Brazil – October 17, 2013

Brazil will take the center stage next year when the World Cup arrives.  And despite the fact many Americans won’t watch a single match, to the rest of the world the World Cup is bigger than the Super Bowl.  Recent events in Brazil are raising the question will Brazil be safe during the World Cup?

Today, according to the  Rio Times,  many in the country are upset with the lack of pay for teachers and the use of foreign doctors.  Leading the protests is a “non-violent” movement called the Black Bloc.  The Black Bloc is a attempting to rally the citizens to lobby the government for change in the present policy.

black bloc

“Black Bloc is not a group, it’s a strategy to fight against capitalism and social oppression,” a Rio member, wanting to be identified simply as Amarildo, told The Rio Times. “We are outraged at the system, we fight against the government, corruption and police oppression.”
The Black Bloc have joined teachers in their protests against low wages.  The teachers have waged an ongoing strike for reforms.  The group claims to be non-violent yet in some instances school buses have been burned and violence between the police and protesters has escalated.  The Black Bloc claims the violence is not to destroy or hurt anyone, but to send a message.

The “Programa Mais Médicos” (More Doctors Program) was announced by President Dilma Rousseff following the mass countrywide protests that demanded better public services in June and July.  The program was designed as temporary measure to battle Brazil’s chronic lack of doctors. According to the Health Ministry, there are only 1.8 health professionals for every 1,000 people in Brazil, while in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay, there are 3.2 and 3.7 for every 1,000 citizens, respectively.

brazilian doctors

Finally, Brazilians are upset with the US surveillance program.  Guess they don’t like us spying on them.  Which means the US relationship is sensitive.  Looks like John Kerry is down there trying to straighten it all out.

john kerry in Brazil

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