Thursday, June 27, 2013

(Politics) Brazil Protest: Brazilian Discontent In Numbers

We all have seen the images of Brazilian discontent towards their political representatives and the perceived corrosion of public services as Brazilians took to the streets in records number across major cities. The spark for this show of solidarity was a rise in bus fare which may seem trivial but it was clearly the final straw that broke the camel's back as discontent among Brazilians  has been a notable trend. According to a poll published by Gallup, public protests should shock nobody as Brazilians since 2010 have been less than impressed with the state of public services such as healthcare and schools with public satisfaction in schools sinking from 57% in 2010 to 48% in 2012 and a 16% (41% in 2010 and 25% in 2012) drop  in public satisfaction with healthcare in the same period.

The Brazilian public have also fallen out of love with the country's infrastructure with public satisfaction in transportation falling from 56% in 2010 to 48% in 2012 and public satisfaction with roads and highways dropped from 53% in 2010 to 44% in 2012. 

However, the most damning and important trend in the Gallup poll was the the Brazilian public attitude towards its government while 61% approved of their political leaders job performance 2010, only 47% could say the same in 2012. What's also interesting is the percentage of the Brazilian public who think their government is corrupt. while an astonishing 61% of Brazilians thought their government as corrupt in 2010, just two years later, that number shot up to 71%. 

What is shocking about these numbers is not that they are so high in a country considered a stable democracy, but they are part of a consistent trend of over two-thirds of the country see their government as corrupt. However, their view of their government is justified by a number of high profile scandals involving political officials such as the Mensalao scandal involving the former chief of staff former to ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In sum, Brazil are a number of factors that have lead to the record breaking turnout across the country as the people of Brazil are now prepared to confront a government they have suspected of being corrupt for so long. They are no longer willing to accept the current state of affairs which were masked by the country stunning growth in recent years which is only now starting to stagnate. Finally, Brazil is a country with problems  that could rip it apart such as its well earned tag as one of the most unequal countries in the world and discontent towards members of its political class but these numbers in tandem with the protests should remind Brazil's leaders that a government that does not serve it people serves its demise. 


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