo, Brazil.