If you’ve been following the news recently, you have likely seen that Brazil has been reeling with protests on and off since early June. Diego Calderon ’13 interviewed a number of Brazilians to get a sense for why they are protesting. A description of the protests – and of his process in making the video – follows after the jump:
After my graduation (I’m a ’13) I spent a month in the South of Brazil visiting family and practicing my Portuguese. A couple weeks into the trip the manifestações or demonstrations really started to get big. It all started because Brazilians believe their public transportation is failing them. In Florianópolis, where I spent most of my time, the cost of a single bus ticket is 2.90 reals or around $1.50, and the government was proposing a slight increase. While that does not seem like much to us, it is a considerable chunk of ones salary when minimum wage is only about $1.30 per hour. An important group organizing several protests is the Movimento Passe Livre (MPL) who believe that public transportation must be free if we really want public health and education. The reasoning is that if people do not have the means to reach the hospitals or schools then those services are not really public. After a while other groups joined the protests complicating the message. There is a lot of anger against mismanagement of government funds in regards to the World Cup. People also critique the quality of health and education services, and of course corruption in general.
I don’t consider myself the most dedicated activist. Instead, my intention was to put my Portuguese to use and get a better idea of the movement’s message. I attended a protest in the downtown district of Florianópolis and followed the approximately 50+ thousand protestors as they proceeded to block the only bridge with access to the island. Along the way I interviewed several people with the help of a buddy from the area Gleison Henrique. Fábia Rocha, a good friend of mine who is also from Florianópolis and Maria Alejandra Jaramillo helped with the transcript and translation. Finally Tyler Finchum filmed a bit and was the one who initially convinced me to go down to the protests.
While the video is in Portuguese, there are English subtitles on the video (which can be activated under closed captioning if they are off), and a full transcript of the video in both languages is available in the description.
For more on the Brazilian protests, check out some of the following articles. While most of them are from a few weeks ago, they provide useful facts and dialogue about the movement.
Brazilian Protests Tumblr [A tumblr of news from people involved in the protests translated to English]
Aljazeera: Breaking down Brazil’s protests
NY Times: The Signs of the Brazilian Protests
NY Times: Sweepings Protests in Brazil Pull in an Array of Grievances
NY Times: Readers Debate Brazil’s Protests
NPR: Protests in Brazil Gain Steam, Violence Increases
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