An Effort to Make Fringe Politics Mainstream
Brazil is anything but calm. Shortly after the end of the summer Olympics, the Senate impeached President Dilma Rousseff and removed her from office. This came about after a corruption probe revealed widespread bribery among the political elite. On top of the political turmoil, the country’s economy is predicted to shrink 3.3 percent this year after a 3.8 percent contraction in 2015, already Brazil’s worst recession on record. But the moment the country’s political order actually began to unravel was in 2013, when millions of people across the country took to the streets with a range of demands from affordable public transportation to fixes to the government bureaucracy. The system shock of these “June Journeys” served as a catalyst in pushing the country in opposite directions—left and right.
Two young protestors from Rio de Janeiro, Mayara Donaria and Gustavo Mota, were among those who gathered in what were considered Brazil’s largest protests in 20 years. Donaria is a leftist student from the low-income Rio favela of Maré and marched with friends who were involved in social justice campaigns, principally against police violence. Mota, who leans right, runs a graphic design startup in the condo-packed beachside Rio neighborhood of Barra and has called for less government regulation on businesses.