While visiting family and friends back home, many asked me about the protests in Brazil: if they happened in Maceio too, what I thought would come out of them and, obviously, why they so suddenly happened.
During the protests, I followed my Brazilian friends on FB, posting links, videos, comments and much more. In the end, I’m afraid that the protests won’t change much in the short-term. If only Brazilian politicians learn that their actions will be watched more closely and that the most flagrant abuses of power are more likely to be unveiled, this would already be a lot.
What I found interesting about the protests is, that it wasn’t the poorest of the poorest that took the streets but the young, well educated middle class. Only that middle class has a very far stretched definition in Brazil. The middle class starts with an income as low as 240$ monthly income and reaches up to 1950$ monthly income. (Source)
While people in this middle class are not the absolute poor, many are only a paycheck away from poverty. Especially if you have an apartment to pay, plus the school, plus the health insurance, maybe even a car… In other words, as much as incomes have risen, costs have been fast in catching up too.
And people are tired of their politicians earning indecent monthly allowances and putting money into stadiums and other prestigious projects while the health service and the public education – both of which are free but certainly not used by senators and MPs – have been suffering a decline over the years. Up to an extent whether you almost have to sent your kids to private school and have to have a health insurance; both of which is pricy.
Over the years, Brazil has managed to lift a lot of people out of absolute poverty. These people have understood that what matters most to succeed in life is education and that’s what they get their children; only for these children now to take the streets. As the development continues, it seems there will be more protests to come until Brazilian politicians (re-)discover and respect decency.