Thousands of protesters in Brazil are overtaking the streets of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro lashing out at the Brazilian government as frustrations rise over poor transportation, health services, education, and security despite recent tax hikes. All this as billions in public money are being spent in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
On Monday 65,000 protesters filled the streets of Sao Paulo, the Brazilian news magazine Globo reports. One group managed to break into the government palace around 11 p.m. local time. Police responded with tear gas and pepper spray. After the situation calmed down, the group decided to spend the night in front of the palace. About 30 protesters organized a peaceful breakfast on Tuesday (June 18) in front of the Palacio dos Bandeirantes, at Morumbi, in the south of Sao Paulo. The atmosphere was quiet as peaceful protesters set out to sweep the streets. Police accompanied the act at a distance, still standing in the dirt left by the conflict that occurred on Monday night.
According to the federal government’s “transparency portal,” the equivalent of 3.5 billion US dollars have already been spent in preparation for next year’s World Cup. Meanwhile, Brazil invests below the OECD average in public services like health and education. Meanwhile, continued civil unrest is raising security concerns particularly with the upcoming papal visit to Brazil in July.
While Brazil is depicted as the care free, laid back, seductive samba Shangri-La abroad, reality paints another picture. “We shouldn’t be spending public money on stadiums,” said one protester in Sao Paulo, Reutors reports. “We don’t want the Cup. We want education, hospitals, a better life for our children.”
By Being Latino Contributor, Ariana Montelongo de Valdivia. Ariana is a graduate of the University of Houston and has worked in Public Relations with the American Heart Association, LifeGift Organ Donation Center, Edelman Public Relations and currently hosts two TV shows on HMS TV (Houston MediaSource).Ariana can be followed on Twitter @AriMontelongo.