Understanding Anti-Government Protests in Brazil
By Julio Severo
Economic crisis produces protests. In Brazil, at least, the motivation behind protests has been, as reported by Reuters, “a sluggish economy, rising prices and corruption.”
|Demonstration against Dilma Rousseff|
In the early 1980s, Brazil had one of the biggest debts in the world and the commonest word in the Brazilian news was IMF (International Monetary Fund). Prices were skyrocketing. Inflation was the daily friend of Brazilians. All of this during the military regime, which was not corrupt.
|Demonstration against the military rule in the 1980|
As an effort to appease the huge discontentment of Brazilians, the military government, under President Figueiredo, decreed that every October 12, from 1982 on, would be a national holiday in honor of Our Lady “Aparecida” as “Patroness of Brazil.” (“Aparecida” is an image of a black lady interpreted by Brazilian Catholics as “Mary, mother of Jesus,” but strangely with black skin. So she is the Brazilian black Mary.)
Such decree left evangelicals immensely displeased. In opposition to the decree, Pentecostal evangelist Manoel de Mello called evangelicals for a demonstration at the Pacaembu Stadium, in São Paulo, against idolatry, in October 12, 1982. In this date, the stadium was overcrowded, even under torrents of rain, for the service of protest against the national idolatry established by the military government.
Evangelicals were dissatisfied because they believed that Brazil belonged to the Lord Jesus, but because of the financial crisis, the military men handed Brazil over to Aparecida. Even today, the military decree keeps Brazil surrendered to Aparecida (the black Mary), which was incapable to protect Brazil from a leftist domination (PT, PSDB, etc.).
Even when Brazil was more Catholic, such a national holiday handing Brazil over to Aparecida had never been created. Yet, the military strategy, although having immensely pleased the Catholic Church and the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, in no way helped Brazil to escape the economic crisis. Inflation was getting worse, the minimum wages were not enough to cover minimum expenses and protests against the military government grew larger and larger. It was in this environment of economic recession that Liberation Theology communities, connected to the Catholic Church, created and strengthened the Workers’ Party.
With this historic knowledge, you can assess better what is happening in Brazil today. With or without government corruption, Brazilians are going to protest against an economic crisis hitting their pockets. Brazilian protested against the military rulers, who were not corrupt. Brazilians protest against Rousseff, who is extremely corrupt. In both cases, the Brazilian motivation is economic crisis.
In the case of military rulers, who were hard-working and honest investors in the development of Brazil, is hard to understand how their administration was as economically recessive as the Marxist Rousseff administration is. The best explanation I have ever read was provided by U.S. economist John Perkins, in this article: http://bit.ly/1hhIpRc
Many Brazilians want today the military men to overthrow corrupt Rousseff from power. But if they do it and the economic crisis does not soften, multitudes are going to rally and blame them for the economic problems in Brazil, just as they did 30 years ago. Sadly, for the Brazilian people, economy is much more important than right or left and even more than moral values.
In the case of military rulers, the crisis aided socialists and communists, by giving abundant pretexts for attacking the military rulers and asking, through massive rallies, their exit.
In the case of the Workers’ Party, the crisis aides the right, by giving abundant pretexts for attacking the Workers’ Party and asking, through massive rallies, their exit.
In Brazil at least, economic crisis, not moral values, has provoked for decades massive protests, against the military rulers and against the socialist rulers.
Portuguese version of this article: Entendendo os protestos anti-governo no Brasil
Source: Last Days Watchman