Brazil struggles under limelight of Olympics

Published: April 28, 2016

After allegations of corruption, fear of Zika virus, Brazil faces  worldwide scrutiny in preparation for 2016 Summer Olympics

Photo courtesy of wikimedia commons RIO DE Janeiro, Brazil will host the Summer 2016 Olympics. The country is under tough scrutiny after allegations arose of President Dilma Roussef forging figures about the Brazilian economy. The negative attention only increased after the deadly Zika virus was announced to have reached Brazil.

PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / RIO DE Janeiro, Brazil will host the Summer 2016 Olympics. The country is under tough scrutiny after allegations arose of President Dilma Roussef forging figures about the Brazilian economy. The negative attention only increased after the deadly Zika virus was announced to have reached Brazil.

Commentary by
ERIN MCCORMICK

With only 100 days to go until the Olympics this summer, all eyes are on Rio de Janeiro, the 2016 host city, as it finishes up its final preparations for the upcoming games. This year, however, tensions are high with an uncertain political atmosphere — threat of presidential impeachment and talks of corruption run amok. Perhaps they are just following the precedent set by the rather messy, uncertain and questionably funded 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, two years ago. The preparations from Sochi, and now Rio, are a far cry from the cleaner lead-up to the 2008 Beijing games and London games in 2012.

President Dilma Rousseff is being accused of forging figures about the Brazilian economy a few years ago, and hearings against her are currently being held in the Senate. The speaker of the lower house, Eduardo Cunha, is helping lead these proceedings. Unfortunately, Cunha himself is facing allegations of money laundering.

In addition, the Zika virus that has left Central and South Americans struck with fear has made it to Brazil, though the International Olympic Committee has made it a point to monitor the regions around Rio for the disease and keep infectious disease specialists on the ground. However, waters that will be used for various aquatic sports (sailing, rowing, etc.) during the games have shown positive in testing for other viruses and harmful bacteria.

Economically, the country is in a recession, the worst that it has seen since before World War II. Ticket sales are lacking, likely as a result of this. Only about half of the tickets for the summer’s games have been sold so far. There are serious concerns over whether or not all of the venues and other infrastructure and transportation elements will be completed or ready in time. A bike path intended for the games partially collapsed just last week, killing two people. Security measures in Rio, a city known for its rather high murder rate, are being questioned in regards to their effectiveness.

However, this is not the first, nor will it be the last time that a city and a country are under criticism for their lack of preparation only a few months before the games begin. Every nation has their own problems that cannot be solved in the face of the Olympics, and Brazil is no different. These games will be monumental for a number of reasons- the first games held in South America, the first time there will be a Refugee Olympic team competing and, one way or another, Rio de Janeiro will surely manage to put on a spectacle for the world to watch this summer.

Contact the writer: erin.mccormick@scranton.edu

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