The South of Brazil Votes on Becoming Independent

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An informal vote has been set up in the south of Brazil to ask voters whether they want to form a new country.

In the wake of the referendum in Catalonia, a separatist movement in the south of Brazil called ‘The South Is My Country’ has decided to hold their own secession vote.

Polling stations have been set up in over 1,000 municipalities across the three southern states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.

The leader of the movement announced at a polling station in Curitiba, the capital of Paraná, that the vote expressed the disillusionment they felt with the corrupt federal government which has had dozens of politicians on trial and in jail on corruption charges.

Credit: Google Maps

There is also anger over taxes, which they claimed they don’t see return to the south, but instead believe that their money goes to pay for the poorer northern parts of the country. This issue is similarly cited by those in the Spanish region of Catalonia who desire independence.

Overall, there is a stark difference between the north and south of Brazil. The south is often referred to as ‘European’. There was a huge migration there from Europe, especially Germany and Italy, in the 19th and 20th century period. It’s generally much more prosperous and has more industry than the north which, in contrast, is more agricultural and much poorer.

This is not the first vote that ‘The South Is My Country’ group has organised; in October 2016 they gathered over 600,000 votes, and over 95% were in favour of separation.

However, it’s not likely that the separatist movement will succeed, as it’s forbidden by the constitution and outside of the south it is very unpopular.

The poll is a strong indicator of the anger felt in Brazil over a number of front-line politicians becoming embroiled in corruption scandals while the country is in an economic recession.

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Spanish, Portuguese and European Studies student, on her year abroad in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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