Brazilian President’s Attempts to Placate Protesters Backfire

Larry Rohter
New York Times
July 13, 2013

Brazilian President Dilma Roussef.
Brazilian President Dilma Roussef.

First she wanted to convoke a constitutional assembly, then she favored holding a plebiscite. Her government has promised more money for education and health care, to be paid for from oil royalties that do not yet exist. Her advisers have floated ideas like reducing the number of cabinet ministers from the current ungainly 39 and making it easier for the public to introduce legislation by petition.

President Dilma Rousseff has tried to defuse the protests that have rocked the streets of Brazil by seemingly granting the demonstrators what they want. But nearly every step she has taken has backfired, increasing public dissatisfaction with her performance.

A month after demonstrations erupted over official corruption, overspending on the construction of stadiums and infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, police brutality, and a host other issues, a whiff of desperation hangs over her government.

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