Brazil | ‘Garbage will be collected selectively’

Christ the Redeemer and the Maracanã, where some 200,000 assembled for the Brazil-Uruguay final in the World Cup of 1950—the last time Brazil served as host. (Bruno Domingos | Reuters)

Banal wordplay leads to inevitable end … Brazil in 2014

Rio de Janeiro | Should a nation’s literary talent be enlisted as part of a state’s quest for sporting laurels?

Paulo Coelho, member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras and the most widely read Latin American author in history, sat among Brazil’s delegation Oct 30 in Zurich as it made its final presentation before being awarded the 2014 World Cup finals. Brazil was the only country to bid. FIFA—governing by inscrutable logic—deemed that, beginning with the 2018 tournament, it no longer would abide by a continental rotation system that had virtually guaranteed that Brazil would prevail as host. (Will Uruguay similarly be assured a hosting or co-hosting role at the 100th-anniversary event in 2030? Who knows?)

Ricardo Teixeira, long-serving president of the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol, acted as front man for the delegation, with Romario, current Brazil manager Dunga and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in tow. As many noted, Pelé was not in the mix, having declined to endorse a Brazilian bid for the 2006 tournament.

Others have expressed concern that public investment to repair decrepit stadiums, at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion, would add to Brazil’s debt burden. According to FIFA’s own inspection report, “[N]one of the stadiums in Brazil would be suitable to stage 2014 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ matches in their current state” (p. 25).


The glint from the Jules Rimet statuary has not hindered the critical faculties of O Povo columnist Tostão, who himself lifted the trophy in 1970.

The optimistic say the World Cup will increase the number of tourists, will bring huge benefits in infrastructure for the population and will improve football by improving and building the stadiums. Others think that, because of the violence, the problems with air transport, the terrible highways, the absence of railways, the bad structural condition of the cities and the areas around the stadiums, the enormous government spending, the political interests and the people who take advantage, that Brazil is not prepared for such a task. (quoted in Glenn Moore, “Ugly Reality Threatens World Cup in Land of Joga Bonita,” Independent, Oct 31)

Tim Vickery quotes transportation expert Marcos Quintella, in whose view the major mode of transport in Brazilian urban centers—the bus—is inhumane. Waits last up to 40 minutes, “journeys … can take between two and three hours and inside vehicles with nine or 10 passengers per square meter” (“Brazil’s Road as World Cup Host Is Filled with Potholes,”, Oct 30).

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