How do you say "Tea Party" in Portuguese?
We've seen massive anti-government demonstrations in Brazil over the last few weeks. These marches are happening because the people are disgusted. What we are seeing in Brazil is a perfect storm of misguided populist policies, an unsustainable welfare state, and the corruption that always comes when big business and bureaucrats are too cozy – i.e., "crony capitalism."
Take a look: there are all of the signs of a Tea Party, or whatever they want to call it in Portuguese.
And the amazing thing is that a young conservative is leading the way:
The March 15 demonstration was the largest Sao Paulo had seen in more than three decades, since 1984 protests demanding democratic elections after a long dictatorship.
But more surprising than the crowd of more than 200,000, according to the Datafolha polling and statistics agency, was the fact it was being led by Kataguiri, a skinny, 19-year-old college dropout, and other young Brazilian activists inspired by libertarianism and conservative free-market ideals.
The grandson of Japanese immigrants, Kataguiri is a social media star whose quirky videos skewer Rousseff and the ruling party's social welfare policies. His ascent as a protest figure has been rapid. Two years ago, when protests erupted across Brazil over corruption and poor public services, Kataguiri was a high schooler who avoided the unrest.
Today, he is the public face of the Free Brazil Movement, a growing force that is more focused than the 2013 unrest that expressed a wide range of middle-class anger. Brazil's new wave of protests are seen as a right-leaning movement clearly channeled against Rousseff and her Workers' Party.
This is the best news that we've heard from Latin America all year. It confirms that many people are sick and tired of the kind of "populismo" that has given us the big but rather inefficient Brazilian economy.
In fact, the Economist reports that the economy will shrink in 2015! The economy will shrink, but the marches will grow.
Frank Sinatra used to sing that they drink a lot of coffee in Brazil. It looks as though there may be a Tea Party with a little samba, too!
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