Originally published April 20 2015
Brazilians protest corrupt government, demand resignations; Americans still complacent with U.S. corruption
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) It is said that people will get the kind of government they tolerate, no matter what sort of system they initially adopt. For an increasing number of Brazilians, however, their tolerance has run out; apparently, they can only take so much corruption.
Recently hundreds of thousands of Brazilians poured onto the streets of cities all across the country to demand the dismissal of President Dilma Rousseff, for corruption. The public's ire grew dramatically following revelations that Rousseff was the recipient of a kickback scheme involving the state-run Petrobras oil company, which prosecutors have said is the largest corruption scandal in the country's history.
As reported by Voice Of America:
At least $800 million was paid in bribes and other funds by the nation's biggest construction and engineering firms in exchange for inflated Petrobras contracts.
Dozens of political figures, including close allies of the president, and former Petrobras executives, are under investigation. No one has been convicted yet, but 22 deputies, 13 senators and two governors have been implicated in the bribe-taking allegations. Some of the alleged wrongdoing took place while Rousseff was chairman of the Petrobras board. She is not being investigated.
Scandal and corruption tests the patience of the governedCNN reported that many of the protestors are simply fed up with the rising corruption and want change.
"I love Brazil. I love my country. And I am tired of corruption. We are tired of corruption. It doesn't matter which political party you are from, we are tired of being robbed," a protester in Sao Paulo, where people packed the main Paulista Avenue, told the network.
The protests were mostly festive and calm, and displayed little of the violence that came with protests in 2013, when millions of Brazilians protested costs associated with hosting the World Cup soccer tournament.
In response to the reports of widespread corruption at Petrobras, Rousseff dispatched a pair of deputies March 16 to address protestors' concerns in a televised press conference, but the event did little to mitigate the public's anger.
The Business Times reported that protests drew as many as 1.5 million people. Many protesters called for Rousseff's impeachment, which comes just six months after she narrowly won reelection in the most bitter presidential contest since the end of a military dictatorship in the mid-1980s.
In addition to the corruption scandal at Petrobras, Rousseff also is facing rising inflation and a Brazilian economy that is on the brink of recession. CNN reported that the country's inflation rate is up while Brazil's currency has fallen to a 12-year low. And there is also angst over a widening drought that is likely to cause water rationing in some of Brazil's largest cities.
So, where's the outcry in America?In all, Rousseff's popularity has fallen from 42 percent at the close of 2014 to about 23 percent now.
Compare the behavior of Brazil's people to Americans, tens of millions of whom are fed up as well with scandal after scandal and all the corruption within our own halls of power.
There have, of course, been protests in recent years, but oftentimes such events are more like rallies rather than actual protests of the kind calling for the ouster of corrupt politicians. Americans have traditionally been a patient people, but all things being equal, what is the difference between pure kickback schemes in Brazil and trillion-dollar taxpayer transfers of wealth to big banks and "favored" U.S. industries?
At a period in our history when the government tells us what kind of light bulbs we have to use, how much water our toilets can hold, what level of health insurance coverage we must have, how much money we can withdraw from our own bank accounts without being reported to some agency, what kind of cars we can drive and a hundred other things, do you ever wonder why the outcry in our own country isn't louder?
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