Warren Hoge – Global Observatory, 06/28/2013
“People in power are really ignoring the common man’s plight, and I think that is what made this thing boil over,” said Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, of the recent protests, where hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets in over 100 cities.
The size of the protests caught even the organizers by surprise, and though they began after the government announced a modest rise in bus fare, Mr. Sotero, speaking from São Paulo, said a deeper sense of disappointment in the government is what really made the protests catch fire. “It’s not bus fare rises, it’s not per se the lavish expenditures on the stadiums. It is the irritatingly slow pace of change in a country that has experienced the emergence of a middle class that was promised and has seen some of the benefits of a middle class life with some degree of equity, but that suddenly see that life is very hard, that they may not get there because the economy is stalling, because inflation is on the rise again, because there is too much corruption,” Mr. Sotero said.
Mr. Sotero said that the Worker’s Party, which many Brazilians felt, “had been a party that valued ethics in politics, a party that came from the bottom of society, the only grass roots party in the history of Brazil,” changed once it was elected to the federal government, where it’s goal became to keep power and to have access to public funds for their own objectives, creating disillusionment among its supporters.
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Paulo Sotero is the Director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
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