By SAMUEL MARTINEZ, age 11
Since June 11, people across Brazil have been staging protests against the government. Brazil will host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, and both events will cost the government an estimated $31 billion dollars. According to the New York Times, $3 billion dollars have already been spent on the construction of stadiums alone. Protesters argue that this is unnecessary spending that could be used to fund better hospitals, schools and other public programs in the country. They are also protesting high taxes and increased political corruption. Most recently, demonstrators have cried out against the costs associated with Pope Francis’ recent visit to Brazil. AP estimated that the trip cost Brazil between $145 and $159 million.
The wave of protests was originally sparked by a nine cent increase in bus fares in parts of the country which brought the bus fare up to $1.47 in São Paulo. This means that a Brazilian making minimum wage might spend up to 26 percent of their income on bus fare.
Brazilian political analyst Alexandre Barros notes, “The economy isn’t growing and prices are rising. People can no longer consume as much as they want, creating anger and fear in the middle class.”
Recent demonstrations have become increasingly violent. In the first two weeks of demonstrations, six protesters were killed. Additionally, protesters have blocked off the Port of Santos, Latin America’s largest port, and have set up roadblocks and barricades throughout the country.
Although bus fares were brought back down following the demonstrations, protesters continue to speak out against larger problems like corruption and police violence in their country.