Editorial: The Big Question(s)

Betting on what team will win the World Cup is not easy, but it seems safer than betting on how much the protests in Brazil will kick off.

Editorial, by Stone Korshak

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – There are two big questions everyone in Rio is asking right now. The first is, will public unrest and general protests kick off during the World Cup and overwhelm or at least disrupt the FIFA World Cup? Then the other is who will win the World Cup?

Stone Korshak, Editor and Publisher of The Rio Times.

Stone Korshak, Editor and Publisher of The Rio Times.

In 2010 during the last World Cup we had already launched The Rio Times but I was traveling in New York doing some consulting work and had missed the spectacle. I heard it was amazing energy on the streets here, and I have been consistently chastised for missing it. Apparently every four years it is the same festive spirit, after all Brazil has won more World Cup titles than any other country, football (soccer) is in the blood here.

Yet just weeks away from the 2014 World Cup several Carioca friends have commented how much more subdued the spirit on the street is this year, even though Brazil is hosting the thing! People note how few Brazil flags are flying, and decorations that would usually be up are still not adorning shop windows and such.

A Carioca friend explained how she is torn, on one side she wants to show her frustration with the irresponsible spending, incompetence and corruption between the government and FIFA. On the other she wants to root for Brazil and also show all the foreign travelers that Brazil is a great country and a wonderful place to visit.

That last part amazes me, the warmth and pride of many Brazilians still wanting to open their arms and show visitors how incredible Brazil is. Even while most are struggling to keep ahead of spiraling inflation and tough times. Brazil and Rio have such friendly people in general, few would argue with that.

Personally I can’t predict what will happen, the protests last year took me by surprise. Not that I was surprised that the public would buck the burden of government folly, but I just didn’t see it getting sparked by such a small straw, and bring millions took to the street in a matter of days.

The amount of strike action (bus drivers, bank security, teachers, museums and police) across the country here, in all sectors, does not set a pretty stage for the government or FIFA. National army troops have already been deployed and more will come to keep the streets and stadiums clear. There are already over seven thousand in Rio alone.

So how will all these rabble-rousers compare to the football fanatics? So far the football fans have been quiet. It was surprising to me to see protesters direct their anger, chants and placards at the Seleção (national Brazil team) this past week, that could really effect their play and performance in the Cup.

The other big question, who will win the 2014 FIFA World Cup (besides the obvious FIFA and some government officials laughing their way to the bank)? We asked our senior sports reporter Robbie Blakeley the same question and he was hesitant to put his money down.

For me it’s easy, as an American knowing very little about international football-soccer, I’m going with team USA all the way baby! Yet if that million-to-one bet doesn’t pay off, then of course I’m going with the only team I can name any of the players – BBBRRAAASSSSIIILLLL!

As far as betting on the protests … that one I’ll keep out of.

Policing has been reinforced around the training complex following protests on Monday, photo by Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil.

Policing has been reinforced around the training complex following protests on Monday, photo by Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil.

6 Responses to "Editorial: The Big Question(s)"

  1. American In Rio  May 28, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    I’ve been in Rio for the World Cups in 2006 and 2010 and it is an amazing experience. I would highly recommend staying here!

    While I want Brazil to win (sorry but USA doesn’t have a chance this year and we did sweep the winter olympics) I hope that that win doesn’t lend unintended support to the Dilma regime!

    I do take exception to this characterization in this Editorial, you say “So how will all these rabble-rousers compare to the football fans?”
    Rable-rouser implys they don’t have legitimacy. I would prefer the term Patriots.

  2. Publisher  May 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    I agree, ‘rabble-rouser’ was an attempt at flourish prose and was not meant as a knock on the purpose or legitimacy of the protests. Although according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, rabble-rouser is:
    “a person who makes a group of people angry, excited, or violent (such as by giving speeches) especially in order to achieve a political or social goal.” – But the connotation is a bit negative for many and not what was intended.

  3. Publisher  May 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    ps – Thanks for reading and commenting

  4. Leonardo  May 29, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Inflation has just hit a new low, and the only middle class complaining is the old one (B class), not the new one that compromises the majority of voters in the country (C class).

    The idiotic Trotskyist ultra ideological left wing opposition and their allied anarchists fall for the USAID-CIA funded colorful revolution/ Latin America Spring internet spammed lies much like Gorbachev and Lech Walesa did so in the past during the 80ies.

    As in 1964 UDN-American sponsored coupist efforts, the PSDB and its allied billionaire mainstream media and foreign one convinces even foreigners that Brazil is in such wrong path or that it’s all the mean big government fault. Today, even Bloomberg said that investors (the rulers of the capitalist world) should root against Brazilian team in order to defeat Dilma in the coming elections. The World Cup weird mood is due to Anarchist vandalism propped by this big stream of simplistic opportunistic neoliberal views.

    Brazil was neoliberal during the ugly nineties and it was also a pariah in the international arena then. It was the mean big developmentalist Keynesian state that placed Brazil among the big players in this world. And that brought millions out of poverty. Sure the works are over-priced, but the rentist controled neoliberal state had a 30% unemployment rate and a 44% interest rate. The only way the federal government could have done away with those local state and city political and from legislative majority parties like PMDB-PP (party created by the US propped dictatorship) folks who makes everything cost twice what it should to pay back election donations from building companies to them, was to make a constitutional revolution like Hugo Chávez did, which could have caused a military coup attempt like Venezuela suffered in 2002 and is suffering again now. It could also cause the same type of economic international speculation that Venezuela suffers with.

    The biggest mistake of PT was to accept corrupt FIFA’s demand to make Brazilian stadiums look like English Arenas/Shopping Centers, making sure that the new middle class, the people who majoritarely VOTE for PT can’t go inside these expensive elitist stadiums anymore.

    But this people also was remembered that the Neoliberals are to come back if they root against PT , so only a few anarchist and ultra ideological left wingers will demonstrate. Fascist minded. trained and still militarized police (with their US School of Americas taught tactics) will likely crush on them, and media make it seem like it was a big failure but even if Brazil does lose, the people know better than to vote for other parties.

    Some people are afraid to put out banners rooting for their nation due to Anarchist violent douchebags or are discontent with FIFA and the elitist stadiums. But the moment they see Brazil playing live in the World Cup, everything will change like in 1970 World Cup amid the dictatorship when the left wing guerillas thought that a Brazilian victory would make the regime stronger and decided to root against it, but when the first match was on, even in the torture centers the goal celebrations were heard from within the cells.

  5. American In Rio  May 30, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Well that’s certainly an opinion….

  6. Alfredo Rivera  May 31, 2014 at 5:49 AM

    When FIFA trusted Brazil to carry out the 2016 World Cup it endowed every Brazilian with the responsibility for the success of the games. The World Cup in Brazil has captured the imagination of billions of soccer fans around the world, and the current social unrest has turned the opportunity to outsell the beauty and grandeur of Brazil in a nightmare with the advent of danger for the millions of visitors. A failure of these games can be detrimental for the emerging Brazilian economy and the organized labour in the country. Every Brazilian must be faithful to the promise made to FIFA and must make every effort to stop the social unrest during the duration of the tournament.

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