Brazilians protest

The people of Brazil are not happy with their government. They have been demanding that the government improve the country’s health care, education, and transportation systems, amongst other things. Their president, Dilma Rousseff (see image), suggested changes, but Brazilians are not satisfied with her proposals and are still protesting.

The protests started because of an increase in public bus and train fares. People were already frustrated with the government for the way the country was being run, and got really annoyed that they now have to pay more to use public transportation. Brazil is going to host two of the world’s major sporting events – FIFA World Cup Soccer (in 2014) and the Summer Olympics (in 2016). The government has been spending tons of money in building stadiums to host these events, and there have been complaints that the government has been overspending for these events. The Brazilians would instead prefer for the government to spend part of the money in improving the roads, hospitals, and schools in the country.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world (by both area and population). It was a Portuguese colony for over 300 years, and got its independence in 1822. Most Brazilians are descendants of the Native American people, the Portuguese people, the slaves from Africa that the Portuguese brought, or a mix of them. There are terms that describe what type of ancestors a person has. For example, “mulatto” means mixed white European and black African, “caboclo” means mixed white European and Native American, and “cafuzo” means mixed black African and Native American.

There are many famous things that are associated with Brazil – the Amazon Rainforest (the largest rainforest on our planet), the Amazon River (the second longest river in the world, see image), the Christ the Redeemer statue (a tall statue of Jesus Christ overlooking the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, see image), the Copacabana beach (famous for its New Year’s Eve parties), the Rio Carnival (an annual street party), and the samba (a Brazilian dance). Brazil’s capital is Brasília, and its official language is Portuguese.

Did you know?

Brazil is the only South American country with Portuguese as its official language.

Image Credits: Nico Kaiser for  the Christ the Redeemer statue, NASA for the Amazon River’s image, http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br for Rousseff’s image