Bedlam in Brazil: What You Need To Know
Brazil has been embroiled in internal political strife since 2014, the year the South American country hosted the FIFA World Cup. (https://www.buzzfeed.com/otilliasteadman/brazil-hold-my-caipirinha?utm_term=.vlMkjdxjw#.xuq926V2J). Pressures on ordinary Brazilians are mounting, with the once-burgeoning economy now a mess. Brazil’s economic woes are tied with its political instability. Previously enthusiastic foreign direct investors are wary of putting money in a country with an uncertain future. Conditional cash transfer programs like Bolsa Familia -launched by the government of President Lula da Silva- have helped to bridge the gap between the rich and poor. Despite this, Brazil is one of the most socio-economically unequal nations on Earth.
Lula da Silva was elected President in the late 2000s as a part of the “Pink Tide” of socialist and social democratic governments. a Silva’s successor Dilma Rousseff was a former beauty queen and guerrilla against the military dictatorship who won the presidency in 2011. but she was ousted in 2016 by Vice President Michel Temer in what many on the left called a “coup.” In response, national social movements and unions have mobilized in opposition to Temer’s government: A general strike paralyzed the country on April 28th.
Many on the left saw Rousseff’s ouster as a reversal of the progress that had been made during the previous decade. Brazilians on the right want freer markets and a weaker welfare state. But neither wing can put a positive spin on the corruption that seems to pervade all factions of the Brazilian ruling class. The ludicrous ways in which the embezzled cash was transferred -taped with seram wrap to the perpetrators’ bodies; bags full of thousands of reais trading hands- have left ordinary Brazilians outraged.
With intrigue gripping both the United States and the United Kingdom, Brazil is facing its own internal chaos. With the entire Brazilian political class implicated, there seems to be little chance that the country will return to stability any time soon.