Opinion, by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Residents of Rio, rejoice! After years of spending more than you earn, the government of the Federative Republic of Brazil is about to solve your problem, thanks to the 2016 Olympic Games. Your well-nigh mummified “Interim” Governor, Francisco Dornelles, has managed to move his paper-thin lips enough to declare a state of “financial calamity”.
Everyone knows the State of Rio de Janeiro has been a financial basket case for well over a year, unable to pay its employees, particularly its school teachers; unable to pay the menial labor staff at schools and universities, upon whom the wealthy students depend; unable to pay the pensioners who no longer work.
But never mind all that. Today, as a direct result of the “calamity” ukase, Rio de Janeiro is now able to pay the contractors for work on Rio 2016.
In order to finish all the preparations for Rio 2016, the federal, state and municipal governments are all now permitted to throw out the rule book for public contracts and pay the corrupt contractors all the “extras” they claim for work not done on time, and work that will never be done because the contractors have already siphoned off too many millions of dollars into the offshore bank accounts of the corrupt politicians who guaranteed their contracts.
All of us skeptics suspected, when it was announced Rio had won the right to host the 2016 Games, that corruption would expand exponentially, that every single contractor would be chosen by the politicians whose election campaigns they financed, that all their “low” bids were shams they had no intention of honoring, and that, when it came to crunch time, the politicians would come to their rescue and pour taxpayer money into their coffers.
The federal, state and municipal governments all swore that would not happen.
Everything ends in pizza.
The Curmudgeon has loved Rio de Janeiro for almost forty years and wishes that all the above were not true.