FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

World Cup for Whom?

by

According to Leonardo Dupin on journalist Juca Kfouri’s blog, Minas Arena consortium will have the right to operate the Minerao soccer stadium in Belo horizonte for 25 years, after their investment of about $300 million, $180 million of which was kindly lent by Brazil’s state development bank, BNDES. The agreement guarantees that the government of the state of Minas Gerais will cover any losses in their business up to $1.7 million. In 2013, the consortium had losses every month of the year and the state footed the bill, giving them over 20 million dollars to secure corporate profits.

The government is generally not as straightforward in trying to protect corporations from losses. It seems that this time, the state didn’t try to be very roundabout and just funneled money directly from the pockets of the tax-paying poor to those of the tax-eating rich.

The consortiums that control other World Cup stadiums have similar sweetheart deals, with “investment” money generously coming from BNDES, the largest tool of upward wealth transfer in Brazil. President Dilma Rousseff appears frequently on TV to assure us that the total spent on stadiums was “only” $4 billion, whereas total overall is around $11.5 billion, most of which should actually be “recouped” by the public, because they were “loans.”

Rouseff forgot to account for subsidies and concession contracts. She also forgot to account for evictions and urban make-up projects intended to hide our poor from fearful tourists. Not to mention the cost of the police state that has wreaked havoc since the World Cup and the Olympics were announced to be held in Brazil.

We’re less than a month from the World Cup and yet we see few flags hanging from windows, few paintings of the tournament’s mascot on walls. The announcement of the national team was met with little anticipation or surprise, and very little positive speech is heard about the championship at all.

Protests and criticisms have abounded, however, culminating on May 15 in the International Day of World Cup Resistance (15M). People took to the streets in many Brazilian capitals, accompanied by teachers, public transportation workers and, in Pernambuco, police strikes. Also worthy of note was the manifestation of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), comprised of people who have the biggest reasons to complain: The World Cup caps off a model of urban development that evicts the poor from the city centers and pushes the value of their labor even lower.

The government, as always, tries to paint the Worker’s Party (PT) administration as the halcyon days of neverending development, but the honeymoon is over. No matter who conquers the World Cup, the real winner is corporate capitalism.

Nothing illustrates this better than the gentrification of Maracana stadium, once a hub for the people, but now a place attended exclusively by the elite, where fans are supposed to watch the game sitting down, taking off your jersey is forbidden, fireworks are “unsafe” and the flags you take are strictly regulated according to FIFA’s rulebook. If not even soccer is like we used to do it, we can only ask the biggest question from 15M: World Cup for whom?

Erick Vasconcelos is a contributing author at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewable of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail