Brazil versus Rousseff. (I witnessed the largest protest ever)

Brasilia, March 13th. Early in the morning I started hearing the cars honking. It was just the beginning of a memorable day. A spontaneous popular manifestation is not an ordinary thing. On the streets, I saw people wearing yellow shirts, Brazil colors were everywhere… windows dressed with Brazil’s flags, wrapping cars, bikes.

Brazilians are generally complacent when it comes to politics. The sentiment that corruption is a cultural treat has been part of the nation’s “personality” for quite some time. So what draws millions of people all over the country to protest against the labor party (PT) of Lula and his successor Dilma Rousseff?

“You paid for this” a triplex presumably built for Lula (under investigation)

After the Mensalão scandal, when many PT leaders went to prison for corruption, a number of factors piled up. Critics of the dubious conduction of the economy including fiscal fraud and lethargy in implementing structural reforms, begin to partner with the sentiment that the only interest of Lula and his friends were to get rich and stay in power for as long as possible.

This Sunday’s protests are a clear expression of what the majority of the population wants. The message is simple: no more corruption. In a peaceful and even humorous way, the popular spontaneity also reinforced  the independence from political parties.

Brazilians are not looking for a new charismatic leader,  but the goal is to reinforce the principle that nobody is above the law, no matter how rich and powerful. Lula is under investigation and the same people who elected him, now wants him to be judged with severity.

The hero is the judge. Sergio Moro, the head of the team investigating the scheme of corruption on the highest level of the republic, was honored while even the opposition leaders like Aecio Neves, had to cancel his speech due to poor popular reception in São Paulo.

It was really a memorable day.



Published by Hildete Vodopives

Hildete de Moraes Vodopives is founder of Brazil Global and of the Harvard Strategists Group. She has a PhD in Economic History and advises companies and investment agencies in international business development.She served as Corporate Relations Director and later, on the board of the Brazilian Investment Analysts Association (APIMEC).

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