A Brazilian Congressman was found guilty of embezzlement and organized crime earlier this year and sentenced to 13 years in jail, thus becoming the first parliamentarian in almost three decades to be imprisoned while holding elected office.
Last night, his colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies voted that Natan Donadon should not lose his parliamentary perks.
Brazil’s hated political class could not have sent a clearer message to their citizens.
Your protests against corruption, abuse of power and impunity were a waste of time. Their vote last night said, “We don’t care what you think.” It screamed, “Business as usual.”
The mass protests that shook Brazil in June lasted just a few weeks and only a hard core have continued protesting in the weeks and months since. (I explain some of the reasons here.)
But if Brazilians really want change, then this is the time to act. It is at moments like this they must make their voices heard. They must tell their politicians that such decisions are unacceptable.
Impunity is the grease that oils the wheels of corruption. It is time to take to the streets again and say, once again, Enough is Enough.