Deilma out! A very clear political message of the protesters in Brazil

Dilma out! A very clear political message of the protesters in several hundred cities in Brazil

Protesters gathered on August 16, 2015 in more than 239 cities in Brazil, as well as outside the country, openly demanding the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff[1]. Inflation, lagging economic performance and corruption accusations against the Government raised Brazilians' frustration and determined them to take to the streets. Apparently, a considerable parcel of the population is holding President Dilma Rousseff directly responsible for the hardships the country is currently facing. “We’re getting to a point where even people that were not very [much] a fan of impeachment are getting so concerned about the economy, they say, ‘The country can’t last,’” affirmed Rogerio Chequer, a former fund manager who co-founded Vem Pra Rua (Come to the Streets), one of the main movements for impeachmen[2].

“Economic reason is making Rousseff's political life more difficult” affirmed Ingo Plöger, Brazilian president of the Latin American business association CEAL[3]. Dilma Rousseff has began to tackle economic reform, particularly since she was reelected for a second term. Higher interest rates and less government spending are currently having an effect on inflation, according to Deutsche Welle[4]. Nevertheless, these measures are highly unpopular, Plöger is stating, “because they will only begin to show results in the medium term. Initially, they will mean the loss of jobs and make imported goods even more expensive"[5].

The calls for impeachment have sparked growing fears of destabilization of Brazil's political life and a weakening of democracy, especially as some manifestants did not hesitate to put up banners reading “Military intervention is not a crime”[6]. Impeaching Ms. Rousseff would “set the country on fire”, affirmed Plöger.

Guilherme Boulos, coordinator of the Homeless Workers’ Movement, affirmed that the protests organizers are people who live mainly in upper middle class neighborhoods in large Brazilian cities, who do not stand for the entire Brazilian population, and who are using social dissatisfaction “to impose their [own] political project”[7].

Unlike those on March 15 and April 12, the massive wave of protests does not coincide with an increasing political pressure upon the President, writes Carta Capital[8]. Reconciliation efforts gained momentum thruought the past week, mainly embodied by Agenda Brasil, a set of compromise economic measures put forward by the President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL). The initiative seems to have been well received, as many point out to the importance of stability in maintaining recent achievements, such as Brazil having fallen off from the UN World Hunger Map for the first time in 2014, and out of Morgan Stanley's Fragile Five economies this August.

Massive protests demanding for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff underline the direct link between growing economic hardships affecting society and growing mobilization aimed at power contestation: a type of scenario that has not missed out on Europe since the advent of the global financial crisis; and a scenario clearly eroding national power in several states, in different regions of the world.

[1] Daniela LIMA, “Manifestantes testam força em protestos contra Dilma”, Folha de São Paulo, August 16, 2015, at the Internet adress  http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2015/08/1669290-manifestantes-testam-forca-em-protestos-contra-dilma.shtml

[2] Reed JOHNSON and Luciana MAGALHAES, “Brazilians Plan Mass Protests Against President Dilma Rousseff”, The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2015, at the Internet adress http://www.wsj.com/articles/brazilians-plan-mass-protests-against-president-dilma-rousseff-1439568829

[3]Ingo PLOGER in Jan D. WALTER, “Dilma Rousseff: President and scapegoat of Brazil”, Deutsche Welle, August 14, 2015, at the Internet adress http://www.dw.com/en/dilma-rousseff-president-and-scapegoat-of-brazil/a-18636244

[4]Jan D. WALTER, “Dilma Rousseff: President and scapegoat of Brazil”, Deutsche Welle, August 14, 2015, at the Internet adress http://www.dw.com/en/dilma-rousseff-president-and-scapegoat-of-brazil/a-18636244

[5]Ibidem

[6]Tyler DURDEN, “Hundreds Of Thousands Take To The Streets In Brazil Demanding President's Impeachment”, Zero Hedge, August 16, 2015, at the Internet adress http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-16/hundreds-thousands-take-streets-brazil-demanding-presidents-impeachment

[7] Lise ALVES, “Rousseff Speaks to Social Movements Ahead of Protests”, The Rio Times, August 14, 2015, at the Internet adress http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/rousseff-speaks-to-social-movements-ahead-of-protests/#sthash.fdrnR9VF.dpuf

[8]“PT e Dilma enfrentam novos protestos neste domingo”, Carta Capital Editorial Board, August 16, 2015, at the Internet adress http://www.cartacapital.com.br/politica/pt-e-dilma-enfrentam-novos-protestos-neste-domingo-4895.html

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