So, many of my “gringo” friends ask me that question quite often: what is going on with Brazil? So I decided to write this (forgive the typos and the misusing of the language, English is not my native language and I don’t master it ).
Well, I would say that the first time that someone asked me that question was in 2013 when there was massive protests on the streets and people could not understand why: were they because of World Cup that would happen one year after? Well, it was not only the international media who didn’t understand what the protests were about, in Brazil we did not understand as well.
I can tell you how all this movement started: in Brazil we have a movement named “Passe Livre”, a left wing movement that protests for public transportation with no or fewer charge, and they did one special protest in São Paulo that intended to raise the prize of the bus ticket in the city from R$ 3,00 to R$ 3,20 and they received a very violent response from the police in their manifestation, so the people got aware of this movement and started to do very big manifastation saying: “It is not just because of 20 cents” (não é só pelos 20 centavos), so it was when it started the very big confusion: “if it is not because of 20 cents, so what is that about?” And many people tried to answer this question in many different ways: “It is because the people don’t want the world cup”, “It is because of the corruption”, etc. (many of this answers you already heard).
During 2014, the movement has transformed in many different ways, during the first semester it was because of the world cup (people used to say “Não vai ter copa” – “The World Cup is not going to happen”) because they believed that the bad administration of the president Rousseff would not be able to finish the necessary buildings for the world cup on time. So as the time goes by and the world cup happened, we had another very big event in Brazil: the election for president.
The election had two main characters: Dilma Rousseff and Aécio Neves. Aécio was the right wing guy (kind of Brazilian Trump, but I would say less aggressive) and Dilma was kind of Brazilian Hilary (not that left wing, but the hope of a socialist youth) who was running for reelection after a not that good mandate (it was not bad, but not good as well). Dilma and Aécio had very close number of votes (it was 51% to Dilma and 49% to Aécio) and the electors of Aécio got very mad with that election, and they were almost the marjority: so they started protests asking for a new election saying that this one was manipulated, asking for the impeachment of the president etc. and those protests remains until today, some crazy people asks for a dictatorship instead of a democracy, etc.
Together the political crises, we had an economical crises that became clear that was happening in 2014: According to a Harvard professor that I had a class about Brazilian economics during my short exchange there, Brazil was doing quite well during the 2000’s because of the commodities boom, when the commodities prize went back to normal, the economic grow of Brazil has decreased. So Dilma had to do a lot of cuts in things as education and health and she lost many of her left wing supporters (including me), as she promised during her campaign to keep investing in Education, it end up with a five months strike of the Federal Education workers (I lost one semester in college because of that, as I am a Federal University student).
During 2015, the Federal Police of Brazil (kind of Brazilian FBI) has discovered corruption in the state oil company Petrobras, charging many important politicians, such as the president of the deputy chamber Eduardo Cunha. As a response to that, Cunha has started the process to impeach Dilma, and the protests against her have came back as Fenix.
The investigations on the corruption in this company had gone ahead and a few weeks ago the Federal Police has found a new person that could be involved: Lula, a former Brazilian president, mentor of Dilma. He was forced to give evidence in an interview to the investigators of the Federal Police, after that Dilma tried to nominate Lula as a minister so he could be judged in a special trail, but the federal court (some kind of Brazilian Supreme Court) has impeached her of doing that.
So that was what happened in Brazil since 2013 until now. We are expecting scenes of the next chapter.