Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rousseff listens to protestors grievances while shooting them down

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff implements neoliberal economic policies enriching the oligarchs & impoverishing millions--policies which include throwing Indigenous peoples off their rural lands, evicting residents of urban slums to make way for gentrification & swanky shopping malls, creating massive homelessness, in particular homelessness for children. Those austerity policies which have been so disastrous on education, health care, & housing directly led to the ongoing protests in hundreds of cities & towns by millions of Brazilians.

But Rousseff tried to pull this economic heist off using her youthful credentials as a socialist & opponent of dictatorship. So when the protests (that she could not control) erupted she said she was proud of the protestors for demanding an end to the plunder at their expense. "These people must be heard,” she said & "My government is listening to the voices calling for change.”

It’s just so hard to understand how she can hear those voices over the sound of gun fire directed by riot police against the protestors. Media report that protests have turned violent. That tends to happen when riot cops show up in battle gear with water cannons & firing rubber bullets, tear gas, & stun grenades. Here they fire rubber bullets at protestors outside the palace where Pope Francis was meeting with Rousseff on Monday. The pope is in Rio to attend World Youth Day, an annual Catholic Church event.

One wonders if Pope Francis, who has pegged himself pope of the poor, will speak out in solidarity with protestors or remain mute in fraternity with the oligarchs like all the other popes. Since the Brazilian government is shelling out $60 million to bankroll the World Youth Day event (essentially subsidizing religion at the expense of Brazilian education) if you’re going to lay odds, history would suggest papal dead silence.

(Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters)

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