By Emanuela Leaf
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is battling calls for her impeachment. The speaker of Brazil’s lower house is grappling with accusations that he pocketed a $5 million bribe. The former treasurer of the governing Workers Party (PT) is in jail. Even former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s most important political leader in recent decades, is under investigation.
An anticorruption sweep in Brazil is taking down one major political figure after another, throwing the country into unprecedented political instability, and dragging the national morale to its lowest levels, while pulling the economy down the drain.
For many Brazilians, the broadening sense of political uncertainty ranks among the worst since democracy was reestablished in the 1980s after a long military dictatorship.
These culminating events all come as Brazilian Independence Day celebrations are approaching in early September.
Some may argue that there is nothing to celebrate, but as a Brazilian-American, I would beg to differ. Brazilian art, music and culture are flourishing; that’s cause for celebration. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in protests across Brazil calling for change; that’s cause for celebration.
And maybe these protests are signs of the birth of a new nation, just as it was in the 1800s.
With pressure mounting within Brazil and with a wave of independence movements finding success throughout Spanish America, Brazil followed its own peculiar path. On Sept. 7, 1822, Pedro I formally broke with Portugal, allegedly proclaiming, “Independence or Death!” and Brazil became one of the only Latin American countries to peacefully gain independence, and that’s cause for celebration.
Brazilian Independence Day is not about the Brazilian government; it’s about the right to be Brazilian.
For some Brazilians living in the United States, it’s a bittersweet moment. All the reasons they have left Brazil behind are louder than ever, but these are the same reasons Brazilian Americans are so grateful for the opportunities the United States has given them.
So for what Brazil is going through now, for what its past has made possible and for its future, celebrate Brazilian Independence Day.
Brazilian Independence Day celebrations will be held across the state:
Brazilian Flag Raising in Danbury
Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, 11 a.m.
Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Ave.
Brazilian Flag Raising in Bridgeport
Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, 11 a.m.
City Hall Annex, 999 Broad St., Bridgeport
For more information, contact: Mara Palmieri, (203) 650-2160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brazilian Flag Raising in Hartford
Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, 12 p.m.
210 Capitol Ave., Hartford
For more information, contact: Emanuela Palmares L., (203) 297-3263, or via facebook