An era of mega-events and mega-projects is coming to a close in Brazil with the Olympic Games to be hosted Aug. 5-21 by Rio de Janeiro. But the country’s taste for massive construction undertakings helped fuel the economic and political crisis that has it in its grip.
The seven-year-old got bored after running here and there for five minutes, amidst a group of a dozen classmates. He eventually stomped off the field because he hadn’t managed to kick the ball even once.
It is almost 6pm. A group of kids are plying their craft in a dusty, dirty courtyard in a poor neighbourhood in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital. That craft is football. They kick the once-white-but-now-brown, aged football around. One child is barefoot, the other wears worn shoes and is dressed in the kit of the national team.
It is unlikely that Brazilians will listen to the audacious call made by Michel Platini – a great player in his time and now the politicking president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) – on Apr. 26: “Brazil, make an effort for a month, calm down!”
It seemed like “a good deal” at the time, but then things changed. That description of the 2006 purchase of a U.S. refinery, one of the oil industry scandals hanging over the Brazilian government’s head, could also apply to attitudes towards the FIFA World Cup.
The FIFA World Cup 2014 mascot was inspired by the three-banded armadillo, which is unique in its ability to roll up in a tight ball. The species is endangered in Brazil, which is hosting the upcoming global sporting event.
As the FIFA World Cup approaches, the streets of Brazil are heating up with strikes and demonstrations, and there are worries that the social unrest could escalate into a wave of protests similar to the ones that shook the country in June 2013.
The pressure to complete 12 football stadiums in Brazil in time for the FIFA World Cup in June has meant long, exhausting workdays of up to 18 hours, which has increased the risk of accidents and deaths.
They poured into shopping malls en masse to have some fun. But the reaction, a mixture of fear, admiration and heavy-handed repression, brought a new youth movement into being in Brazil: the “rolezinhos.”
Sustainable transport grew in the Latin American cities of Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro in 2013.
The Brazilian national football team made a glorious comeback with its victory in the FIFA Confederations Cup, but the sport has lost its tight grip on society. While millions celebrated, the tournament was also another source of anger for the protesters that have filled the streets in the last few weeks.