Demonstrations in Brazil- A Ray of Hope for Order and Progress

Discussion in 'Brazil' started by jbcarioca, Jun 24, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    There has been extensive worldwide coverage of the massive demonstrations here in Brazil. Some of it has been accurate, some not so. The current situation is unprecedented here and I recall nothing quite like it elsewhere.

    First, as has been documented in local press but not much abroad, these demonstrations have been unique in that all socio-economic classes have been well represented. From the ultra-wealthy to the impoverished all are represented, with a skew to the upscale.

    Second, with rare exceptions the demonstrations have been peaceful. Where they have not been the prevailing impression is that the responses have been provoked by military police actions including rubber bullets and tear gas, but reliable information on that is hard to come by.

    Third, there is no defined leadership. The social media calls are numerous and spread very very quickly using many channels. People show up as if coordinated because the places and times are about what anyone would expect. It looks coordinated, but really is not. An activist friend who is a biologist-mathematician likens it to bee swarms, in which responses to the same stimuli appear more coordinated than they really are.

    Fourth, The single most focussed point is anti-corruption called "impunidade". From the mensalão sandal, to perpetual huge project overruns, to bus companies (controlled by a few people, busses are poorly maintained, have hundreds of up paid traffic fines, constant accidents, rising fares), infrastructure projects that fail but have gigantic cost, rapidly rising salaries and benefits for politicians.

    Fifth, this is not directed to a single political party but it is most negative towards the PT. However, continuing focus is placed on proposed law PEC37 which is intended to protect former President Lula from prosecution for his involvement in corruption, including mensalão. All this is showing the famously anti-corruption PT to be just as corrupt as those who came before.

    Sixth, nobody I know, from my ultra-right-wing relatives to my Communist relatives (a range not uncommon in families here) argues against these demonstrations. The press is reporting as much as 99% approval for these activities, which seems impossible but seems to be true.

    Finally, most people here think this is a clear proof that democracy can actually work in Brazil. The ruling party is in an excruciatingly difficult position because these demonstrations are about many of the same points for which many officials, including President Dilma, were imprisoned during the dictatorship. Now they are doing the same things their contemptible predecessors did, and the people are holding them accountable.

    I have quoted no news reports, assuming most people have read them. These are my views. I'll be out on the streets myself later today.
     
  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    By the way "Order and Progress" is emblazoned on the Brazil flag, that was designed when the Republic replaced the monarchy in 1889.

    The motto "Ordem e Progresso" ("Order and Progress") is inspired by Auguste Compte's motto of positivism: "L’amour pour principe et l’ordre pour base; le progrès pour but" ("Love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal"). At the time many leading Brazilians, especially those trained in the military academy, were avid advocates for logical positivism. So far we have not seen too much evidence that these principles work out so well in practice. As some say here, "we are not too good on the 'Order' part, the 'Progress' can be questioned but nobody can doubt the 'and'.
     
  3. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Gold Member

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    JB- be safe above all else. I appreciate the summary you sent as I love Brazil and have many close friends there. My 'sister' in SP is a physician and has only had time to write briefly saying that she wishes she could be out there as her country deserves it but of course she must attend to her patients.
    I look forward to future posts from you. Obrigada.
     
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  4. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    Thanks JBC for a balanced view. The media needs to sell stories and thus embellish the facts or under report the facts,
     
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  5. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Obrigado for your comments too. The demonstrations are overwhelmingly safe. Mrs jbc and I will be in another one this afternoon, together with a large part of our neighbourhood. The headquarters of Rede Globo, one of the largest media groups, is near here and Twitter, Facebook etc are alive with the plans to demonstrate there. Our purely local scene is astounding. Our servants are attending, several waiters from our favorite local restaurant will be there, and among our neighbours who own property here there are at least three famed very wealthy and influential people who say they'll be participating. In addition, of course, there are countless academics and students from nearby universities and on and on. All that from Twitter comments and talking on the street.

    I cannot remember a time when people from vastly different backgrounds, prospects and situation in life are so much in agreement on important issues. The government and the crooks are very, very nervous. Everyone else is cautiously optimistic. Much can go wrong, but...optimism is an eternal Brazilian trait.
     
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  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Thanks to you, milchap. I think the media is doing as well as they can, mostly. It is rather difficult to report on a movement that has no head. OTOH, ask any few demonstrators and one quickly discovers we're remarkably unified. Impunity, including for Lula and corporate chiefs, can count it's days. That is, unless the demagogues win.

    BTW, the house of the Governor of Rio de Janeiro State, Sergio Cabral, is surrounded with camping demonstrators forcing closure of a couple of major streets. That happened because it was just revealed that he's involved directly in a huge construction scandal involving a company named Delta, to which he awarded many contracts, none fo which were properly fulfilling all of which had massive cost overruns even though improperly completed. Couldn't be happening to a more appropriate person, unless it happened to Lula too.
     
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  7. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    The same Sergio Cabral who extended the SuperVia concession because it was run oh so well (and had his wife's firm as counsel)?

    Give 'em hell, JB.

    It's a shame you can't march on any of the empreiteiras responsible for funding the politicians (and flying the ex-president around) and running the cost overruns. None seem to have headquarters in RJ. (Oh, wait, no, Carvalho Hosken and Carioca Nielsen do.)
     
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  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Are you participating too? Interesting that former President Lula is quite invisible these days. Makes sense, it may be getting warm for him, especially because his children no longer have those handy but illegal diplomatic passports to aid their escape.

    As for marching on the purses, I'm hoping that happens too. The impunidades are pervasive, many more than just Delta, but I'm not really too optimistic about that line of attack, mostly because it requires a bit more subtlety and finesse than crowd sourcing may be capable of supplying. Were there to actually be serious reforms they could be quickly found, but that is not too likely, I suspect.

    President Dilma proved yesterday that her courage, if it still exists at all, is weak. Corruption, awful, let's increase the sentences but ignore the inability to prosecute and prevent. Great! Corruption among lawmakers? What is that? Mensalão? That's finished! Theiving prefeitos siting at the table with her? Excellent?

    Heaven help us, we're too much like Italy. The difference is that nobody here things bunga-bunga even deserves comment.

    Arrgggghhh, not such a good day.
     
  9. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    An update is in order.
    Yesterday Congress voted down PEC 37, the proposed law intended to protect politicians, including former President Lula, from prosecution. Until last week it was expected to pass easily but the public protests actually worked!
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world...8b97cc-de60-11e2-a33d-86217a564f01_story.html

    Many more protests continue. It is seeming likely taht major constitutional reform could happen. The most popular political figure in Brazil now, Supreme Count head Joaquim Barbosa, has proposed recall provisions for elected officials citing Claifornia recall of Gray Davis as an example of how such a system should work.
     
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