More harm then good: Brazil and the 2014 FIFA World Cup

"Fome de Bola" image by Jo Lorib. Courtesy of Wikimedia

Joshua Corvington / Contributing Writer



The news coverage around and surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has hidden a tirade of perceptible problems that the country faces; the problems that are chiefly rampant consist of poverty, government corruption, and police brutality.

The protests originated in the municipality of Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, during August 2012. The protests were originally against the increases in bus, train, and metro ticket prices.  These initial protests raised deeper disenfranchisement issues amongst the general populace, including the charges of misappropriations of funds. As of now, the expended funds on the stadiums to host the World Cup are estimated to be $11.5 billion. That’s triple the amount South Africa spent on it, which was $3.9 billion according to CNN Money. Likewise all the money spent rarely sees a return on the investments, and even then it is short term, according to Business Insider.

According to the Nongovernmental organization Moradores do Ruaver, an estimated 1.8 million Brazilians are living in the streets. Meanwhile, nearly half the stadiums were not complete for the Cup, and some facilities were incomplete or in disrepair according to CDC News.

Much of the news coverage of the World Cup has largely been focused around the actual matches, with only a few sources like the Guardian, the BBC, and Telegraph actually covering the protest events. One factor of this is that, despite the overwhelming feeling of being let down by the government of Brazil, the protests were actually much lower than originally predicted. It was to have been in the thousands or millions that happened last year, with many protests and arrests happening in the country. As is, it was in the dozens to a few hundreds.

The myriad of reasons that the protests weren’t out in force range from police brutality, with officers firing tear gas grenades and arresting peaceful protesters en masse, causing people that were caught in between to breathe in the pepper gas, especially around Rio de Janeiro where the police are known to be corrupt and militantly violent according to the BBC. There were also evidence of protesters being shot at with rubber bullets, and journalists being injured with them.

One protester was cited as saying that the reason he and his daughter were not protesting was the fact that the police have it out for the protesters. There was violence on the part of the protesters, resulting in the death of a journalist. There was also the simple fact that the World Cup, according to many, was a good World Cup. Brazil’s loss to Germany did not upset that, though it did result in an immense feeling of apathy around the country. That is how best the CBC News could put it, a dangerous feeling of apathy that permeated the air after the loss to Germany.

It is no surprise then, that there’s no political gain for the president of Brazil, according to the Miami Herald. Despite the many promises of changes to have been made, according to native Brazilians, there has only been meager acquiescence to protesters. The MTST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto, or “Homeless Workers’ Movement”) got occupier housing and a committee to turnover and slow down evictions.

Owing to the overwhelming amount of problems Brazil has, they were not a good choice to host the World Cup. The combination factor of economic drudgery, police brutality, and lack of expenditures on their citizens made them a bad choice to host the World Cup. Despite reports of changes to be made, nothing has changed thus far in the interim time since the Cup’s end on the 20th.

All eyes now look to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games. Time will tell if the games provide what the Cup has failed has failed to: economic growth that benefits those in need

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