The government “cares”

(“Senhoras e senhores, me encontro assim…”)

I was watching some of the latest news on how the Brazilian gov’t is reacting to the unrest. More specifically, how $25 billion is being put aside for public transport improvements, how PEC-37 was defeated (which, as I understand it, would have limited investigative powers into combating corruption), how 100% of oil royalties will now go towards education and health services, etc, etc.

So, basically, the money, the power and know-how to make these things happen, to be able to make sweeping political and social changes to Brazil, it was there all along but no one was doing anything about it? Out of the kindness of their hearts, all of a sudden, the government cares…


8 thoughts on “The government “cares”

  1. In general, any government “cares” to the degree that its leaders care about staying in office. The recent protests in Brazil have clearly shaken up the political establishment in a way that is unprecedented in recent Brazilian history. While it’s easy for us to be cynical about politicians, in this case, they deserve credit for acting quickly to respond to the legitimate concerns raised by the protesters. We can question their motives for this response, but what really matters isn’t why they did it, but that they did it at all.

    We should also remember that these imperfect politicians are *elected* leaders, chosen in free elections characterized by large voter turnout, and that the current President has enjoyed extremely high approval ratings. Whether those ratings will remain high is yet to be seen. But when one compares the way in which Dilma has responded to the protests, in comparison to the way that leaders in other countries have responded to similar protests, she could have done much worse.

    • I agree with you, Phil. Nonetheless, it’s amazing what it takes for people in power to do the right thing. There’s that saying about a person being able to be truly judged when it is seen how they act when no one is watching. It could be argued that the Brazilian people weren’t ‘watching’ (caring enough).

  2. As other analysts have noted, it could be that past generations of Brazilians viewed protests as an act of futility, so they just complained about their government instead of doing anything about it. But I’m not criticizing the Brazilian people for apathy, since their voter turnout rate far exceeds that of the US, another country whose citizens love to complain about their elected government.

    It could be that a new type of political leader will emerge from the protests, though so far, those who are organizing the demonstrations have gone to great pains to distance themselves from any sort of political party.

    Thank you for keeping your readers informed about the protests. Reporting in the US press has been minimal and not very perceptive. And now that “Folha” and “Estadão” have started limiting access to their online articles, it’s hard to get in-depth coverage. Of course, there’s still “Globo,” but their coverage requires a lot of reading between the lines, a skill that challenges my elementary knowledge of Portuguese.

    • Give up on Globo :-)

      Try Facebook. Lot’s of interesting news are being shared there (and a bit of false rumors also).

  3. It is ugly to realize that. But no. They don’t care. But the people realized its power. And ‘they’ (government) know when to be ‘afraid’. And we don’t have the choice except to accept that, like Phil said, “what really matters isn’t why they did it” but that we made them do it. And finally Brazilian have understood they do have the power to change things! And I hope that the next thing they (we) realize is that besides protesting, with have another huge tool in our hands: our vote.
    But for now I am very happy that the screams of millions were not in vain. Especially the horrible violence some suffered was not in vain. And debate are multiplying all over the country. I know there is still a long way and many more battles. But it is beautiful that the change started through the hands and voice of the people.
    Historical for sure!

  4. Hmmm, I was thinking the same thing – I don’t believe (m)any governments/politicians really care, but at least they are forced to pretend that they care. If these protests push more Brazilian politicians into carrying out positive actions in order to keep the Brazilian people happy, I’d say that’s a major success! Let’s see…

  5. I’m happy to see these topics about Brazil being discussed in english, where they can reach more people. Thanks a lot.

    While I agree to the comments above, I have a note specifically about Dilma caring or not.

    All of her proposals are old stuff – things she tried to impose over the congress in the course of the last years (since even before she was elected president). Not a single one of her proposals was changed\improved due to the protests, she just presented them again.

    While on the surface these ideas seem awesome, it’s not enough to catch up with years of neglect and, since the guys in power are the same, implementation will be tricky. Very tricky.

    There is much talk right about whether the leaders in Brasilia really understand how the protests originated. It’s clear that the congress and senate does not, they still expect a “protester leader” to meet with them and discuss terms. Dilma is the great unknown – she has a huge media team that scraps social media for mentions of her name, but still behaves like the congress guys. On the other side, she threw a beautifully laid bait to the congress by insinuating that the protesters were going after her political enemies.

  6. Putting “more” money into public services won’t change anything if the vermin which is already implanted in politics are still there. A big percentage of whatever is supposed to go to the public will disappear again to who knows whom. What Brazil needs is a cleaning up of the useless politicians (way too numerous) and severe punishment for corruption.

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