Photo: Camila Picolo

By Fernanda Cirenza

OThe message came from the streets and left everyone astonished before the torrent of dissatisfaction that took over the country. The moment was unexpected, considering the expectations of the Confederations Cup and the social and economic indicators. The unemployment rate is 5,8%, the lowest since 2002. Income distribution has improved significantly in the last 15 years. Investments in education have increased, as have those in health. The life expectancy of Brazilians also rose, while there was a drop in infant mortality rates. In March, a CNI/Ibope survey showed 63% approval by the government of President Dilma Rousseff. However, it was not just football that held popular interest. Brazil wanted, asked and continues to ask for more, motivated by the displeasure with chronic problems that do not alleviate with the good condition of the country.

Check out our page about the 2013 demonstrations 

Luiz Eduardo Soares (anthropologist, political scientist, writer and professor at UERJ) wrote on his blog ( “The mass broke expectations and the tradition of apathy, and invented a movement that will be, through its lessons and its effects, the true legacy to future generations. The narrative started to be written, in the streets and on virtual networks, by millions of hands and voices, desires and protests, inscribing its authors in the global scene, in dialogue with other squares, other crowds, other struggles. Society has turned the tables.”   

In fact, popular pressure made some specific achievements, starting with the repeal of the increase in public transport fares in several cities – in fact, the initial demand promoted by the Movimento Passe Livre (MPL) in São Paulo, which, according to him, is social and non-partisan. Subsequently, the government of the State of São Paulo stopped the increase in toll prices. In the Central Plateau, complex issues began to be discussed. First, the controversial PEC-37 was overturned, which, roughly speaking, limited the powers of the Public Ministry for criminal investigation.

Then, the Senate ratified, on an emergency basis, the project that could make corruption a heinous crime. The Judiciary also brought an agile response, ordering the arrest of Natan Donadon, the first federal deputy to be detained in full exercise of office since the 1988 Constitution – he was sentenced to more than 13 years for the crimes of conspiracy and embezzlement.

President Dilma Rousseff opened up to dialogue and proposed a national pact with five items – fiscal responsibility in the three spheres of power, pact for health, public transport and education, and political reform through a plebiscite. In an unprecedented and historic meeting, Dilma summoned 27 governors and mayors of the 26 capitals to debate the themes, most of them still under discussion and, probably, subjects that will be on the political agenda in the coming months. The opposition parties to the government reacted, classifying the plebiscite proposal as a “diversionist maneuver”. In the opinion of the PSDB, DEM and PPS, the government is “creating a subterfuge to displace the discussion of the country's real problems”.

In the midst of so much information, there were warning voices. On the blog Mídiafazmal (, by Marilene Felinto (writer, translator and former columnist for Folha de S. Paul), the philosopher Marilena Chauí wrote: “It is worth reminding the protesters who are on the left that, if they do not have political autonomy and if they do not defend it with determination, they may, in Brazil, put water at the mill of the same economic and political powers that organized large right-wing demonstrations in Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina. And the media, pledged, will thank you for the high ratings”.

Meanwhile, President Dilma insisted on dialogue as a form of management and also convened meetings with popular movements. Sociologist Manuel Castells, in an interview with the magazine This is (which was later widely shared on social media), she said: “Dilma is the first world leader to listen to the streets”. Castells went on to say: "She has shown that she is a true Democrat, but she is being stabbed in the back by mainstream politicians." This is no small feat, considering how governments that have faced similar pressures have reacted recently.

Photo: Luiza Sigulem

In Ethiopia, in a meeting with world leaders who were discussing the fight against hunger, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also spoke about the protests that spread across Brazil and said that the demonstrations, in part, are the result of what was done in Brazil in the last ten years: “Happy is the people who have the freedom to express themselves. And even happier is the country that has a people who demonstrate and take to the streets wanting more”.

In an exclusive interview with Hélio Campos Mello and Luiza Villaméa, editor-in-chief and special reporter for Brazilian, published below, Lula reaffirmed that he will not run for president in 2014. “Dilma is an excellent president of the Republic. I know a lot of people in this country. I know a lot of politicians in this country. And I know very few people with Dilma's competence. Therefore, she will be my candidate in 2014. And I will be her electoral corporal. That is what will happen.” 

The demonstrations also experienced the truculent reaction of the police and acts of vandalism. Dozens of people were arrested. Clashes were recorded in various parts of the country, resulting in deaths. A regrettable and tragic balance of the democratic discussion. There is still a long way to go. The debate now does not have the slightest possibility of retreat. Fortunately.

On the following pages, in addition to Lula's exclusive interview with Brazilian, you will read the opinion of Nina Cappello and Vitor dos Santos Quintiliano, MPL representatives, before the events. Specialists, scholars and opinion makers also analyze the June episodes. The articles are published in alphabetical order, considering the name of the authors. The moment calls for reflection.

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