(Image from The Star)
We are now only several months away before the biggest sporting event in the world – the FIFA World Cup – kicks off. This time, it’s all eyes on Brazil. But the problem is that it has been all eyes on Brazil for the past four years, as the world watches in amazement as the country tries to organize the event in preparation for 2014.
Yet 2014 is now here and there is obscurity as to whether or not the country is even ready to host it. Recently in the Brazilian mega polis São Paulo, Brazilian Assistant Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said it was a “joke” that the country still wasn’t on its feet with finishing intended construction of stadiums and necessary infrastructure prior to the big match. He was quoted saying that Brazil “missed the opportunity to show the world”.
So what is going on in Brazil? FIFA has sent an army of delegates over the years in search of some reassurance from the Brazilian government that construction was progressing and all would be finished in time for the match.
In traditional Latin “sans souci”, the Brazilian government simply brushed off their worries with a coy smile and a simple “não tem problema – a gente vai dar um jeito” (No worries – we’ll find a way).
Dar um jeito – the most Brazilian of all phrases. Um jeito can be a favor, a request, or more often than not, a way to finding the solution to doing something. Many have said that the concept of jeito defines the Brazilian way of being, given that it is indeed a country of survival. From the street urchins of the favelas in Rio to the glitterati of São Paulo with their helicopters soaring above the city, Brazilians live in a world where daily life is always about trying to find a way, or dar um jeito, in doing all things. Be it convincing a police officer to not give them a ticket or getting a discount on shoes, a gente sempre pode dar um jeito (we can always find a way) is the Brazilian mantra.
But it seems impossible to properly find a way in Brazil with the World Cup now looming over.
Since FIFA baptized the country with the task of preparing the event, it has caused nothing but complications.
First with construction of the stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which saw many native tribes who housed cultural centers and museums around the projected construction area, evicted and forced out of the only enclaves they had in displaying their culture and preserving it in a forever “globalized” Brazil.
Then there were the riots earlier in the year. Massive protests across all of Brazil’s major cities in the south, with angry citizens demanding answers, took to the streets. Apparently, it was revealed that the government was spending uncounted millions on organizing the World Cup when a majority of major necessities, such as having well-kept hospital facilities and a functioning public transportation, were in complete and utter degradation.
Then came the hike in bus fares in a few Brazilian cities – the event that became the straw to break the camel’s back.
Police clashed with citizens in the streets, demanding to know how the government had the audacity to raise the prices of bus tariffs when the government officials had the money in their pockets already full in preparation of the World Cup.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff proclaimed in an urgent state-of-the-union that the protests made her “proud” of the Brazilian people for “standing up for their voices and demanding what was right”.
She was indeed proud, until the Brazilian public reminded her that it was at her they wanted to display their frustration towards.
In a popular YouTube video called “O Jetinhno Carioca” (The Carioca Way), which displays in comical fashion typical expressions and behaviors of Cariocas (natives of Rio de Janeiro) the main characters find themselves at various points during the video looking at a parts of Rio and saying “Imagina isso na copa!” (Imagine this during the World Cup!) to express the chaotic nature to arise during the event that is anticipated to unfold in the city. However, as comical the references maybe, how far off can they be in expressing concern?
What can be imagined for Brazil during the World Cup? If the disappointing status of the current state of construction continues, then is a chaotic bundle truly about to unfold? Has Brazil truly “missed an opportunity” as Parreira woefully exclaimed.
I asked this question to a friend of mine, who’s a Paulista (native of São Paulo) on if she thought whether or not Brazil was truly ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world.
She rolled her eyes and sighed, as if to prepare herself for the negative response she was alluding to me at. But instead, she pushed back strands of her blonde highlights from her face and with a forced smile said: “A gente vai dar um jeito com a copa,” she said. “We’ll find a solution to the World Cup”.
You can read more about Carlos Alberto Parreira’s remarks and Brazil’s struggle to set up the World Cup by clicking here.
Carla Dauden is a Brazilian Photographer and Director who’s famous video “Why I am not going to the World Cup” highlights the frustrations that Brazilians have with the government and the funds that are being used in preparations for the event. You can see this dynamic video by clicking here to watch it.
Mimi Whitefield and Taylor Barnes of the Miami Herald wrote the article “Brazil has a long way to go before it’s ready for World Cup prime time” which gives a bigger picture in the slow progress of Brazil’s event planning and how troublesome its delay is becoming.