It's Down to 'FIFA Go Home' in Brazil
There is a lot of pre-World Cup stuff going on in Brazil, and it has nothing to do with the final team roster, defensive strategies, or "fútbol," as they say down there.
For many Brazilians, the Cup has become a symbol of the unfulfilled promise of an economic boom for this South American nation. But the boom has fizzled. And now the World Cup’s $11.5 billion price tag – the most expensive ever – and a list of unfinished construction projects have become reminders of the shortcomings that many believe keep Brazil poor: overwhelming bureaucracy, corruption and shortsighted policy-making that prioritizes grand projects over needs like education and health care.
And it gets worse.
They are still trying to finish facilities for the Cup in Curitiba, Cuiabá, and Porto Alegre. Did I tell you that the games begin in three weeks?
All of this has translated into support for the Cup plunging, as reported in the WSJ:
Critics contend Brazil erred in constructing so many arenas in a country the size of the continental U.S. The country has spent a record $3.6 billion to build or remodel 12 stadiums, most of which were behind schedule and over budget.
Meanwhile, public support for the Cup has plunged in Brazil, sparking protests by citizens who say the money would have been better spent on improving the nation's schools, hospitals and other public services.
A few years ago, when Brazil was awarded the Cup, I thought that it was a match made in heaven. Imagine the Super Bowl at Lambeau Field or the World Series at Yankee Stadium.
Today, the country is furious, and the politicians are avoiding questions.
Yes, the games will go on, but so will protests and demonstrations. There is going to be a lot of screaming outside the stadium, and it won't be about the games.
P.S. You can hear my chat with Fausta Wertz of Fausta's Blog about Brazil & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.