By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Following the spate of corruption scandals that has blighted the government in recent months, Brazilians from all sectors of society are standing up in support of President Rousseff’s governmental “clean-up” operation and making their voices heard in the fight against corruption. Last Wednesday, Brazilian Independence Day celebrations were augmented by Brazilians around the country marching in protest.

About 25,000 people attend the March Against Corruption, calling for an end of the secret ballot in the House and Senate and punishment of corrupt, Brazil News
About 25,000 people attend the March Against Corruption, photo by Marcello Casal Jr/ABr.

The movement, known simply as The March Against Corruption, gathered momentum reportedly after the organizers posted it as an event on Facebook.

In Brasília, the protest gathered more than 25,000 supporters who marched down the Mall (“Esplanada”) dressed in black, many wearing bright red clown noses, and carrying banners and posters calling for a ban on secret votes in Congress and an end to impunity for corrupt government ministers.

The demonstration follows on the heels of multiple scandals across the government in the Ministries of Tourism, Transport, Agriculture and the forced resignation of Rousseff’s Chief of Staff in June.

Protestors expressed particular indignation over the acquittal of Federal Deputy Jaqueline Roriz in a secret vote at the end of last month, who faced a charge of misconduct after being caught on video accepting stacks of cash from another Brasília official, Durval Barbosa, in 2006.

Despite Barbosa’s admission that the money had come from illegal over-billing on government contracts and was a payoff for Roriz’s political support, Roriz was cleared of the charges by a vote of 265 to 166 after her defense argued that she could not be deprived of her seat in the Chamber of Deputies when the offense took place before she was made a deputy.

Jaqueline Roriz, Brazil News
Cleared of all charges in a secret vote in congress, Jaqueline Roriz was caught on camera accepting bribes, photo by Valter Campanato/ABr.

The position that one cannot be expelled from one political forum for activities that took place outside of that particular forum, has been used by a number of officials to protect their positions. Under the system of the secret vote, the defendants’ peers are the ones to decide whether the argument stands or not, and critics argue that with their own interests to protect, many of them concur.

In a joint statement by Brazil’s Bar Association (OAB), the Brazilian Press Association (ABI), and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CNBB), who turned out in favor of the March Against Corruption, they said, “Corruption in our country is a pandemic which threatens the credibility of institutions and the entire democratic system.”

They are calling for more transparency in government spending, fewer political appointments and an immediate overhaul of the “Ficha Limpa” (or Clean Criminal Record law), to prohibit people with criminal records from running for elective office.

Luciana Kalil, one of the organizers of the March Against Corruption, said, “We hope to take advantage of the popularity of the movement and promote demonstrations in an attempt to change the country’s laws. The march on Independence Day was a generic movement against corruption. We will now move forward to make effective changes.”

One of their primary aims will be to put an end to secret votes in Congress which promote political impunity. Justice Minister Eduardo Cardoso voiced his support, saying, “We all have a duty to combat corruption…the President supports this.”


  1. It is a long path for the brazilian society to become free from corruption. This staggering problem can almost be considered a cultural feature of brazilian people. In Brazil everybody dreams with a job in the public sector with all those marvellous benefits. Once you are in, if you are not corrupt per se, you are not strict with your colleagues that are. Tell me about it “Jack-line Horror-is”(Jaqueline Roriz) ?. Besides of that, the average public servants do only the minimal of their responsibilities in order to get those excellent salaries paid up at the end of the month. The social midia brought The Arab Spring and it is also bringing conscience to the brazilian youth. Phraised it be the Facebook !!!

  2. I strongly agree with most of Tiago Pinto Silveira excellent points of view. All countries have their corruption problems because Power invites special interest groups to persuade politicions or the “gatekeepers” that control awarding lucrative gov’t contracts to be “tempted” with sweet incentives ranging from kickbacks , campaign contributions , lavish junkets, to blatent bribes. It is sad to see young earnest sincere young politicions start out and succomb to the “way things work”. On that point it is hard to call corruption a “cultural feature of Brazilian people.” I have seen cases in the States where there is overwhelming evidence against someone such as Jaqueline Roriz and yet they escape justice because of their connections who are just as corrupt taking care of their own which in the long run takes care of themselves.
    The cultural aspect I do see and strongly agree with is the goal of having a public sector or federal job. There are excellent employees in this sector I’m sure but it breeds a “I am set for life” attitude where they become complacent and realize it’s almost impossible to be fired once this status is attained. The benefits are incredible and the pay very lucrative. I have contacts at a major mainly gov’t controlled multi billion dollar corporation and have heard the horror stories where the management for the most part is lazy, incompetent , and rely on temps to do the work and they steal the credit for the work. This happens especialy to the older federal employees who realize they will never be fired. The ones who speak up for what is right are promoted away. This continues because of the massive amount of money being generated even being run very poorly. If the right people grew a backbone and made some changes they could triple their profits and treat their temps fairly therefore increasing moral and productivity causing even more profits . There is a caste system at , hell I’ll name them. Petrobras. This is so wrong and so out of date it is pathetic. Although some federal law triggers an investigation over Petrobras cooking the books over misusing the outsourced employess they know the right people in the right places so it’s all window dressing to look good while nothing changes. I know the US has many problems of their own including corruption but I can proudly say if a massive corporation treated their outsourced employees in this manner multi million dollar fines would be levied. Money is the only catalyst to policy changes of these huge corporations. We do have some issues using temps here but they are different such as keeping a temp just long enough and then releasing them for a brief period and then rehiring them to circumvent making them actual direct employees. It saves money. Simple as that. Most of our outsourced employees get treated well and paid fairly. It depends on who hires the temps. This has become very long so I’ll close but have much more to express. Thanks for reading this view.


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