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Olympics and the “Brazilian Shakedown”

At the end of the 2012 Olympics, the closing ceremonies included a stunning and colorfully culture-rich Samba performance – with an inspiring preview of what was to come in the Rio Olympics for 2016, but the quagmire of problems that plagued this country, in preparation, and during the Games will leave the Olympic Committee and Tourists to proclaim, “Never Again”. 

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Rio was celebrated to be the first Latin-American, third-world country to host the Olympics in history, with the venue’s being located in Barra, Deodoro, Maracana, and Copacabana. The Federal Government also agreed to a $240 Billion funding for the Program for Growth Acceleration for the games, and the Private Sector also committed to 3.9 Billion in infrastructure projects.

The renovations began almost immediately with increased military and law enforcement cleaning up the drug crime in Rio’s slums. But the tremendous resources allocated for redevelopment and beautification of Rio as a whole, would soon be diverted to corruption and special interest groups and their profitable driven development projects.

Rio spent $10.2 Billion on 31 of the actual Olympic venues, but just months before the 2016 Olympics began, Rio’s Governor, Francisco Dornelles announced that Rio had run out of money, and declared a State of Financial Emergency. Police were going on strike after several weeks of not getting paid, and Doctors were being hired by Government hospitals because Rio was in such a health crisis, that patients needing surgery were being turned away.

There was a gripping fear in the Olympic Committee, that Rio wasn’t going to provide adequate security, health, and other vital resources for the Games. Business executives were arrested in the biggest corruption scandal in history, all of which made the Olympics in Rio seem like a hideous disaster. If that wasn’t bad enough, news of the Zika virus began spreading throughout the world, and even caused some athletes to boycott the 2016 Games.

Rio received the needed funding, and the Games began as scheduled, but the athletes reported that they had been lodged in some of the most heinous facilities they’ve ever stayed in. Bathroom basins were falling out of the cabinets; showers didn’t work; no hot water, and toilets not flushing were only a few of the problems plaguing the Athletic Village that made several of the rooms uninhabitable.

But the worst travesty had to come with the way Rio handled the slums and their residence. Rather than using Billions of dollars to renovate the slums in Rio, they instead evicted the residence from their homes, and demolished them — mostly surrounding downtown area.  Videos can be found showing police beating and arresting residence who refused to leave. Hundreds of homes and thousands of residents were forced out of their homes because the government considered them an eyesore.


Rio Military Police evicting residence

Rio invested most of its money in renovation projects within the already developed downtown area, and even went so far as to build a tall wall to block visibility of the slums that were seen along the main highway.

40519_G24_W01But with all of the problems of the mishandling of the Olympic Games that plagued Rio, one that topped the list had to be the handling of the athletes during the Lochte Scandal. Swimmers Jack Conger, Jimmy Feigen,  Gunner Bentz, and Ryan Lochte allegedly destroyed a bathroom door at a gas station and tried to cover it up by saying they had been robbed at gunpoint.

This proved to be fabricated, but the handling of the incident by Rio’s law enforcement was an even more tragic embarrassment for Brazil. Rio showed to everyone that they can’t look past a non-violent, minor incident by four young foreign athletes because it was somehow a misrepresentation of what Rio’s reputation — supposedly more-so than the already decimated reputation Rio had already given itself by hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

Not only was pulling the athletes off of an American bound airplane uncalled for, but that Jimmie Feigen was forced to pay $10,800, in what amounted to no more than a Brazilian Shakedown. A typical Third-World scam commonly used on foreigners vacationing in their country — The same scam they pulled on the Olympic Committee when they said they had run out of money to host the Games.

Normally, in other First-World countries, we make concessions for kids visiting countries, especially those competing in a global event such as the Olympics. We understand the stress they must be facing while competing in an event such as this — which is inexcusable, but if anything, the Olympic committee should have banned them from competing in the future Olympic Games, or at worst, stripped them from any medals they won during the games.

Certainly Rio can expect tourism and expat reduction to drop dramatically after this incident. If this is how they treat Foreign athletes on a global stage, how much worse would it be for regular Visitors or Expats who find themselves in the same situation?

One thing is certain, Rio, Brazil, or Latin-America in general, has proven that they are nowhere near civilized enough to host another Olympic games. Also, the can rest assured that if they continue to hold American athletes one more day, for what amounts to nothing more than a misdemeanor crime in the United States, they can expect the Billions of dollars of renovation projects they invested in, to rot in bankruptcy because of lost tourism. The same tourism that helped bring them up from where they were only a decade ago.

About R. A. Romero (45 Articles)
Writer, Project Manager, Founder of American Insider Online --

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