Violence and Corruption: Double Challenge for a Prosperous Brazil

    Corruption in Brazil

    Corruption in Brazil The numbers from the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) are impressive: Brazil Gross Domestic Product is the highest in the last 12 years. There's been a 5.8% registered increase in the first quarter of 2008 thanks to its industrial growth and a general consumption increase.

    Economics apart, Brazil still has some homework to do. This is what reveals the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) released in April. Despite measures to decrease poverty and protect human rights, the country still faces violence and many forms of exploitation, which includes forced labor and sexual exploitation.

    According to Pedro Abramovay, Under-Secretary for Legislative Affairs of the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, violence is still a serious issue. According to him, in 2007, 40.000 homicides were registered in Brazil, while 420,000 Brazilians are currently in prison.

    "It is embarrassing to see that only in a few cases, a criminal is arrested," declared Phillip Alston, special rapporteur for the United Nations Humans Rights Council on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

    If violence were not enough, the country faces another challenge in its battle for social justice: corruption. According to the president of Rio de Janeiro's OAB (Bar Association), Wadith Damous, organized crime is on the very basis of the center of the state.

    "The impression I have is that corruption seems to be quite functional, that is, it seems like public services can no longer function without it," declared OAB president.

    The most recent cases, just last week, involved two governors, one of Paraí­ba, Cássio Lima, in the northeast region, accused of buying election votes, and governor Yeda Crusius from one the wealthiest states of the country in the southern region – Rio Grande do Sul. Crusius was accused of financially compensating political parties in exchange for political support.

    According to the OAB's president, the whole country needs to mobilize to address this issue: "We need to have political willingness, mobilize the entire nation, in order to attack this problem that affects all levels of the State.

    "As long as Brazil maintains such concept of criminalizing the poor while granting impunity to the superior casts of our society, corruption will remain as a sad registered mark of our history," remarked Wadith.

    While the economy continues to grow side by side with social issues, Brazilians are not yet celebrating. Food prices already soared up to 71%, even though, Brazil is not listed on the food crisis report of the United Nations.

    An article published by São Paulo daily Jornal da Tarde, shows that 1% of Brazil's GDP is allocated to international reserves. If this weren't enough, the Brazilian Society Organization for the Progress of Science indicated that if the country wants to continue growing, it needs to develop its own technology.

    Annually, Brazil spends close to US$ 2.1 billion in royalties from basic needs such as food and medication to technology. Back in 2006, royalties reached an extraordinary number of US$ 3.1 billion.

    According to Marcello Nonnenberg, an economist for Ipea (Applied Economic Research Institute), the country could be in a much better position, if it would invest in knowledge.

    "Many companies prefer to import technology, rather than invest in development." Currently 90% of all Brazilian products rely on foreign technology. The United Nations Universal Periodic Review does not point out specific solutions for poverty or economic development, nor the difficulties to accomplish such a huge task, but it offers criticism over the failures and successes of each country-member. In Brazil, only 10% of the nation's population retain 75% of all the wealth in the country

    Edison Bernardo DeSouza is a journalist, having graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo, Brazil. He lived in the US for close to 10 years and participated in volunteering activities in social works agencies. DeSouza currently lives in São Paulo where he teaches English as a Second Language, and is pursuing further advancements in his career. He is particularly interested in economics and human rights articles.

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    • Show Comments (9)

    • João da Silva

      Jon
      [quote]President Reagan visited your country in I believe in 1984 or ’85 and raised a toast at a state dinner and said here’s to “Boliva”….he was not always on the ball with his statements[/quote]

      Jon, I think it was in 82 or 84 and I don’t remember.Would you believe if I told ya that I was in Brasilia for a week when Ron was there (for some other business other than being a cheer leader for him!). I heard his gaffe on the TV in my hotel room and I was roaring with laughter.

      I took off from Brasilia on the same day (and the same hour) as Ron left for good ole U.S.of A. I still remember his plane being given the priority to take off while our flight was being delayed for a few minutes. The VARIG captain cheerfully asked the passengers to be patient and nobody minded (as plenty of cold ones were served). I still think that Reagon´s gaffes were committed,because he was already with the Alzheimer.

      Ron was not a bad person and did not delay other flights from taking off from Brasilia. For that I respect him!!

    • jon

      Reagan’s Gaffes
      Joao,

      President Reagan visited your country in I believe in 1984 or ’85 and raised a toast at a state dinner and said here’s to “Boliva”….he was not always on the ball with his statements 😮 😮

    • João da Silva

      Gringo
      [quote]João, have you seen the documentary “Manda Bala”? The film connects corruption and kidnapping in Brazil with a focus on Jader Barbalho in Para, a plastic surgeon in Sao Paulo, Police in Rio, and a frog farmer.[/quote]

      No Gringo, I have not seen the film.But let me tell you, Jader Barbalho is capable of doing anything and the folks in PA like to elect and reelect him. But I intend researching about this film.btw, that SOB is still in PMDB, is he not?

      [quote]”The rich steal from the poor, so the poor steal the rich”. The film makes a wonderful argument that the rich (corrupt) only have themselves to blame for the violence. [/quote]

      In the late 80´s during the era of Ronald Reagan, a spokesman of the U.S. State department made a famous comment: “The elite of Latin America feel secure surrounded by the poor”. It did create a commotion in our press (some anchor persons who vehemently protested against his remark and demanded an apology still work for our TV networks). My wife (who is bilingual too) told me that the spokesman was absolutely right and his prophesy would come true, except that she modified the quote a couple of years ago: “The elite of Latin America are now AFRAID to be surrounded by the poor”. They created the monster that is getting out of control.

      Why do you think that so many “Paulistanos” are coming down South? I cant help laughing when they give the their reasons. You must know too,since you have been here for a long time.

    • Gringo

      Manda Bala
      João, have you seen the documentary “Manda Bala”? The film connects corruption and kidnapping in Brazil with a focus on Jader Barbalho in Para, a plastic surgeon in Sao Paulo, Police in Rio, and a frog farmer. Great! The films sale´s line is (and it´s a good one) [i]”The rich steal from the poor, so the poor steal the rich”[/i]. The film makes a wonderful argument that the rich (corrupt) only have themselves to blame for the violence. I´m sure you can find it on a torrent site given it´s not allowed to be distributed in Brazil.

    • João da Silva

      “It is naive for the poor class to think that the corruption does not affect them. ”
      [quote]So right ![/quote]

      As usual 😀

      [quote]Expecially if a government KEEPS a high percent of taxes collected for their own well being, such as salaries and perks, pensions funds, over crowded administrations and corruptions practices.
      The BALANCE is what will be left for paved roads, waste water treatment, education, healthcare, housing subsidizes, poverty reduction….just to name a few ![/quote]

      You are right as usual 😉

      Corruption>Less Money= Less investment in production and infrastructure building= Less jobs =Less money in the pockets of the poor; All these result in VIOLENCE

      Gee, I am not even a Swiss trained economist to come to this conclusion 😉

      btw, there is a nice article in the other site http://www.brazzil.com written by Augusto Zimmermann. The title is ” In Brazil, Rule of Law Is for the Birds”. Worth reading.

    • ch.c.

      “”It is embarrassing to see that only in a few cases, a criminal is arrested,”
      – And even more embarassing when criminals…….are freed……because innocented by the Brazilian Supreme Court of ALL (IN)Justices !!!!

      – And also embarassing when guilty proven corrupted politicians……are PARDONNED…..by their peers, the other politicians, as guilty as the ones they pardoned….via a SECRET VOTE…..JUST AS EMBARASSSING….but so good that no one knows who voted for the pardons.

      Your Supreme Court of ALL (IN)Justices…..has determined thousands of times that murderers dont deserve jail time…..but those poors stealing an apple should be exterminated by your deaths squads and when they are in a good mood, a young woman deserves 4 years of jail time because she stole…a tube of butter.

      Be proud of not doing street demonstration for these behaviours.

      This is exactly those you elected expect from you the society.

      So that they can continue for eternity !!!!!

    • ch.c.

      “It is naive for the poor class to think that the corruption does not affect them. ”
      So right !
      Expecially if a government KEEPS a high percent of taxes collected for their own well being, such as salaries and perks, pensions funds, over crowded administrations and corruptions practices.
      The BALANCE is what will be left for paved roads, waste water treatment, education, healthcare, housing subsidizes, poverty reduction….just to name a few !

      Better yet those benefitting from the filthy system, ALSO RECEIVES the world highest rate after inflation on their savings (poors DONT HAVE savings…. by definition)…which further reduce the available BALANCE…..as stated above.

      End results ? Brazil has still a high percentage of poverty, bad education, bad healthcare, only 10 % of paved roads, high pollution everywhere, thousands of dumpsites, and thousands of favelas…..meaning SLUMS !!!!!!

      And all this in a country RANKED as a…..MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Be proud to be Brazilians. Be proud with your Bin the Crook.

      A sad reality.

      A tragedy for humanity !!!!!

    • ch.c.

      “Brazil Gross Domestic Product is the highest in the last 12 years”
      Can the smart cookies at the IBGE name just the names of countries which have a LOWER GDP THAN 12 YEARS AGO ????????
      Not even Haiti or Togo, Benin would be on that list !
      In my humble view these REAL idiots wanted to say…… the HIGHEST GDP…..GROWTH RATE…of the last 12 years !

      Laugh….laugh….laugh….laugh….laugh !

    • João da Silva

      Violence and Corruption: Double Challenge for a Prosperous Brazil
      A good reporting by Edison DeSouza and an apt title for the article. Congrats again.

      If these two issues are not debated by ALL segments of the society, Brasil will continue to be a country of social inequalities and an unjust society.It is naive for the poor class to think that the corruption does not affect them.

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