Extreme Poverty in Brazilian Favelas

Abstract

When looking at various countries in South America there seems to be less attention paid on the more well renowned countries. Looking at countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and even Chile when analyzing their economy or unjust government unless you are living in these countries you do not tend to notice or experience any unfair treatment as well as major flaws that exist in these areas. Taking a look at specifically at Brazil and how one of the largest nations in South Americafaces a major issue of extreme poverty in their poorest areas known as Favelas in cities such as Rio De Janeiro or their capital Brasília.

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When looking at the various flaws existing in Brazil these flaws can be narrowed down to show which flaws directly contribute to the overall extremepoverty in Brazil. The three main flaws or problems that have the biggest impact on the poverty in Brazil are the government in Brazil, the unemployment currently in Brazil, and education in Brazil. The data included in the research of this topic are all supportive of the idea that each point has either a direct impact on the poverty in Brazil or contribute to another point which is tied back to the main topic of this paper which is the extreme poverty in Brazil.Keywords: Favela, Unemployment, Education,Instability, Extreme Poverty in Brazilian FavelasOver the years the largest country in South America, Brazil, has undergone various changes much like any other nation looking to strive for the benefit of the people living in their country. However, deeply analyzing the changes that Brazil has undergone in their government as of recently with the election of their new president, Jair Bolsonaro, there seems to be an ideology in some people that he will be the one to change all of the problems and malfunctions that have existed in Brazil over the previous decades under former presidents. Looking into the problems Brazil tends to face over the years much like most if not all South American nations they seem to struggle most in the area of poverty in their nation. The problem of Brazil’s high poverty can be credited to either the high unemployment that exists in Brazil and has existed over the years, but there is more to the problem than just unemployment. Factors such as the lackof a emphasis and push for education also play a big role in high poverty existing in Brazil. In addition, the way the government has been functioning over the past couple of years and how thegovernment is often linked with areas of corruption does not help with removing that coexisting problem of extreme poverty in the nation. When viewing nations in an outsider’s perspective most information often goes unnoticed because news outlets often only publicize major government flaws and often do not take into consideration what the people of a nation go through whether it be poverty, unemployment, or unjust treatment in society. When showing the problem of extreme poverty in a nation such as Brazil it is good to note that factors such as the government in Brazil, the unemployment currently in Brazil, and education in Brazil are all tied to one another and support one another to show the bigger picture.

Brazilian Government

Extreme Poverty in Brazilian Favelas 4When looking at Brazil’s government on paper they are stated to have what is known as afederal representative democratic republic, under a presidential system (Pariona A. 2016). Under this form of government the President is both the Head of State and the Head of the Government whilst multiple political parties are represented throughout the government and its administration. Looking at this government it is somewhat similar to that of the United States in the structural parts because the Brazilian government also includes a system of three branches of government. The Executive Branch is headed by the President of Brazil with its Cabinet of Ministers. The Legislative Branch administered by the National Congress and is responsible for writing and approving new laws. Lastly, the Judicial branch designed based on a civil law systemmuch like in the United States. However, when looking at how the Brazilian government is somewhat similar to the United States expectations of a strong, fair, and well-structured government is expected but that does not seem to be the case. Looking at the previous President’s of Brazil they all are tied into a form of corruption or misuse of power as the head of the Brazilian government. President Dilma Rousseff was removed from office for illegally using money from state banks to bankroll public spending and former president Lula da Silva was imprisoned for corruption, which made him ineligible to run for president in the elections of October of 2018 (Russo, G. 2017). During the time President Dilma Rousseff was in office her use of unjust public spending was mainly tied to the events of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio that led to poor public services, a rise in public transport costs, and a rise in basic necessities. The use of government money in events such as the 2014 World Cup as well as 2016 Olympics caused riots in people who lived off of low wagesand thus were further limited in what they could purchase (Ziomek, K. 2018).

In addition, the Brazilian government spends a lot of money on social programs, but because these programs are pro-rich an increase in poverty occurred from 5.2 million people in 2014 to 11.9 million in 2017, based on the July 2017 definition of poverty, which includes those living on less than 102.44 real(about $25) a month (-Brazil ,2018). When analyzing the Brazilian Favelas or slums they are vastly spreading in Brazil with approximately six percent of Brazil’s population living in favelas as of March 2017 there are about 1,000 favelas in Rio and 1,600 in São Paulo (Lorenzo, G. T, 2018). The lack of government help in the areas where there are Favelas has led to the spread of these slums and often with these slums come poor living conditions as well as high gang violence the governmenttends to ignore. Gangs not only initiate wars amongst each other in Brazilian slums, but against police there have been frequent shootouts between gangs and police. In addition, drug traffickingis common with most members being young male teenagers, who are four-fifths more likely to die before age 21 ( UNICEF report. 2015). Looking at the high influence of gangs in favelas piled with no help from the government it leads children and teenagers to pursue this life of crime.Unemployment in BrazilThe lack of communication and action from government officials to help with extreme poverty as well as the high unemployment in Brazil play big parts in the poverty faced by millions of citizens. When looking at the poverty line Brazil not many citizens exceed this number only in 12 out of the 27 Brazilian states did the nominal household income per capita exceed $330.00 (Carvalho, L. n.d.).

Taking into account the facts that the Brazilian government pays more attention on the upper class citizens by basing programs to aid them and not those with little to no resources it is a strong factor for unemployment in Brazil. The unemployment rate in Brazil decreased further to 11.7 percent in the three months to October of 2018, the lowest since July 2016, from 12.3 percent in the May-July period (Carvalho, L.). When analyzing various points of data the unemployment in recent years this is the seventh straight decline in jobless rate and the sharpest since December, mainly due to informal work. Taking into consideration the events such as the Olympics or World Cup there were slight increases in employment but the cost of items due to tourism during this time period often led things to remain stagnant due to pay not being up to the standard that was being set. When it comes to the political uncertainty that Brazil faces with various heads of important government positions being found guilty of corruption within the system there are wide distrust from the Brazilian people. In an interview conducted by news outlet Forbes with a person living in one of the favelas currently unemployed with 2 kids in the state of Brasilia states, “these corrupt guys in power can’t get me a job well maybe these corrupt guys who aren’t in power can” (Rapoza, K. 2017).

The adults living in favelas keep growing impatient with the uncertainty of whether they will get a job or not, but also those young individuals who are part of the working class in favelasare not far behind. Information stating that high unemployment in the general population is even worse among the youth, seen at around 20% and much higher than it was in 2003-2010 under ex-president Lula (Rapoza, K. 2017). The youth is not being helped whatsoever with education as well not being pushed to the younger generation and tied with government corruption as well as high unemployment rates it is an outcome of what might be extreme poverty that .Education in BrazilThe third of the causes for extreme poverty in Brazil is education. The lack of government help in the education system with various officials being accused of corruption and the high unemployment rates causing children not to have the resources to pursue an education all accumulate to form what is extreme poverty. To begin with, one of the biggest issues that Brazil faces, mainly due to a poor public education system, is the fact that nearly 18% of the Brazilian population is functionally illiterate (Nes, C. F.2015). The fact that nearly 18% of the Brazilian population is illiterate means they can only do simple things and do not have the education to obtain even simple jobs or maintain a job with the unemployment problems Brazil faces. In addition, looking at those students who manage to get a decent education 38% of Brazilian undergraduates are also functionally illiterate (Nes, C. F.2015). The idea that those people who do pursue education are not given an education up to par to obtain a well paying job with the high unemployment problem is troubling for most thus some children decide not to go to school and are forced to a low-quality job as well as low quality way of living.

The problem ofilliteracy in Brazil is known to come from the lack of resources in public schools which children in most poor places like favelas attend as well as how the system is ran. In the public school system, public schools still suffer from a lack of teachers, overcrowded classrooms, lack of security and general issues with infrastructure (UNICEF report 2015). In addition, students in public institutions are to be promoted to the next grade even if they fail (Nes, C. F.2015). When looking at higher education competition for places at renowned universities, especially the Federal ones, is extremely fierce (Nes, C. F.2015). Most of the higher education places are given to people of the upper class society whilst those who are of lower resources are limited in their schooling as well as job opportunities to the point most are confined to living in favelas with extreme poverty levels.Conclusion and SolutionsWhen looking at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Articles each have standardsthat are set for a common standard of achievements for all people and all nations setting out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Article 13 states, “everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state”, but this is limited in Brazil when people in favelas are set to this standard of living when there are no job opportunities for them. Looking at Article 23 it states, “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.” Tying into the unemployment aspect in Brazil, Article 23 is not followed since many people are not protected from unemployment and are left in poverty.

Lastly, in Article 26 itstates, “… Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” The education standards in Brazil are also not followed with people of low resources not being offered a well enough upper education with most positions being offered to people of an upper class. Taking into consideration the standards set in the Universal Declaration of Human Rightssome solutions that would help with the extreme poverty in Brazil are simple and would help alleviate the big problem. To begin with, the problem of corruption can be fixed by allowing more people of smaller political parties to be head of public office positions in order to have more diversity in who can be part of higher government positions. In addition, having more limitations in what certain government officials can enact under their rule with votes in whateverdecisions of laws they want to implement will limit the amount of power they have and create stability in place. When looking at the unemployment in Brazil some solutions to consider wouldbe the creation of more public centers that would allow more jobs but also places where extracurricular activities are available for children guiding them away from the life of violence infavelas.

In addition, allowing more investing from foreign nations will allow for an increase in the economy, but also the expansion of corporations creating jobs for those people under unemployment. Lastly, when looking at a fix for education in Brazil would be making universities or private institutions have equal access by all students not only those who come from the upper class. Since, people who are wealthier often get those positions in higher education making it fair to everyone would allow people to better themselves and get better jobs moving them away from that poverty they currently are living. Also, increasing the amount of money spent in public schools would allow for the standard of education to increase thus allowing for those children with low resources to obtain a renowned position in a company or any job they desire.As a whole, the problem of extreme poverty in Brazil is still needed to be fixed and would take time to achieve this fix. However, some solutions provided would be good enough to build up to the overall fix of the situation Brazil are in. The government in Brazil, the unemployment currently in Brazil, and education in Brazil can all be fixed with time and should be taken into consideration with fixes immediately.

References

-Brazil – EducationBrazil – Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.export.gov/article?id=Brazil-Education-Brazil profile – Timeline. (2018, October 29). Retrieved fromhttps://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19359111-Brazil: Homicides of children and teenagers double in 20 years – UNICEF report. (2015, July 16). Retrieved fromhttps://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/media_82554.html-Brazil: Lack of progress in Marielle Franco investigation highlights failings of criminal justice system. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/07/brazil-lack-of-progress-in-marielle-franco-investigation-highlights-failings-of-criminal-justice-system/-Brazil . (2018, March 17). Retrieved from https://data.worldbank.org/country/brazil-Carvalho, L. (n.d.). Brazil Unemployment Rate. Retrieved from https://tradingeconomics.com/brazil/unemployment-rate-Felter, C. (2018, November 17). Brazil’s Corruption Fallout. Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/brazils-corruption-fallout-Gonzalez, D. (2018, July 12). In Brazil’s Favelas, Caught Between Police and Gangsters. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/12/lens/in-brazils-favelas-caught-between-police-and-gangsters.html-Lorenzo, G. T. (2018, January 08). 10 Facts about Brazilian Slums… and Specifically Rio de Janeiro.

Extreme Poverty in Brazilian Favelas 11 Retrieved from https://borgenproject.org/facts-about-brazilian-slums/-Nes, C. F. (2015,August 12). The Brazilian Educational System. Retrieved from http://thebrazilbusiness.com/article/the-brazilian-educational-system-Pariona, A. (2016, November 22). What Type of Government Does Brazil Have? Retrieved from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-type-of-government-does-brazil-have.html-Rapoza, K. (2017, May 01). Brazil’s Unemployment Crisis Is The Worst In 20 Years. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2017/05/01/brazil-economy-struggles-with-unemployment-reforms/#3ce7879512b8-Russo, G. (2017, July 06). How Brazilians view their country’s economic, political crises. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/06/how-brazilians-view-their-countrys-economic-and-political-crises/-Ziomek, K. (2018, January 02). Poverty In Brazil. Retrieved from qhttps://borgenproject.org/poverty-in-brazil/

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