By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff made an appearance on TV yesterday night together with several members of her Worker’s Party PT, including ex-President Lula, campaigning for the party and the government’s program. However, in several cities all over the country, people starting banging their pans in a form of protest against the speech, known as ‘Panelaço’.
The ad talked about the achievements of the Worker’s Party mainly in the last six years, warning about those that wanted to turn the economic crisis into a political one and urging people to choose the path of ‘hope’ instead of ‘pessimism’. Programs like Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life), Investments for infrastructure and employment protection together with tax cuts were cited as the party’s successes.
The political ad was surprisingly open about Brazil being in an economic crisis and the party having made some mistakes. But then promised that “together we will make it out of this” and President Rousseff affirming “I am on your side.” It also emphasized the fact that the government was democratically elected only a short while ago.
However, many people in the streets and their homes didn’t agree with the TV ad. The Panelaço, where people bang their pans at their windows and car drivers honk in order to drown the speech in noise, was heard in several cities around Brazil including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Brasília and Curitiba.
President Dilma Rousseff’s popularity is on a record low in Brazil with only eight percent of the population still supporting her, according to a recent poll. That is also why this was the first time she appeared in a PT ad this year, although only at the very end. The ad even predicted a panelaço, saying they understand the protest, but then telling people to better use their pans for cooking.
With the dissatisfaction with the current government growing in Brazil, new protests have been announced for next Sunday, August 16th. They are expected to be similar to those happening in March and April this year.