Brazil Protests photo by Flickr user Semilla Luz
Flummoxing my own assumptions about how change would not happen in Brazil, ‘the established inertia of Brazil has been transformed with the occupation of public spaces, from the National Congress to the squares and central avenues of our cities’ as CAFOD’s partner, Jubileu Sul Brazil, comment. Over the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in the biggest protests in Brazil in over twenty years. Whether these mass mobilisations lead to lasting positive social change and increased openness of the government to listen to the people will be a hot topic for at least the next 12 months.
The demonstrations appeared as a spontaneous response to the R$0.20 increase in bus fares (which is equivalent to 5kg of rice, 2 kg beans, 3 litres of cooking oil and 5 litres of milk for a family of four making 200 journeys per month according to CAFOD’s partner Apoio). However, the demands from the street echo many of the themes long tackled by CAFOD’s partners in Brazil. Lack of investment in public services, denial of human rights, and prioritisation of mega-events and infrastructure projects over education, health, housing and transport are not new concerns. CAFOD partner, Jubileu Sul Brazil has played a central role in the Comitê Popular da Copa (People’s Organising Committee of the World Cup), and put the issue of families displaced to make way for new stadiums firmly onto the public agenda, to give just one example.
Clear wins have already been seen. (more…)