By Peter Alegi | July 30th, 2011 4 Comments
The 2014 World Cup officially got underway today with the qualifying draw in Rio de Janeiro. Simultaneously, the Associação Nacional dos Torcedores de futebol (ANT, the National Association of Football Supporters) organized a demonstration against the World Cup (and the 2016 Olympics). ANT’s call to protest read thusly:
Do you think that the World Cup belongs to us?
Our government continually says that the World Cup and Olympics will bring benefits to Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. But who will benefit? The cost of living and rent are continually on the rise, families are forcibly removed from their homes and street vendors are prevented from working.
More: they are wasting public money on all of these projects and have put forward a law that will hide how much they have spent. To make things worse, the organizers of the World Cup, FIFA and Ricardo Teixeira (the president of the Brazilian Football Federation), are being accused of corruption by multiple sources.
Everything indicates that the World Cup and Olympics are going to repeat, on a larger scale, the history of the 2007 Pan American Games: misappropriation of public funds, unnecessarily large construction projects that become useless after the competition, benefits only for large businesses whose owners are friends of those in power and the violation of the human rights of millions of Brazilians.
The forced removal of families affected by these projects is happening in an arbitrary and violent manner. This situation has already been denounced by the United Nations. Mega-events are being used to install a State of Exception, with the systematic violation of the rule of law.
In this vein, what will be the legacy of the mega-events? The privatization of the city, of health and education? The gentrification of football culture and its stadiums? That private companies will reap profit and benefits with exemptions from taxation and subsidized loans? The profits from the World Cup will be for entrepreneurs, and the debt will be ours. Are we going to allow the mega-event histories of Athens 2004 and South Africa 2010 to repeat themselves?
Join us! Together we will change this trajectory, come and fight! Come kick a ball around with us at the Largo do Machado, the 30th of July beginning at 10am.
The city is not merchandise to be bought and sold!
No to the privatization of land and public resources, airports, education and health care!