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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 23, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Protests in Brazil

Proud to be Brazilian

Riot police move towards protesters as others hold a Brazilian flag and chant for no violence during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. More than half a million Brazilians poured into the streets of at least 80 Brazilian cities Thursday in demonstrations that saw violent clashes and renewed calls for an end to government corruption and demands for better public services. Riot police battled protesters in at least five cities, with some of the most intense clashes happening in Rio de Janeiro, where an estimated 300,000 demonstrators swarmed into the seaside city's central area. [AP Photo/Felipe Dana.]

Riot police move towards protesters as others hold a Brazilian flag and chant for no violence during a protest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, June 20, 2013. More than half a million Brazilians poured into the streets of at least 80 Brazilian cities Thursday in demonstrations that saw violent clashes and renewed calls for an end to government corruption and demands for better public services. Riot police battled protesters in at least five cities. [AP Photo/Felipe Dana.]

As the only Brazilian student at The Evergreen State College and someone who does not know Brazilians in the area, I feel a sense of responsibility; I need to explain, to give voice, to share with Americans why protesters are taking over Brazil. [“Protesters flood streets in Brazil; violence flares,” News, June 21.]

I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. I grew up understanding that corruption and violence were commonplace. Like most Brazilians of my generation, I was taught that nothing could be done about it.

For the past week, my Brazilian brothers and sisters have gone to the streets to protest poor and inadequate health care and public education, widespread violence, corruption and the complete lack of regard for the basic rights of citizens on the part of the government.

My country has awakened. Twenty years after the end of our military dictatorship, we rise again, now fighting against our elected officials who have disappointed Brazilians who fought so long for a true democracy.

I am thousands of miles away from my country, but I have been watching what is happening back home. I can honestly say, for the first time in my life, that I am proud to be Brazilian.

Gustavo Sampaio, Olympia

Comments | More in Politics | Topics: brazil, democracy, protest

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