Many people are already aware that the protests in Brazil go beyond the .20-cent increase in bus fares. Although at times I use public transportation, I am lucky enough to live and work in the same neighborhood. My bicycle has become the main means of transportation, and for longer trips, I still use my car. Even though the increase doesn’t affect me directly and some say that the increase is not enough reason to protest I disagree. Since the first manifestation, I’ve felt great sympathy for those who are giving a voice and are feeling in their skin and their lungs (literally) the effects of having their freedom threatened.
With so many videos, photos and stories, I’ve decided to join this group of citizens who seek an improvement for all. And I list here seven reasons to join the crowd.
1. For a mobility that doesn’t hurt the constitution.
The increase in bus fares is just one of the many problems with public transportation. Like many media outlets have been reporting, Brazil has grown and much of this growth was accompanied by political measures towards road transportation, with many more cars on the streets, few new roads to accompany the growth, and few new options of public transportation to compensate. The result: a country with a failed infra-structure system, be it roads, ports or airports, and without any forecast of improving in the long run.
2. For a fair tax system.
That Brazil has one of the highest taxes in the world is also no longer news. With the law 12.741, we are a bit closer to knowing how much we pay on taxes on top of each product. However, you don’t have to be a genius to do the math: you only have to take a look at every Brazilian’s paycheck. Such high taxes wouldn’t be a problem if services were up to par. That’s not the case.
3. For quality education.
More schools have been built, a greater percentage of the GPD has been destined to education and more children and teenagers are enrolled in school – be it public or private. What hasn’t improved is the quality of education. Teachers still receive poor wages and continue unmotivated, school curriculums are disconnected from reality, and several students finish off their years without learning a great deal of the curriculum. Being education the main force of a country, we are moving backwards.
4. For a healthcare system that respects every citizen.
I don’t have to elaborate much on this. A visit to any public hospital is already enough.
5. For an improvement in crime rates in urban centers.
I think it’s incredible the amount of police officers that show up during the protests; where are they on a daily basis? Violence in São Paulo is becoming unbearable, and with more and more cases of unjustified extreme violence. There are robberies, material goods and lives being taken, resulting in a great loss for society.
6. For the end of PEC 37.
It is not only violence, but also the impunity of those who commit the crime – from street thieves to the top of the pyramid. Even with such impunity, our representatives had the genius idea of proposing a law that diminished the power of justice promoters in criminal investigations (the very author of the law is being investigated). In other words, less investigations and more freedom of theft.
7. For a better administration of public resources.
Adding to all this, we have a terrible administration of public resources. The cost of corruption in Brazil is expensive; in 2013 alone, we are already above the US$ 20 billion mark. Taking in consideration this amount and the situation of public systems in Brazil, it’s not very difficult to guess where this money is going.
Some might say that so many reasons are a schizophrenic attempt to get a change. I disagree. Even if the protests don’t bring the results we expect, and that in some isolated cases, they run out of control and result in unnecessary violence and destruction, this is a chance to show that every decision taken by our representatives, in any public sphere, generates a consequence for everyone. And it is our role as citizens to be aware and engaged with these decisions.
Actually, there is one single reason. Be it public transportation, healthcare, education and the entire public and private administration, the reason that takes me to the streets is that the interests of the Brazilian people are finally ahead of any political and personal agenda.