Could World Cup protests and a devastating semifinal loss affect Brazil’s upcoming presidential election?
The final whistle may have blown, but the FIFA 2014 World Cup continues to influence politics in Brazil.
Déborah Barros Leal Farias, a native Brazilian and PhD candidate in UBC’s Department of Political Science, discusses how Brazil’s humiliating World Cup semifinal loss might affect the political fortunes of President Dilma Rousseff, who seeks re-election this October.
Did the protests against the Rousseff administration die out during the World Cup or did they just go unreported?
Brazilians were initially perplexed by the lack of large-scale protests during the World Cup, then they began to follow the tournament and didn’t care anymore. The few protests that occurred were mostly put together by small, organized groups and considered “radical” by the average Brazilian.
Nonetheless, a different kind of protest did occur and was well noted by Brazilians: President Rousseff did not make a speech during the opening ceremony because of the certainty that she would be booed, which is what happened when they showed her on camera in the opening match.
Could Brazil’s semifinal loss spell disaster for Rousseff’s political future?
Most political commentators agree that while it will not be the determining factor, it will certainly not help her.
Then again, the election is in October and the campaign only really starts now. And the government can spin the fact that–aside from our horrible loss–everything went quite well during the World Cup.
Has the 2014 World Cup prompted a needed political discussion in Brazil?
This is probably the biggest legacy of the tournament. It has highlighted the country’s problems with corruption, misplaced priorities, and lack of investment in basic infrastructure–especially education and health.
In this sense, the World Cup will remain part of the election, but more as a symbol or proxy for other concerns.