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Brazil facing meltdown as Olympics loom

An aerial view of Copacabana Beach, which will host the beach volleyball, marathon swimming, road cycling and triathlon during the 2016 Rio Olympics. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes.

Brazil facing meltdown as Olympics loom

Brazil facing meltdown as Olympics loom

Rio de Janeiro is facing political turmoil as it heads into the countdown for the Olympic Games, starting on August 5.

Brazil might be famous for doing things at the last minute but it is not disorganisation that is the issue, rather political turmoil and apathy. Not for Brazil are concerns over security or venue delays instead concerns over the impeachment of their president.

The incumbent, Dilma Rousseff, is alleged to have manipulated her government’s economic figures prior to the 2014 election. But, she says impeachment proceedings against her are a “coup” and she will fight them to the last.

There is also the issue of a global health emergency – the World Health Organisation declared Zika – the virus which causes microcephaly in babies  – a global public health emergency three months ago.

The Olympics are being held in winter which will mean mosquitoes will be present in their lowest numbers of the year.

To top it off Brazil is in its worst recession since the 1930s by some measures.

Government data released at the start of April shows industrial output down by 9 per cent year-on-year and the World Bank says the shrinking of Brazil’s economy by 3.8 per cent last year is its worst performance since 1981.

And then there are the regular Olympics issues –  an extension of Rio de Janeiro’s Metro Linha 4, which is intended to connect the largest of four Olympic venue clusters with the rest of the host city is not yet finished.

It is expected to be finished in July but may not be at full capacity during the games.

If there is some good news it is that, according to the International Olympic Committee, venues are 98 per cent complete.




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