01 Jul 2013 | by Fabíola Ortiz | ì | Civil Society - Original Feature
Called by some the “Tropical Spring”, a wave of demonstrations for social rights, justice and against corruption has overtaken Brazil in recent weeks. Has a giant awoken?
According to Orlando Santos Jr, sociologist and urban planner of the Institute for Research Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPPUR/UFRJ), the current movement is calling for more democracy.
Santos Jr. highlights that there is a multiplicity of demonstrations emerging in many cities around the world. Particularly in Brazil, the settings for big events such as the World Cup and the Olympic Games have required a great amount of public investment for which the will of the population has not been taken into account.
Fabiano Cunha is a 32 year old musician and has attended many demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro. He encourages people to go out on the streets and claim for their rights. In his own words: ”Demonstration is not a joke, it is a sign that we are fighting for social justice”.
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IPSTV: Some of them say it is a “tropical spring” or that the “giant finally woke up”. But the truth is that Brazil went to the streets. And people’s voices with social demands echoed in many different parts of the country. Orlando Santos Jr, sociologist and urban planner. Researcher at the Institute for Research and Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPPUR/UFRJ): ”This is not a Brazilian phenomenon by the way, you notice a multiplicity of manifestations that emerge in many cities of the world. I think, first of all, it is a big mistake to say that Brazilian population woke up now. Brazilian population never slept. This process of the World Cup in which a great amount of resources has been invested in the cities without listening to the population, in an arbitrary way, without taking into consideration the wishes and desires from the population in general. Therefore the investments have been done without hearing the population. It is a movement that calls for a more democracy, a movement that claims for more space of participation in society.” “It is difficult to say what the perspectives are. I wouldn’t say those demonstrations will make changes, I would say they are already making changes. That is, they have had real effects on Brazilian politics. I think they have already left many seeds. There have been important victories but they still express very little in terms of a deep transformation in the logic of power and the subordination of public interests to large private interests in the Brazilian case.” IPSTV: Fabiano is a 32 year old musician and has been to many demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro on the last weeks. He encourages people to go out on the streets and claim for their rights. Today is one more day of protests in Rio, and Fabiano prepares himself like a ritual to go out again. In his opinion, the Brazilians are tired of paying too much taxes and not getting the return with public policies. Fabiano Cunha: musician “I’ve always had this vision focusing on the social. I think it is important that people participate actively in the political decisions that may affect their lives.” IPSTV: And there he goes again to another protest. He does all theway home towards the city centre. Fabiano Cunha: ”At this moment, we are having a need of people to express themselves, go to the streets, because there are many wrong things happening. The public spending are beeing very badly addressed. More social justice… here in Brazil… we have a big income concentration a lot of inequality.” IPSTV: The transport is one of the biggest complaints from people living in the big cities. Fabiano Cunha: ”In a little while it is going to be crowded, it is still early.” “As it has been now evidenced with the World Cup, Confederations Cup and Olympic Games, we have seen a huge spending with stadiums, with things that are not very essential meanwhile overall education, health, transport and infrastructure are not good.” Fabíola Ortiz: Hundreds of protesters are getting together in this square in the city center. They are just about to go on a new demonstration against corruption and for better quality of public services. The intention is to gather thousands of people to go along the streets in a peaceful way and begging for no violence. Fabiano Cunha: ”It is something that has been stuck in the throat for a long time. There is still a lot to fight for, it is just the beginning.”