2014 World Cup: An opportunity or an absurdity for Brazil?


Since the organization of the Pan-American games celebrated in Rio de Janeiro back in 2009, aside from being elected as the host city for both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic games, the city has gone through major changes in many ways, mainly infrastructure and security-wise.

 

Brazilian population. In terms of infrastructure, some of the stadiums are surrounded by humble neighborhoods that have been literally swiped away by the government in an attempt to make the surrounding areas “good looking” for the event. It has also been done with people.  In a desperate attempt to make the country safer for tourists, they have been sending the army to the Favelas. It has resulted in the deaths of civilian population, as well as with the police, military and the militants.

Brazilians have also felt this in their pockets as around 66% of the money wasted on the “preparation” for the World Cup came from state budget and not private investment. And to mention as well that workers have died in the stadium reforms or constructions due to lack of safety measures which have been skipped in an attempt to reach the time deadline.

Overall, the World Cup has generated lots of different opinions in Brazilian society, fact that can be evidenced due to the high number of protests this year, and especially last summer during the Confederations cup. “FIFA go home” or “We don’t need the World Cup” are some of their slogans as part of their “Operation Stop the World Cup” campaign. These kinds of events were largely peaceful but police later clashed with some protesters. This is the case of the clashes that occurred in the Rio de Janeiro beachside neighborhood of Copacabana on  April 22nd, where protesters burned barricades and police blocked streets. One person was killed as a result.

“By rights we mean the people’s right to decent public services,” said university student Leonardo Pelegrini dos Santos. “We are against the millions and millions of dollars being spent for the Cup. It is money that should be invested in better health and education services and better transportation and housing.”

Misfortunes are not only happening outside of stadiums. Since 2012, a total of 8 laborers between 21 and 55 years old have died for different circumstances. The deadlines for constructions are provoking more pressure and less safety for workers: exhaustion, falls from scaffolding over 30 meters high, heart attacks or electric shocks are some of the gut wrenching conditions that workers deal with daily.

Moreover, some stadiums like “Arena Pantanal” in Cuiabá or “Arena Amazonia” in Manaus are considered “white elephants” as they are expensive and useless structures for those cities with few local teams and a scant population in comparison with other Brazilian cities.

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