Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Democracy in Brazil Update

Well it has been a few days since I posted about Democracy in Brazil and the demonstrations that filled the city streets this past last month.  Well,  in response to that posting I have had friends in the USA ask questions and some Brazilians wanted me to share more details.  I figured I would use this format as well as many others may have the same questions and information to share.
1) What is the current status of the protests?
Well since winning the Confederation Cup,  the mood of the country has changed a little again.  You see Brazilian flags pop up all over on cars,  hanging from balconies and at the top of residential flag poles.  I think this win has taken the edge off the demonstrations and a lot of people have gone back to everyday life.  Don't get me wrong,  the people are still watching and the frustrations are still there,  it has just taken a back seat for now.  There are, however, large demonstrations going on daily in cities
throughout the country.  They are not as big as the ones during the Confederation Cup but people are still taking to the streets.  For example, many doctors and health care employees are protesting the governments decision to bring doctors from other countries (mainly Cuba)  to help improve medical conditions.  Seems like a reasonable response to the desired better medical care presented by the original demonstrations.  However, the medical staff say it is not the lack of doctors in the country but the facilities they are working in that is the issue.  They are also saying that the doctors brought here from other countries will not have to pass the boards to practice in Brazil which undermines their current system and is even unconstitutional.  They want FIFA stadium standard hospitals and feel there are plenty of doctors already in the country,  just need to improve their working environment.   This is just one of the issues that continues to bring citizens to the streets in hopes that the government will listen to their demands.
2)  What is going on there as news reports tell of a soccer official being decapitated.   Well,  I don't know much about this story,  just what I read and to be honest I have not even heard it mentioned in conversation among Brazilians.  I do believe it shows some of the battles the country has had in its struggle with leaving its third world status behind.  Then again,  if you look in the papers in the USA there is always a story about some sports fan killing another one over the game.  I don't know the details of this particular occurrence so I don't have much more to add.

3) If you remember my last post talked about the Brazilian President's promise for oil moneys to be used for education.   This promise has sparked some debate as the complications of accessing this oil means there will be no money for several years.  To many Brazilians this seems like an empty promise,  one they have heard before.

4)  Many of my Brazilian friends have continued to express the frustration that Brazil as a country pays a high taxation rate and they feel like they see little benefit of this.  Roads are becoming privatized as companies move in and replace non toll roads with tolls.  These changes would seem to reduce the tax burden on the people but it has no affect on the amount of money they pay in taxes.  This is just one example of how government works in the country.

5)  There are still a rumblings about the amount of money spent on the upcoming international sporting events, but I recently read about the Winter Olympics in Russia and the escalating costs because of corruption there.  I personally think these large sporting organizations need to figure out a way to curb this corruption in order to maintain a good image in the public.   It will be interesting to see how the people of Brazil look at the World Cup over the next eleven months.    Clinching their fifth world cup could put all this turmoil aside, but then again loosing could erupt into massive unrest. 

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