Mar 13 2014
This June, millions of people will tune in from around the world to watch the FIFA World Cup of soccer in Brazil. Despite the anticipation of world cup fans, the majority of Brazilians are far from pleased. Mass civil unrest and street protests erupted after FIFA – the agency that runs the World Cup – made the official announcement of Rio de Janeiro as the host city.
Protests have been taking place in various cities. In late February hundreds of people were arrested at a march in Sao Paolo where police used tear gas and stun grenades. AFP reports that protesters shouted slogans such as “Cup for the rich, scraps for the poor.”
This week, to head off more protests, FIFA decided to cancel all speeches at the opening ceremonies.
A number of stadiums are being built for the World Cup event but several construction workers have died as a result of poor working conditions.
Brazilians are upset over the fact that President Dilma Roussef’s government has spent public funds on new infrastructure for the World Cup rather than providing health care, jobs, and a working public transit system. The estimated cost of hosting the event is close to $11 billion with less than 15% of it coming from private investors. President Roussef faces reelection this October.
GUEST: James Green, Professor of History and Brazilian Culture at Brown University, Research Fellow at Watson Institute for International Studies, and Director of the Brown-Brazil Initiative
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