Press reports Friday said Brazilian authorities were already searching for “a Plan B” in the event the São Paulo venue is unavailable.
A spokesman for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup Organizing Committee, however, said, “It is premature to talk about a Plan B when we have not yet fully assessed the situation at Arena Corinthians.”
other aspects of the project were moving ahead. Corinthians on Friday signed a loan agreement with state-run mortgage bank CEF for 400 million Brazilian reais ($172 million). The money will pay for the remaining construction work on the stadium.
What do the unions say? (emphasis added)
A labor union representative, although highly critical of conditions at the site, said the accident will cause a delay in the construction schedule of only eight to 10 days. “The cause of the accident was human error,” said Antonio de Sousa Ramalho, president of the São Paulo Construction Workers Union. “That can be fixed by putting adequate management procedures in place. Personally, I have no doubt Arena Corinthians will be the venue for the World Cup opener.”
I predict Arena Corinthians will hold the opener.
There are a total of six stadiums not yet completed. The question is, will all of them be ready on time? (click on photo for large view)
“The hope brought by the World Cup and the Olympics has run out,” said Doriam Borges, a researcher at the University of the State of Rio’s Laboratory of Violence Analysis. Citizens realized that “for projects related to the World Cup and the Olympics, investment was huge, but not for health and education.”
And let’s keep in mind that both projects were sold as not needing government financing.
Then there’s the anarchists by any other name,
And protest marches are now attracting smaller groups of anarchists and so-called black bloc anticapitalist demonstrators clad in black hoodies and masks.
Rio’s black bloc organizers couldn’t be reached to comment. On their Facebook page, which has nearly 63,000 followers, the group quotes Italian anarchist Pietro Gori and say they see property destruction as part of their fight against capitalism.
In messages intercepted by police this week, leaders of the gang in Sao Paulo made the vague but ominous threat should the authorities move jailed members of the cartel to a tougher prison.
In Brazil, powerful gangs often linked to the drug trade are very powerful and frequently control whole prisons and favelas, or shanty towns.
During 2012, a war broke out between the gang and Sao Paulo’s Military Police.
They felt the government had violated an informal agreement, long denied by officials, to slow the prison transfers of gang leaders and limit crackdowns on its operations on Sao Paulo’s outskirts in exchange for an end to gang violence.
The reason the First Capital of the Command, Primeiro Comando da Capital, known as PCC (pronounced peh-ceh-ceh) don’t want their members dispersed to other jails outside the area is that they would have difficulty giving orders by cellphone to their soldiers on the outside.
The Mail article points out that the PCC was initially formed to pressure for improved prison conditions inside Sao Paulo’s Taubate Penitentiary:
While the gang’s start may have been rooted in fighting for basic human rights of the imprisoned, its members quickly began using their power inside prisons to direct drug-dealing and extortion operations on the outside.
‘The PCC is better organized, more powerful, and they have a monopoly of crimes and power which is something nobody achieved in Rio,’ said Ignacio Cano, a researcher at the Violence Analysis Center at Rio de Janeiro State University. ‘They are by far the strongest criminal group in Brazil.’
Reportedly they are well organized into a corporate business model that includes outsourcing.
Folha de Sao Paulo has been covering the PCC, and they report that Brazil’s defense minister stated in a press conference that the Federal Police, the National Guard and the Ministry of Defense are up to the challenge of providing security at the World Cup.
Shaken by the biggest challenge to their authority in years, Brazil’s leaders made conciliatory gestures on Tuesday to try to defuse the protests engulfing the nation’s cities. But the demonstrators have remained defiant, pouring into the streets by the thousands and venting their anger over political corruption, the high cost of living, and huge public spending for the World Cup and the Olympics.
Protesters denounced their leaders as dedicating excessive resources to cultivating Brazil’s global image by building stadiums for international events, when basic services like education and health care remained woefully inadequate.
The Movimento Passe Livre (Free Fare Movement) and its sympathizers continue to call for the increase to be reversed and for free public transport to be implemented, which has been achieved in some cities and discussions have progressed in others.
Now however, the protests have taken a much wider form, allowing Brazilians to vent their anger and frustration at the state of the country, from the country’s multi-billion-dollar hosting of the World Cup and poor public services, particularly health and education, to rampant political corruption and police brutality.
Yet despite the disparity in slogans, many have been united by a common concern for Brazil’s economy: even though incomes have gone up, Brazil’s new middle class has been demanding more from public services, and the rising cost of living, particularly food and services, has hit Brazilians hard.
American expatriate and Rio’s Gringo Café owner Sam Flowers says that food and labor costs have skyrocketed in just the last six months: “One product jumped forty percent in a week, many others are up 12 to 20 percent. Rent, food, transportation are all rising. Everyone is changing their spending habits and using credit cards more, some are even moving,” he tells The Rio Times.
A survey of families by O Globo newspaper also reported many seeing expenses go up forty percent in the last year, despite the government’s official annual inflation figure of 6.5 percent. Given Brazil’s economic track record in the 1980s and early 1990s, some have pointed to concerns over inflation as the main problem to be debated.
There is no single voice for the protest movement. But there are plenty of glaring examples of what is bothering middle class sensibilities. Take political corruption. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court convicted around two-dozen politicians in a vast vote buying scheme. None are in jail—and several are back in congress making laws.
First, some government ministers were caught playing fast and loose with taxpayer money and influence peddling. Then the French soccer team proved better at bickering than scoring at the World Cup tournament in South Africa. And perhaps worst of all for this leisure-minded country, President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to make workers stay on the job longer before retirement.
It was in this depressed and increasingly sour political atmosphere that hundreds of thousands of striking workers took to the streets in nationwide protests Thursday to complain of government callousness and decry Sarkozy’s plans to push back the retirement age from 60 to 62.
For the marchers, the stakes are high. Many workers have come to regard retiring at 60 as an inalienable guarantee of well-being since the benefit was added to France’s social protection system 27 years ago under President François Mitterrand and his Socialist Party. But the protests had a broader political theme, reflecting outrage over mini-scandals that have raised questions about the judgment of some of Sarkozy’s ministers in a time of scarcity and debt.
For instance, one junior minister charged taxpayers $15,000 for fancy Cuban cigars. Revelations of such peccadilloes have embarrassed Sarkozy as he repeatedly calls on the French to make sacrifices to overcome the global economic crisis and reduce his government’s ballooning deficit.
“The ministers are the ones who should be working more,” read a banner carried by protesters in Lyon, one of more than 100 communities in which demonstrators marched.
In addition, the country has sunk into a spell of national blues after the ridicule heaped on its backbiting soccer team. The team’s antics at the World Cup were treated back home as an affront to national honor; a front-page editorial in the influential Le Monde newspaper compared it to the country’s collapse in the face of German occupation troops in 1940.
“You have tarnished the image of France,” Health and Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot said she told the disgraced players during a den-mother moment in the locker room Tuesday, shortly before they were eliminated from competition by a loss to South Africa.