What does it mean to be a citizen?
Being a citizen means having rights and duties. This is true for all people living in a country: men, women, the elderly, children and adolescents. It is to participate in the political and social life of the country, fighting for its rights, fulfilling its duties and seeking to build a more just and egalitarian society, that is, that seeks the equality of all human beings.
To understand the meaning of the term citizenship, you need to know these rights and duties. They are written in the Constitution.
The Constitution and Citizen's Rights and Duties
The Constitution is the fundamental law of the country. It guarantees all of us Brazilians rights that must be fulfilled by the government and society.
As Brazilian citizens, we have political rights, that is, we can choose, by vote, our governors and representatives, and be elected to these same positions. The candidate we choose does not always win the election, but it is certainly the will of the majority that prevails. For each office, the person who receives the most votes is elected.
But it is not just political rights that make us citizens. We also have the civil rightsthat is, the right to life, liberty, property and equality before the law.
We still have the social rights, that guarantee us the right to a decent life, with work, fair wages, retirement by length of service, education, housing and health.
In living with people, we have the right to be respected and the duty to respect. This is ensured by the Constitution for all Brazilians. In fact, it is part of our duties to fight for the rights expressed in the Constitution to be fulfilled.
In addition to the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, we have some duties: the duty to vote; pay taxes and require them to return to the population in order to meet their health, education, housing, safety, etc; participate in the community and seek solutions to problems; respect cultural and intellectual differences and many others.
Although guaranteed by the Constitution, do all Brazilians fully enjoy these rights? Is the exercise of citizenship being guaranteed? Take a look at the photos and make a reflection.
Families living from dumps, overcrowded hospitals and homeless
The rights in the history of Brazil
The Brazilian people did not always have the rights that are now guaranteed in the Constitution.
Throughout Brazil's history, indigenous peoples were almost wiped out by the conquerors: many of their nations were massacred; some were isolated to survive the attacks and others had to submit to the white man.
Early 19th century painting. In it, the artist portrays one of the frequent clashes between soldiers and indigenous people, considered wild and dangerous by Europeans.