|Originally posted by Spacey Orange |
Why was Brazil awarded the Olympics?
In 2007, Brazil was South America's rising star. The economy was booming, peaking in 2008 when we reached China-like growth rates. Millions were lifted out of poverty, and hunger became a thing of the past. I can proudly say the country where I was born is not the same country where I celebrated my 30th birthday (I'm 33 now, bear with me).
Olympic Games are are often awarded to newcomers at the world stage. Tokyo, Seoul, Mexico City, and Beijing all hosted the games as a way to show their new face to the world. It was our turn. The future looked bright. The Economist would tell how awesome we were. UNPD held us as an example (here's a PDF showing how much the country changed). BRICS became a thing, and there we were - the first letter of the acronym. We'd host both the Olympic Games AND the World Cup, all in a 2-year interval.
And that's when things got weird.
In June 2013, it all changed. The end of the commodities boom and the slowdown in the Chinese economy, helped bring our economy to a halt. Having an unpopular technocrat as president didn't really help either, and our government is a "closetted parliamentary system" who pretends to be like the US but has too many political parties for the comparison to work. The conservative elites had always been hostile towards the centre-of-left government which, after a while, became too cosy in power - angering our Fox News and our Rupert Murdoch. So, as soon as the eyes were on Brazil for the World Cup, we made sure we'd pull a tantrum of epic proportions.
The foreign press was befuddled. Why was a country that looked so good suddenly rioting? We couldn't answer either. Some would say it's because we should've spent the money on hospitals and schools, some complained about high taxes, and other causes were lost in the cacophony that ensued. But this was enough for approval ratings to plummet, and the government became increasingly weaker. We then held the most polarised presidential elections of my lifetime. The president won by the smallest of margins.
Dilma, now a lame duck by all accounts, made more and more enemies by the day, as the opposition smelt blood and our Tea Party wanted her impeached from day 1. Corruption charges against the ruling coalition didn't really help, so the junior party of the coalition jumped ship. Impeachment proceedings began, and we've yet to see what will happen. And by impeachment proceedings, I mean a no-confidence vote (government supporters would rather call it a coup). The whole thing is so confusing the foreign media doesn't seem what to make of it even when they interview our former presidents.
That's why it made perfect sense to award us the Olympics at the time, and why things aren't exactly going swimmingly well for the last couple of years.
The bidding process happened before the World Cup.
|Originally posted by Spacey Orange |
Everything I read in the media makes me think its quite the shithole. From pervasive crime, corruption, miserable economy, political instability, the Zika virus, pollution, labor unrest to class divide.
Pre-games hysteria has always been a thing (remember the Tottenham riots and terrorist attacks in London, the fog and corruption in Beijing, and so on?) - add that to a strange tendency among Brazilian upper classes to revel in a sense of inferiority and the growth pangs I described in the previous post (so that things are not exactly super right now) and you're bound to get the headlines we're seeing right now.
Homicide rates in Rio, however, have actually halved in the last 10 years (see the graph on the right), Zika (or Dengue) is not a problem in the dry season, and I really don't know what you mean by labour unrest - Paris has seen a general strike before the Euro Cup, not Rio.
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