Target: Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil
Goal: Call on Brazil’s government to reign in spending on the World Cup soccer tournament and commit to increased funding for vital social services
Brazilian authorities expected massive crowds for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup soccer tournament. But well ahead of the month-long event, kicking off on June 13, crowds of Brazilians took to the streets in protest of their government’s skewed priorities. Social services–particularly those benefiting the nation’s poor–have been neglected while billions have been spent on stadium construction, publicity, security and other projects related to the World Cup.
This disconnect between the common good and government priorities has fueled growing unrest ahead of the World Cup. The union of metro workers in São Paulo announced plans to strike for better wages, according to news outlet Common Dreams. This could bring the city’s already dismal traffic situation to a screeching halt, causing considerable issues right as international tourists begin arriving for the games. At an earlier protest indigenous Brazilians were met with police mounted on horseback. The crowd shouted back, “Who is the Cup for? Not us! I don’t want the Cup, I want money for health and education.”
And yet rather than respond with a renewed commitment to social services, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff pledged to double-down on security for the tournament: $860 million spent on 20,000 private security agents alone, according to Agence France-Presse, not to mention an additional 157,000 military troops and police that will be spread among the World Cup’s dozen venues.
Brazilians have been protesting the warped priorities exposed by the World Cup since 2013, and they show little sign of stopping. Demand that President Rousseff scale back spending on the outrageously-expensive tournament and increase funding for the services her citizens depend on: healthcare, education and transportation.
Dear President Rousseff,
Protesters filled the streets in the days leading up to the World Cup. What was supposed to be a crowning achievement for your country–a demonstration of wealth, unity and modernity–instead highlighted corruption and neglect for the needs of average citizens. Yet rather than respond with a commitment to improve funding for education, healthcare and other essential services you chose to increase spending on additional, military-style security for the tournament.
Citizens of the world have watched the discontent bubbling up in Brazil ahead of the games. For many it felt reminiscent of Russia’s buildup to the recent Olympic games: lofty projects unfinished or untested; workers who lost their lives at construction job sites lacking proper safety equipment; targeting of slums, of the poor and homeless; slashing public services while spending billions on a month-long sporting event. One can assume this is not the face of Brazil that you want the world to see.
I call on you to increase funding for education, transportation, healthcare and other essential programs that your citizens depend on. Scale back spending on the World Cup event, and show your people that they matter at least as much as corporate sponsorships and high-priced ticket sales.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom via Agência Brasil