• Brazil’s President Lashes Out At Uber Amid Calls For Impeachment

    Brazil’s embattled president has lashed out at Uber, slamming the ride-sharing company for allegedly destroying jobs and said the company needed stricter regulation.

    Dilma Rousseff, who is struggling to maintain any semblance of support with an eight percent approval rating, said Uber “is complicated because it takes jobs away from people… It leaves taxis with less work.”

    Brazil’s taxi unions have mirrored the behavior of established interests across the world reacting to competition from Uber with massive protests and strong lobbying efforts.

    Three of the country’s most important cities – Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have all attempted to ban the world’s most popular ride-sharing app. In July, over a thousand taxi drivers protested against Uber in Rio, causing travel chaos across the city.

    “It’s not an easy issue. It depends on the rules of each city and state because it is not a federal government decision,” said Rousseff. None of the bans have come into force. Sao Paelo needs a second vote and the signature of the Mayor Fernando Haddad before any crackdown can begin.

    The federal district governor vetoed Brasilia’s ban and instead established a commission to investigate the best options as to how the city should treat ride-sharing services. Rio’s city council has proposed a bill to ban Uber, but it hasn’t passed a vote.

    Brazil’s major cities may be heading towards a clampdown on Uber, but the irony of room-sharing giant Airbnb being an official accommodation provider for the 2016 Olympics to be hosted in Rio will be lost on no one.

    Rousseff’s remarks come in the same week as a new study from the Manhattan Institute. It showed that Uber is expanding cheaper transportation options for the poor and minorities in New York City.

    Brazil is in the midst of an economic crisis and is suffering its biggest slump since the financial crisis of 2008. Rousseff herself is embroiled in a bitter political battle with mass protests against her administration and the speaker of Brazil’s lower house Eduardo Cunha, calling for her impeachment.

    Accroding to the opinion polls, two-thirds of Brazilians support Rousseff’s impeachment.

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