Brazil is a gorgeous country. Anyone who has been there or has turned on a television in the last few days will tell you the same. Brazilian people are warm, cheerful people. But go to Brazil today and most people will not be happy about what is happening there. Your broadcasters don’t show you the true Brazil – namely Rio – is on fire right now. While media outlets have an interest in portraying the Olympic games in a certain light, the reality remains that these summer games are taking place at a great cost to a very violently impoverished population. Simply put, most Brazilians resent hosting them – the money their corrupt government has wasted on these games are needed for education, social programs, and health care.
While people around the world are shown images of ocean front hotels and world-class venues, a few kilometers inland sprawl out the slums that most residents of Rio De Janeiro live in. Many are unemployed. Many are uneducated. Access to water is not a given; food security does not exist. Sanitation is appalling. The average Brazilian makes about $800 a month, if they’re lucky. The poor live in a violent poverty – gang violence is prolific.
Needless to say, majority of Rio residents will not be attending any of the expensive Olympic events. In fact, most can’t even afford the transportation costs to get into the vicinity of the games. Should a slum-dweller somehow find their way into the posh, fenced off areas reserved for the upper-class, security forced will push them out. You may think this is unlawful, and it is; however, the law does not apply to the world’s biggest events that cumulatively grant billions of dollars in profits to some of the worlds largest corporations (see Coca-Cola, VISA, Nike, Budweiser, etcetera).
For evidence you need look no further than the last FIFA World Cup which took place, tragically, in the poor Brazilian nation. Amongst other atrocities, entire slums were bulldozed in a bid to doll-up major cities while freeing valuable real estate. Four years earlier, in South Africa, the poor were thrown in the back police trucks, driven hours out of town, and dumped off the highway without access to food, water, or shelter. In both countries, many millions of tax dollars were thrown at building stadiums in remote places where they’ll never be used again. This is just how these events go. Entire nations pay big –a few elite profit even bigger.
When you watch these Olympic games and enjoy the talents of world-class athletes it’s worth trying to remember the backdrop behind which these games are taking place. Your broadcasters will not tell you that there are thousands of people outside the venues protesting the Olympics, but they are. They won’t tell you that police, paramedic, firefighters and other civil servants are striking because they have not been paid for months because money has been going to an event they’ll not have the means to attend.
They won’t show you the countless number of children in Brazil who don’t have food, clothes, an education or adequate shelter – instead they’ll show you rich people on the beach, sipping expensive drinks, drunk off their privilege, and oblivious or apathetic to the reality around them. The Rio Olympics do not represent the people of Rio nor their interests; do your own research and you might not see the Olympics corporation in the same light.