16 August 2010

The Olympic Shell Game (O jogo do bicho olímpico)

As I have mentioned in numerous posts and interviews, part of the process of hosting a mega-event is the restructuring of space and re-presenting culture in order to accelerate flows of capital, goods, information, and people. “Inefficiencies” are structured out of the city, “strategic areas” are “regenerated”, and “urban legacies” left behind. City, state, and national governments promise massive urban and social interventions, signing contracts with international sporting federations that take precedence over social contracts with the local population, even though it is the latter group that is footing the bill. The current model of mega-event production is broken. The World Cup and Olympics are guaranteed to leave behind sporting, tourist, and urban infrastructures that have little or no post-event utility, do not attend to the basic needs and priorities of locals, and waste a singular opportunity to shape urban space and culture in a way that will create a more just and livable society. We are in need of Olympic-lessness, not events that are ever bigger and more transformative.

Brazil 2014 and Brazil 2016 will be corrupt, non-transparent mega-events that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, exacerbate existing socio-economic divides, and leave behind acontextual, redundant, and under-used sporting, tourist, and urban infrastructures. Among the many reasons for this chronicle of a failure foretold is the fact that Brazil receives only 5 million tourist visits a year. Poland receives 15 million. Bulgaria receives 5.2 million. Bulgaria! The obvious solution is to move Brazil closer to North America and Europe, eliminate the tourist visa, or not spend one billion reales in stimulus to construct hotels for which there will be no post-event demand. With that kind of money you could fly in another million tourists. The results from Athens 2004 and South Africa 2010 should be warning enough. Alas, in Brazil the federal government has made it ever easier to build on a massive scale while creating complex legal structures to ensure the total opacity of the process.

In May, President Lula signed into law Provisional Measure 488/2010, giving birth to Empresa Brasileira de Legado Esportivo S.A. - BRASIL 2016 (The Brazilian Sport Legacy Company Ltd. – BRASIL 2016). On the same day, he signed Provisional Measure 489/2010, creating the Autoridade Pública Olímpica – APO (Public Olympic Authority). These two institutions will be directed by the Conselho Público Olímpico (Public Olympic Council -CPO). These new institutions will use the legal measures outlined in the Olympic Act (Lei nº 12.035/2009) along with their exceptional powers to “transform” Rio de Janeiro into an Olympic City. How will this work?

The federal government will pass R$29 billion to the CPO, comprised of the president of the republic, the governor and mayor of Rio de Janeiro “or their representatives”. The CPO can decide whether or not to extend the life spans of the APO and BRASIL 2016 past their 12/31/18 death date (kind of like the mutants in Bladerunner). The CPO will pass the money along to BRASIL 2016, which will then pass it along to the APO, which will then pass it along to contractors that do not have to go through a public bidding process in order to receive contracts with public money. Neither BRASIL 2016 or the APO will be required to hire their employees through the normal legal channels. All goods imported for the Olympic and World Cup projects are exempt from tariff duties (especially aggravating when it will cost me R$275 to liberate my birthday package from the mail room). By the time a contractor starts to work on a project, the money will have passed through three inter-connected yet independent organizations, none of which will have non-governmental auditors. Just to get the APO up and running will cost R$94,8 million. In Brazil, money does actually grow on trees but you have to cut them down to get it.

The APO is responsible for the creation and delivery of the Caderno de Encargos Olímpicos (CAPO – Olympic Projects) which the agency alone defines. These projects are highly varied, and in many cases assume the responsibilities normally undertaken by state agencies. The APO is not required to have liaisons with any state agencies, becoming a form of urban governance unto itself. This ensures that the APO will become the agency that is planning the city for the next generations. Will they hire urban planners? Will the total autonomy from democratic process facilitate the development of strong community relations? Will the lack of accountability in awarding contracts ensure a more transparent expenditure of public funds? Once BRASIL 2016 and the APO expire, to what government agency will citizens be able to turn to register complaints or search for answers? How many of the people who were in charge of the massively over budget, non-transparent 2007 Pan American Games will be directing these agencies? How will these extraordinary powers be used as we get ever closer to opening ceremonies? Will Ricardo Teixeira, president of both the CBF (Brazilian Football Federation) and the LOC (Local Organizing Committee) ensure that public money does not go into his private organization? Will Carlos Nuzman, president of the COB (Brasilian Olympic Committee) and Rio 2016 (which has an uncertain yet continuing role in all this) ensure that his business relationships are not going to benefit from the opacity of the Olympic Structure? Will the government site dedicated to monitoring Olympic Projects (http://www.transparenciaolimpica.com.br/ ) ever have information that is worth looking at?

Perhaps in anticipation of the answers to these questions, the Ministry of Sport is planning on spending between R$15-R$22 million per year to improve its image.

The deployment of provisional measures in addition to the alteration (or suspension) of national, state, and city laws in order to “prepare” Brazil to host sports mega-events highlights the radical nature of these events.
The IOC and FIFA make demands, Brazil bends over backwards to meet them. The clock is running and badly needed investments in health, education, and public transportation get bypassed for new priorities.  The government, in fealty to slick criminals, makes new laws, grants exemptions, and creates a parallel government that will take public money, have little or no accountability (either financial or democratic), and then once the games have passed, will simply disappear. As I mention in my article in the Journal of Latin American Geography, this is similar to what happened during the USAmerican invasion of Iraq with the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The CPA went in after a total “restructuring” (Shock and Awe), changed all of the laws and then evaporated. Here, the Shock and Awe comes in a different, somewhat less violent form, but the idea is the same: restructure space and culture for the maximization of profit.





No comments:

Labels

2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar