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Brazil Commuters Take to Streets & Stations

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Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/19/2014 9:46:03 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Bad situation
Just saw this update: Dilma Rousseff is favored to win a second term.

Can't tell if that's bad or good for Brazil and its cities.

Hazel
Hazel  
2/12/2014 3:30:19 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Graphical cheap shot
Personally, I would be uneasy, considering the different training that the police and military undergo. Perhaps this qualification would serve as a deterrent for violence, but at the same time, it seems like a tactic of sorts where intimidation is thrown into the mix.

kq4ym
kq4ym  
2/11/2014 6:36:37 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Graphical cheap shot
It's an interesting observation that South American countries as well as those in other parts of the world have military serving as the police force. One wonders if that scenario contributes to the unease citizens have with the government. It would seem unlikely that there would be violence over a 9% transit fee hike in the U.S. It would be interesting to figure out exactly what contribute to the violent protests we're seeing.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/11/2014 12:08:09 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Graphical cheap shot
Great point, @Terry. The military aura surrounding the favela takebacks is unmistakable.

"Diplomacy? Let the rubber bullets fly!"

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
2/11/2014 11:33:01 AM
User Rank Blogger
Re: Graphical cheap shot
Brazil and China also have this in common: Military personnel also serve as the police force. I may be way offbase here, but the probability of fascist brutality where law enforcement and civil unrest are concerned seem proportionally higher. MPs are not interested in having a dialog and processing any feelings or the larger socio-political implications of a situation. They arrive on the scene with orders and a mission.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/11/2014 9:56:35 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Bad situation
It makes me sad, too, @Nicole. What's more, I have trouble understanding how Dilma Rousseff, a formerly left-wing revolutionary, seems to fail at supporting the people of Brazil in their efforts for better infrastructure and services. I'm not sure what's happened to make her either ineffective or out of touch, or both.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
2/11/2014 9:49:53 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: Graphical cheap shot
Excellent points, @Terry. I would add, though, that Brazil's police are rougher than we're used to here in North America, albeit not as oppressive as in China. Case in point is the warlike elimination of the slum "favelas" in Rio and elsewhere, which has been yet another force behind the protests. Block by block, police in full riot gear hack their way through neighborhoods, arresting and apprehending whoever the criminal elements are, and laying waste to pretty much everything else in their path.

China may have it over Brazil when it comes to strongarming, but that doesn't mean there isn't an element of that going on. '

Kind of development by force, eh?

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
2/10/2014 5:01:48 PM
User Rank Staff
Bad situation
Oy, this just made me sad.

I think the person whose quote you shared here has the situation exactly right: "The point isn't the public transportation fare hike, if there was a public transportation fare hike and we had good health services and education you wouldn't have this many people on the streets," a protestor in Rio told the media last week. "On top of this you see spending with the World Cup, things that we really don't need. We want health, education, and decent public transportation."

I am not at all surprised that Brazilians are taking to the streets and trying to regain some semblance of control over their lives. My understanding is that Brazil's middle class has managed to grow over the past 10 years, and they're paying more taxes and more for services but they aren't getting more for their money, at all. Nothing is going to change the atmosphere in Brazil unless leadership starts treating its citizens like people. Right now, that's not happening.

Terry Sweeney
Terry Sweeney  
2/10/2014 12:40:36 PM
User Rank Blogger
Graphical cheap shot
Timely update on a tense atmosphere in Rio, Mary. And while Patrick Boehler's tweet makes for an effective representation of anemic planning and execution on public transportation, it's not a fair one. The political differences between China and Brazil are huge to say the least. While the Chinese central government likes to imagine itself as benign and providential, it's monolithic and autocratic in its nature and by practice. It can do whatever it wants and will displace whoever needs to in order to achieve its aims.

Secondly, the sort of protests seen in Brazil would get shut down fast had they taken place in China, especially if they had turned violent (there would have been a body count).

So while I appreciate Chinese efficiency, they don't do so well with negative feedback.

Like Brazil, China got pushed into making big investments in public infrastructure by hosting a couple large-scale international events, including the 2010 World's Fair in Shanghai, recall. So they built a fancy new airport and blasted out public transporation to serve its 23 million+ population and impress lots of foreign visitors. I'm sure there were protests, but they got little if any press and were likely extinguished relatively quickly.

 

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