The world is excited about the World Cup happening in less than a month in Brazil. Underneath all the excitement of building six new stadiums and finding out the countries’ group divisions, exists the dark sides of what this new development is doing to the general public of the Brazilians. Thousands of protesters are objecting to the use of $15 billion in taxpayer funds for their beloved game of soccer. Many are reasoning to prioritize for a better infrastructure and social programs before using billions of dollars for a month long recreational mega-event.
In June 2013, thousands of people protested the streets fighting for their rights against injustice and inequality. Yes, the protests happen quite often, but this one was particularly against the Word Cup itself, with signs reading “FIFA Go Home” or “We don’t need money for the world cup. We need money for hospitals and education.” Brazilians are well known for their prideful spirit when it comes to their passion of soccer or futebol. However, these people protested for shortages of medical aid of doctors and nurses, and inflation where the poor have a hard time meeting basic needs.
All the money is burnt to prepare for the upcoming sporting mega-event. With prices of tickets to watch The World Cup out of reach to local Brazilians and only 400,000 out of 3.3 million tickets available to locals, this super mega-event is among the most socially injust money making games.
On May 21st, 2014, all bus drivers and police officers stopped working, protesting for better pay, leaving commuters stranded without any transportation. Some bus drivers stopped their buses in the middle of the road, threw out their keys on the road, causing a record of 162 miles of jammed traffic.
By the General Law of the World Cup, only World Cup sponsors have legal rights to sell food and drinks inside the stadium, eliminating the opportunity in Brazil’s 12 host cities for local vendors to sell their items. Spectators of the game will be limited to sponsor’s food and drinks from Coca-Cola, Budweiser, and Burger King.
Back in 1930 when World Cup started in Uruguay, FIFA encouraged people to experience Uruguayan culture. People went out to eat Uruguayan food and got to know the local traditions. Today, FIFA homogenized The World Cup and is in complete favor of corporations, ignoring what is best for the local economy.
Also, Rio de Janeiro reported 30,000 families that are being forcibly relocated. Rents are more than doubling in the nearby neighborhoods of the stadiums being built. On May 11th, Brazil’s Homeless Worker’s Movement (MTST) has attracted 7000 people demanding affordable new housing. People have taken refuge under black tarps held up by sticks pounded to the ground, calling themselves the People’s Cup. On May 22nd, the MTST peacefully protested outside the luxurious Iguatemi shopping center chanting, “I don’t want The World Cup in Brazil. I want a roof.” The newly built Arena Corinthians stadium’s used $445 million that could have been spent to fight poverty, but instead has risen rental prices in the neighborhoods.
Beyond all this corporate and governmental chaos is that feeling where each participating nations feels a unity, where this beautiful sport connects people. In the future when FIFA will choose a developing country to host the World Cup, I hope they can collaborate with local Non-Profits and Non-Governmental Organizations to assist and consider improving local resident’s long term goals. The World Cup is only a month long, but the building and developing will forever change some neighborhood’s infrastructure.
Let’s hope that the Olympic Commitee will act with more care and rationality to prepare for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Photo Source (featured): www.citylab.com/
Photo Source (article): Paulo Ito. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pauloito/13998946669