Frustration in Brazil: Why the Olympic Games whips out feeling

In 26 days, the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will start. But until now, one can just feel very little the anticipation. The South American country is still struggling with an economic recession, which has even got worse as a result of the Lava Jato scandal and the alleged whitewashing of the state budget under the deposed president Dilma Rousseff. Thus, tourists can benefit from the weak real, but for locals this is a real disaster because their purchasing power has decreased noticeably. Was the official exchange rate 1 to 3 at the 2014 World Cup, so one can even get 3.7 reais for one euro nowadays. And that’s not all by far, which whips up the Brazilian feelings. Finally, dozens of scandals have grown around the Olympic Games, similar to the World Cup.

Although the number of Zika aliments is falling and the interim president Michel Temer calls the risk of this disease as quasi non-existent, dengue fever speaks for itself. 63 196 sick people were treated this year just in Rio de Janeiro, across the country there are even 1,294,583 registered cases. But in winter, the risk of a sting by the Egyptian tiger mosquito is lower than in the hot season from October to March. Anyway, Olympic tourists can catch a breath, but shouldn’t forget protective measures, including a good repellent. It’s the best places to buy it in Brazil because the German mosquito sprays are completely ineffective against that species. In any pharmacy one can find the so-called “repelente” which costs about eight to ten reais. In addition, it’s advisable to wear long clothes that protect legs and feet at the blue and the golden hour, because the tiger mosquito preferably stings the metatarsus and the calf. This isn’t only comfortable when wearing shoes, but also very painful.

Until August 04, the Olympic flame, which was transported by plane to South America, will be carried through more than 325 Brazilian cities. With much publicity and even more pride the inhabitants trace the torchbearers. Actually a good thing. Finally, the Olympic spirit combines and exactly such unity is required these days in Brazil. Because the country is still divided into two political politically, due to the impeachment against Rousseff. However, in Manaus the national pride went too far as the runners presented the torches together with genuine leopards. For the most feared predator of Brazil, the whole spectacle wasn’t that funny. This situation completely overwhelmed the leopard Juma that attacked a soldier – and was promptly killed by the army. The mascot of the state Amazonas belongs to the endangered species in consequence of the extensive deforestation of the rainforest. All the worse is the organizers’ behaviour in Manaus. Within hours, social networks were flooded with indignation and images of Juma. Mostly the question rises whether one should risk the life of an animal endangered species just because of such a major event. And which price Brazil ultimately has to pay for the Olympics.

If you look at Rio de Janeiro not just animals seem to have a price tag. Coming from the airport to the city centre, one comes across the metres high walls of the Complexo da Maré firstly. In the run-up to the World Cup, this labyrinthine favela was cleaned of drug lords and arms dealers by the liberation police. Many innocent civilians were among the victims as the some polícia militar did their radical operations. And even today there seems to be no end of the war between the police and the local favelados. Officially, most favelas are indeed pacified, but corruption, drugs and violence are still on the agenda. Thus, the number of homicides has increased by 15 percent in comparison to the last year, the number of robberies even by one third. After the Zika problem Brazil suffers from a huge security lack. And the stigmatisation between rich and poor, between negro and branco as a result of the Olympic Games reaches unsuspected proportions. Since last year, for example, residents of Vila Autódromo fought against their forced relocation, because the the favela on the edge of the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca, one of the richest bairros the city, was the organisers’ bête noire. With threats and partly by the force of arms they tried to scare away the favelados. And succeeded: Just 20 families out of 500 resisted the pressure. A could gain a partial victory. The city of Rio de Janeiro promised that until July 22 replacement homes will be built so that the residents can resettle, as desired by the Olympic Committee.

The “games of inclusion”, as Rio 2016 is called by the organisers, also show their side-effects in the Complexo da Maré. Thus, the express bus BRT Transcarioca, specifically built for the transit from the airport to the Olympic Park, doesn’t go through the favelas, also resulted in a relocation of other families. It’s estimated that since last year more than 4,000 families in the poor areas had to leave their homes as a result of the building operations for the Olympic Games. After a ride of about one hour, the express bus reaches Barra da Tijuca, where most Olympic events will occur. This quarter of the new high society is a home to many high-ranking politicians such as the mayor Eduardo Paes or notable athletes such as Ronaldinho. The strong American looking city area with its chic shopping malls and its vicinity to the Guanabara Bay is a complete contrast to the favelas. So it’s clear who will primarily benefit from the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro: the private investors of the venues and the rich, mainly white population of Barra da Tijuca, Leblon and Ipanema.

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