When we talk about the advantages that come with the World Cup and the Olympic Games, we need to remember who really stands to benefit.
When Brazil hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the country witnessed mass protests against billions of public money spent on new sporting venues and infrastructure around them instead of social projects. Now, as Rio de Janeiro is getting ready to host the 2016 Olympic Games, the problems of extreme poverty, homelessness, corruption and inequality remain stark, despite elaborate attempts to conceal them.
The benefits that have come with the World Cup and Olympic Games investment in the Brazilian economy—such as urban rejuvenation, improved public transportation and creation of public spaces like parks and museums—have a dark side. In an attempt to airbrush the image of its second largest city, the authorities have forcefully removed over 77,000 people since 2009 to make space for luxury real estate developments and infrastructure projects associated with the sporting events.
Pushed behind walls that hide them from view, Rio’s poorest communities lead a life very different from the image the authorities are attempting to project, fighting to save their already-meagre existence from complete annihilation. When we talk about the advantages of the World Cup and the Olympics, we need to remember at what price it comes to the local poor and who really stands to benefit.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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