When it took effect in 2012, Brazil’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was seen as a revolution in the fight against secrecy and bureaucracy. Yet, albeit necessary, the law has since proved to be insufficient in ensuring transparency and accountability in the public sector. In 2014, Transparency Audit Network, an initiative based at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in Rio de Janeiro, submitted over 500 electronically freedom of information requests to eight jurisdictions. Only 31 percent got full responses – a very low rate that shows governments still have a long way to go to comply with transparency regulations.
São Paulo is undergoing a transportation revolution that some have begun to call the “São Paulo Spring”.[i] Since taking office in 2013, Mayor Fernando Haddad has applied what he calls “Shock Therapy” to get residents of the largest City in South America out of their cars. Identifying cars as the problem, Mr. Haddad has done everything from reducing the speed limit on highways, to taking lanes away from cars for exclusive use by buses; but no measure has been as controversial as the installation of bike lanes.