Simon Romero reports at the NYT: Brazil’s Other Olympic Spirits: Anger, Anxiety and Indifference
With a president facing impeachment and a recession stunting the national economy, nearly two-thirds of Brazilians believe that hosting the Summer Games will have a negative effect on the country.
But, today, the Olympics are competing with both a harrowing recession and Brazil’s other public spectacle: bare-knuckled political dysfunction.The country has not one, but two presidents: Dilma Rousseff, who wassuspended to face impeachment proceedings that will continue to unfold during the Games, and Michel Temer, her interim replacement. Both Ms. Rousseff, a leftist, and Mr. Temer, who is shifting to the right, are deeply unpopular around the country. In fact, voters are fuming about the entire political establishment.The leaders who envisioned the Olympics as an opportunity for Brazil to swagger in the international spotlight, including Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former president who has been one of Brazil’s most influential political figures, are mired in scandals.
Rio de Janeiro, which just a few years ago boasted an economy turbocharged by offshore oil discoveries, is now the epicenter of Brazil’s worst economic crisis in decades. Struggling to pay civil servants and pensioners after squandering a bonanza of oil royalties, the leaders of the state of Rio de Janeiro recently declared a “state of calamity” because of its collapsing public finances.
Over at Hot Air, Jazz Shaw says It’s time for a permanent (non-US) home for the Olympic Games,
The best case for this argument can be made simply by observing the comings and goings in Rio, where this year’s Summer Olympic Games seem poised to be considered a success if a large number of people don’t actually die from the effects of pollution, disease, corruption, economic collapse, civil unrest or terrorism. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) keeps selecting host cities in a process which is clearly equal parts corruption and political correctness. The result is a mishmash of host cities which have been producing spectacular failures in the execution of the games, huge embarrassment and massive sports facilities which lie empty and fall into decay once the games leave town.
Unfortunately Jazz proposes Greece, a country at least as broke (while not quite as corrupt) as Brazil, as the permanent home.
The Rio Olympics opener is on NBC at 7:30pm Eastern tomorrow.