Opinion Top

Apathy and fear are killing Brazilian democracy

The author holds her voter registration card after voting in Maringa, Brazil on Sunday. (YJI photo)

Maringa, Paraná State, BRAZIL – Today is a remarkable day for Brazilian democracy and people. 

For some people, being pushed to vote is a complete waste of time, since it’s mandatory for all Brazilians above age 18.

But for some others, after the dictatorship period that suspended the right to vote for 21 years, cooperating with the nation’s future is a privilege. 

People wait to vote inside a room at a public kindergarten. (Nicole Luna/YJI)

Ironically, Brazilians are more concerned with the World Cup, which is going to start next month,  than with the elections that are going to decide the future of the whole country for the next four years.

Why does it happen? Don’t Brazilian politics attract its citizens?

Well, with corruption being deeply rooted in our political history, gradually, it has made people feel disinterested and hopeless about politics and voting.

Despite the savior-like speeches that were rising in recent months, everywhere you go, there is the same complaint: “There isn’t a proper candidate to vote for.”

This election is marked by the huge division of the country between supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro and his challenger Luiz Inácio Lula, a former president.

We do have other candidates to vote for, but since they are not as popular as the other two (Lula and Bolsonaro), people have a little faith in them. According to recent research from Datafolha about the intention of the voters, Lula has 50% of the votes, Bolsonaro 36%, Simone Tebet 6%, Ciro Gomes 5% and Soraya Thronicke 1%.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes, the top two will compete in a runoff late this month.

Women enter a public school in Maringa, Brazil, to cast their ballots to influence their country’s future. (Nicole Luna/YJI)

Another reason for the Brazilian distance from politics is violence.

Speaking up in public about your position has become a dangerous act. From a simple discussion to a physical attack, people are going crazy. In July of this year, Marcelo Arruda, the treasurer of the Worker’s Party – the party of candidates Lula – was murdered. Police arrested Jorge Garanhao, a Bolsonaro follower, for the crime.

Brazilians are slowly killing democracy and messing up our beloved human rights, all in the name of a political party, as if we were living a Superman comic strip with the good and bad side.

As a young Brazilian who is voting for the first time, I never felt so undecided in my life. The purposes are good, but unfortunately the past of the candidates confuses me and thousands of other Brazilians who are tired of the current government. 

I don’t know how Superman could handle the responsibility of saving his city, because for me, saving my country through my vote is too difficult.

Nicole Luna is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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