Brazilians march against corruption to mark independence day
Despite a rash of recent corruption scandals in Brazil, bright spots are appearing, including today's 'March Against Corruption' in support of President Rousseff’s efforts to clean up the capital.
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Last week’s secret vote in the Lower House, which successfully absolved Deputy Jaqueline Roriz of corruption charges, provides a point-in-case of the sort of impunity that has long muddied the reputation of Congress. In 2006 Ms. Roriz was caught red-handed on tape accepting a bribe of 50,000 reais ($33,000) in public money. Yet deputies justified the 235-166 vote in favor of absolution by claiming that Roriz had not yet been vested as a federal deputy when the film was shot – instead she was a state deputy at the time. The fact that a proven thief of public money continues to pose as a public servant seems to have escaped Congress’ sense of higher justice, much less its sense of irony. Irony of ironies, the ‘representatives of the people’ employed a very unrepresentative institutional mechanism – the ‘secret parliamentary vote’ – to endorse another desolating setback for parliament.Skip to next paragraph
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The March Against Corruption
But there is increasing movement against corruption and impunity. Today is Brazilian Independence Day, the 7th of September, and marches against corruption are set to take place across Brazil. The movement, simply called the “March Against Corruption” (marcha contra a corrupção) has been quietly accumulating supporters through social media, including Youtube (and here) and Facebook.
Organization against corruption is a positive step forward. As I wrote about a couple of posts ago, Brazilians have a reputation for passivity in the face of injustice. Yet it remains to be seen whether the march will prove little more than a fleeting protest. Discouragingly, the mainstream media has been providing very little coverage of the event.
The hands-off approach of the media makes perfect sense, however; zealous coverage of recent corruption scandals has led government to once more brandish the ‘media reform’ card. In the wake of the government’s efforts to purge corruption from federal ministries, especially those most involved in preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, it seems the strategy is now to use the media as a scapegoat. This is the media’s cue to play nice. Stay tuned.
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