Why Brazil is not a great Nation

Yes, I know the title is pretensions and ambitious, but I actually have some examples to prove my point so bear with me.

Brazil is not a great nation for two reasons:

Brazilians do not consider it a nation.

Brazilians do not consider it their nation.

Yes, I also know that Brazilians have to be cut some slack because they are making lots of efforts, but its much, much deeper than that. I will illustrate my philosophy with examples that are all 100% true and witnessed in person. 

1. In an outdoor birthday party in a country club, everyone, and I mean everyone, simply threw their paper cups and napkins on the lovely lawn, and left their used plates on the ground, next to their seats or on tables.

2. A Facebook group is trying to collect signatures to force the authorities to create strict laws against drunk driving. This country has millions of Facebook users. They need 1 million signatures and have, after 2 years, only collected 400,000. This can only mean two things: Brazilians know they are drinking and driving and will do nothing about it until someone in their family dies in a car crash (causing someone´s death is obviously not important), or their children are drinking and driving and they have no intention of stopping them. Police apprehensions of people driving without a license have gone up 80%!

3. A Facebook page is trying to collect signatures to fight corruption, they aren´t even close to the 1 million and never will be. The reasons can only be that Brazilians still consider corruption acceptable or admirable or that they are corrupt or corruptible in some way, maybe at work.

4. The presidential party (ruling party) is currently being investigated for corruption in one of the biggest political scandals and trials in the history of Brazil. The same party has majority of voters in São Paulo, a city that never voted for this party.

5. During the election campaigns, litter left by candidates in the streets was so bad that a woman actually tripped on the pamphlets and died. My town looked like an atomic bomb had hit it. If politicians are willing to treat their city that way, how can they deserve our vote?

6. The city or town hall says that each individual is responsible for his or her pavement. Yes, this means that if you fall into a hole in the street, the house or building that is directly in front of that hole is responsible for your injuries. On the same token, the pavements that are in front of properties that belong to the town or city hall are always the worst in the city or town, sometimes causing serious pedestrian accidents almost every day.

7. Every day, at school in and out time, a police car has to stop at the pedestrian crossing in front of the school (in my town) so that kids can cross the street. If the policeman does not force cars to stop, they do not stop and the kids cannot cross. If the law says you have to stop when someone stands at a crossing, who is enforcing that law?

8. When you visit Ilhéus, the Princess of the North-East, in Bahia, you sit in the beach and have to dodge buried nappies, food and plastic cups. Trucks simply dump all their rubble in the beaches. One individual actually tried to create a movement, but she asked all the members to organize the protests so the movement became obsolete. Politicians in Ilhéus have been promising the construction of a new bridge for almost 6 years. Candidates get elected govern and leave, and no one builds the bridge.

9. Luxury stores in Paris have to hire Brazilian sales staff (not Portuguese, Brazilian) because if the saleswomen does not treat clients in a certain way, they do not enter the shop. It´s not arrogance, it´s lack of self-confidence and she has to know what handbag “Carminha” in Avenida Brasil was using to be able to sell them a Chanel bag just like hers.

10. In carnival in Salvador, Bahia, they installed hundreds of chemical toilets that were stolen or vandalized. The organizers concluded that “people (o povo) are not ready for these things”. In carnival in Rio, people left so much litter in the beach that it became news and an example used for littering campaigns.

11. In a protest held in Rio (Rio!) to support the “mensalão” the huge political trial going on in Brazil right now, 40 people participated. Now, in this year´s Gay Parade….

I could go on, and on and on forever with these examples. My conclusion is that Brazilians simply do not care about Brazil. They do not love their own country as a nation of equals who have the same needs, rights and duties. No one is held accountable and no one is punished. Everything simply dissolves into nothing, which they call “pizza”. It´s no longer a joke. It´s just not funny anymore. If we, yes I include myself although I am the only one who stops at the bloody crossing, do not start embracing our country as a nation and defending the rights of all its citizens, we will not only be isolated from the world, but from our own people. Finger pointing is not the solution. We have to look at ourselves first.

Now, let´s sit back and see what happens in the Olympic Games and the World Cup. Then maybe Brazil will wake up and fight or come together as a nation.

12 responses to “Why Brazil is not a great Nation

  1. I am Brazilian and immigrated to another country 6 years ago. It was my dream come true when I left Brazil cause I just couldn’t live there anymore for the very reasons you cited here and some more. I just couldn’t stand, let alone understand, why people, whether poor or rich, have to litter places they visit, no matter what the circumstances! How many times I’ve witnessed people littering the streets when a dustbin was at the reach of their lazy hands! This is disgusting and unacceptable! Feels like they don’t know what being civilized really means!

    However, to me, the most intriguing thing is their love for their shitty country who gives them NO OPPORTUNITY to grow! In 6 years living abroad I have accomplished much, but soooo much more than in the 32 years I’ve lived in Brazil – BRAZIL GAVE ME NO FUCKING CHANCES!!! As a foreigner, I had more incentives to grow and to be a productive citizen than I had in my own home country, and it makes you feel really shitty that your own country doesn’t give a damn to you, only want to exploit you through exorbitant taxes and compulsory voting – yes, in Brazil you are FORCED TO VOTE, and if you don’t, you can’t apply for jobs, passports, etc. And they still have the audacity to call it a democracy! What a sick joke!

    Are Brazilians delusional or what? I am Brazilian but I cannot find an answer to that question… I just immigrated, haha – much more productive than trying to find answers and “reasons why” of lost causes…

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    • Thanks for your comment. I have several Brazilian friends who would willing leave Brazil to live abroad. My father used to say, If you can survive in Brazil, you can survive anywhere. He was a native Brazilian and took us to live in the UK when I was 4. You are absolutely right about the littering. Brazilians are always daydreaming about the US and imitate everything the North Americans do except the exact things that make the US a nation. Its like children imitating grown ups. Brazilians do not have the “nation” perceptive. It´s each one out for his own. Social areas are for personal use and are not respected as being social, and no one even considers that others should not be forced to pick up your muck. They do not behave like that at home.

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  2. In my post graduate course (FGV) there was an intense discussion about this. One comment from one senior student was: ‘Brazil needs a war so Brazilians become more patriotic’. That made everybody think about it….

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    • He is right, of course. Unfortunately wars bring a nation together. A common enemy brings a nation together, brings people together. I once read in the almost ancient book “inside Latin America” than Brazilians are non-confrontational, which is probably why they don´t like wars. Maybe it´s a good thing, but a common enemy could just do the trick, like the US did with communism.

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  3. It’s definitely not going to change in a while. I’m Brazilian and I know that part of our problems is deeply rooted in cultural aspects of Brazil which permeated the framework of our society ever since its very foundation,way back in the early stages of the colonial period.

    I’m not arguing that we’re congenitally incapable of bringing about positive changes, seeing that some advances have been achieved, but this country is still a veritable den of thieves, venal politicians and conformists.

    Your third point is not actually the main motive for Brazilians’ leniency for corruption. Most of people who voted for this party are ignorant of (or even unaware of) basic facts of politics and much more so concerning political scandals here. Of course, there are people who support these politicians consciously too, they have personal reasons to do so as they are selling votes for welfarism (bolsa família).

    Brazil is only a self-procclaimed democracy, not everyone is entitled to the same rights. Take this example, the current government has promoted divisions amongst people on the basis of racial labels when it brought in quotas for admissions of blacks and brown-skinned people at universities, to the detriment of all others.

    It’s appalling that many will still continue to vote for those who disqualify them out of ignorance and stupidity, even though we surely live in a country full of people actively indulged in kissing the ass of Lula and his close associates.

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    • Thank you for your comment. I am also appalled at the racial quotas system approved for universities. It seems they only make matters worse and create ineffective laws to cover real problems, which, as a student benefited by one of these quotas said in an interview, “my schooling was so bad that it took me 2 years to catch up with the other students. I just wish they would improve the schooling system instead.” University students should never be selected based on colour, that is racism against white people. It´s just silly. I am black and would feel insulted it a university only chose me because of my skin colour. As I always say, if do not want to be racist or prejudiced, never ever say the words “black”, “fat”, “beautiful”, “handicapped”…. we are just people and deserve to be treated as people.

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      • I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Both of you. The Brazilian policy of quotas it’s a huge advance for the poor people. Brazil had slaves until 1888, and after they were set free, no one move a finger to help them, those were abondoned for years. A few years ago only 2 per cent of the university students were black, so how can anyone say that the quotas are a bad thing ? It’s not about racism, it’s about the fact the most of the poor population it’s black and don’t have acess to good education. What means they can’t run for public university, because they’ll be smashed by all the other midclass/rich students, who have studied at a private school their entire lifes. They simply can’t compete with that.

        Of course it would be much better to invest in good education for all the children, but it doens’t solve the problem of a lot of black teenagers that can’t afford a private university, and have a very small chance of getting into public university. Understand that the only people who goes against this Quota Law in Brazil is those who don’t understand the reality of the problem; and those who might have lost space for a quota student, most of the time these people can afford a pay university, or have the chance($$) to get a proper preparation for the incoming ‘vestibulares’.

        And more, they’re now changing the law basics so it’ll stop focus on race ‘black or indigean students’ and focus on their social conditions. It means that the preference will be public education students, people that have a low earning – regardless of the color. And we’ll have a way more ‘universalized’ public university rather that an public university who gives free education to the rich, who doens’t necessarily needs it and can afford for private colleges..

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        • Thanks for your comment. I must admit I find it a little rude to tell me I am wrong about something and then present the opposite argument, as if it were the right one.

          In Brazil, there are people for and against the Quotas system. I only know what people tell me and what I feel, and then come to my own conclusions and post them on my blog. Maybe you should present your thoughts on your blog instead of telling me I am wrong on my own blog.

          Anyway, I thought it a good idea to approve the comment because it´s the typical argument for the Quotas, in case anyone is interested. I only know that, being black, I would hate to be in a place that only accepted me because I was black. Maybe the question people should ask themselves is why so many of us blacks are in fact poor. That is something that has interested me for many years and I cannot answer. My father was a militant of the black/anti-racial cause and spoke in lectures, protests and all types of events his entire life, and he came to the same conclusion. Being black is not an excuse for anything. I am actually honoured to be the great grand child of slaves and consider myself lucky to be living in Brazil rather than Africa. I blame no one for my race´s suffering because most slave merchants were also black and slavery has been a reality in this world since the very beginning. Jews were slaves, entire Chinese rural communities were slaves, rural workers all around the world are still slaves, and they blame no one, so why should we? I prefer to stand on my own two feet and be accountable for my own future rather than point fingers at others for my own misfortune.

          Too many people in Brazil get a bad education at home. It´s cultural. Most poor people don´t read or care if their kid´s school sucks. I have LIVED with dozens on these families and they only care about their bolsa familia. The ones who do care, make sure their kids are ready for university and those are the fortunate ones who get in because of merit, not colour.

          Doing back to the topic of quotas, I personally find it insulting. But if it benefits anyone, fine. I know of people who dropped out because they could not catch up and people who took 2 years to catch up, which was almost the time of the programme they were studying. To “tampar o sol com a peneira” is a gross understatement in the case of quotas, but hey, if it helps anyone. Great.

          The good news (for public school students) is that private education is getting worse and worse, and universities will have to lower their standards to accept ANY student in the near future. That might solve the equality issue because everyone will have to “start from zero” as it were. The ENEM seems to be solving this problem of inequality. Another problem is that private universities are not as good as public ones, which is why EVERYONE wants to go to one, not just poor people.
          I am all for Quotas for poor people rather than indigenous and black people, but I am also for free cursinhos for them until education gets better, which it will. The ministry of education is already heading in that direction.

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  4. I agree with most points, but even if it isn’t much more than a huge party, putting the Gay Parade in such a light is incredibly shortsighted. A country being accepting and tolerant of their LGBT population definitely isn’t something to be mocked or seen as a negative point.

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    • Thanks for your comment. I am not putting the Gay Parade in any light and it was only mentioned to emphasize a point, which is that Brazilians have their priorities all wrong. And I disagree that Brazil has accepted and is tolerant of its LGBT population. The violence I have witnessed against homosexuals and the homophobia in Brazil contrasts with the large LGBT community there is here. I lived in Ibiza for years and know what true tolerance is. But again, the Gay Parade has nothing to do with my point. I could have mentioned the Marcha da Maconha in exactly the same way. Its the manifestation not the topic.

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  5. My father-in-law once said, “If I lived in America, I would be proud to pay taxes” in regards to everything being so nice. But does it all come from the government, this ‘niceness’ that we see in the States or elsewhere? No, it comes from individuals taking pride in their country. But I think it has been such lonely route that people have the, “Oh well, it’s how it has always been, never going to change” attitude. HOWEVER, I am starting to hear reports of people starting to stand up to corruption and whatnot. Hopefully that will catch on and people will realize THEY are the ones responsible for making the country a better place.

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    • Thank you for your comment. Yes, Brazilians have to understand that they are also responsible for the things they complain about and that they are way too permissive with themselves and, consequently, with their government. Brazilians do not take kindly to any form of criticism and become falsely patriotic (called, ufanismo), especially if that criticism is true. When I tell people I chose Brazil over dozens of other countries I have lived in, their first reaction is shock, then disbelief and curiosity. I have to convince THEM of the wonderful country they have. Tell a North American you chose his country and he will never even ask you why. He KNOWS why. North America has its problems, but there are certain rules that everyone follows out of love for their country and society, out of respect. One day, I hope we will catch up.

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