Brazil Sacrifices Poor on World Cup Altar

Several days before the start of the World Cup, people close to the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro woke up to find missiles on the roofs of their apartment buildings. Not just missiles. Entire military bases were established overnight on their homes.

In Tijuca, north of the city, 600 yards from the stadium, the Brazilian Navy established air defense systems on a 15 floor apartment building meant to defend against airborne attacks. Retired Brazilian economist, Almir Cardoso, said in a phone interview that he was surprised to see the Brazilian troops on the roof. “They confirmed that they have installed a missile on the roof,” he said. Cardoso, like the rest of the apartment building’s dwellers, were not given any advance notice.

The “official” government line is the missiles are meant to defend the airspace over Maracana as well as the twelve other stadiums where the games are taking place. The reality is more sinister. The military is spying on — and monitoring — protesters on the ground. The Brazilian government has put an army of 200,000 troops on the ground for FIFA’s greatest show. The president government has had to rob from the country’s public monies to do it.

In the beginning, Brazil said hosting the World Cup would carry a budget of $2 billion US dollars. Now, with the World Cup not even half-way over, the cost has soared to over $10 billion US dollars. Does anyone wonder why people are outraged?

Poor and poverty ridden communities have been forcibly evicted and the land handed over to private developers. The treasure chests of money are going into the pockets of construction companies — some of the largest political donors in Brazil.

There’s a pattern that is developing whenever FIFA — and the Olympics — come to town. Private contracts, paid for with the public budget, end up costing up to 100 times more than planned. The theft pushes countries into crisis with debts that are blamed on the working class. In 2007, the United Nations-funded Centre for Housing Rights found that during the last two decades, the Olympic games have forced over two million evictions. The report listed the World Cup and the Olympics as two of the top causes of population displacement in the world.

Besides the evictions, legislation has been passed in Brazil to allow for the “preventive arrest” of people if they are merely suspected of planning to protest against the injustices endured because of FIFA’s World Cup. The 200,000 troops on the ground show just how brutal the World Cup class war is.

In June, 2013, the national anthem of Brazil was playing out in the streets as law enforcement was attacking people with rubber bullets and tear gas.

One year later, there are more cops. They are even more brutal.

The poor of Brazil are being sacrificed on the altar of The World Cup in hopes the soccer gods will reign down more money for the elite.

By Jerry Nelson