25 October 2011

Rotten to the Core

Ok, so no one liked or got the Gangrene Cup pun. The 2014 World Cup is supposed to be the Copa Verde, playing on an erroneous perception of Brazil as a "natural paradise" while greenwashing the environmental destruction that more than two million km of air travel will wreak. So, perhaps a Shakespeare reference to get us going today, albeit an obvious one. 

There is something rotten in the State of the Copa. Not only is the government forced to create a state of exception to allow the Trojan horses of FIFA and the IOC into the country, but the people who are opening the gates are as incompetent and corrupt as the fazenderos themselves. 

Orlando Silva, who I have long criticized as an incompetent hack and an embarrassment to millions of communists both dead and alive, is struggling to keep his head above the turbulent political waters in which he suddenly finds himself. Last week, Veja (which is not so much a magazine as a blunt political instrument), published an exposé on the good minister and his shady relations with a Military Police officer that also ran some sport’s outfit sponsored by the Ministry of Sport’s Segundo Tempo program. Silva is not doing himself any favors by quoting Pablo Neruda in order to proclaim his “invincibility”, but at least he’s got a sense of humor (or is giving us a good laugh at his expense).

One of the reasons for this attack is that opposition parties are trying to get their hands on the Ministry of Sport’s top spot. The MoS has seen its budget increase by 63% in the last year, a greater percentage than any other ministry, reaching R$2,5 billion in 2011. This is likely to keep increasing as the mega-events go super nova and the state starts paying the orchestra to play even louder to drown out the screams coming from the stinking ship.

Another reason for the attack from Veja could be that Editora Abril, which publishes the rag, is an official sponsor of the 2014 World Cup. There has been open warfare between FIFA and the CBF against Silva who has failed to deliver on his promise to get World Cup legislation passed fast enough and with enough goodies for the Swiss-based gang’s pleasure. By undermining Silva’s already tenuous credibility, Veja has stimulated investigations into allegations of corruption and taken him out of FIFA’s hair. Dilma has responded by taking away Silva’s role as the primary interlocutor between the federal government and FIFA but has for the moment left him at the head of the MoS.

One of the main bones of contention between the Brazilian federal government and FIFA is so absurd as to be laughable, if it weren’t so pathetically base. In Brazil, students and kids under 12 get half-price admission to soccer games. FIFA wants to do away with this so they can make more money on ticket sales. The percentage of money FIFA makes on ticket sales for kids has to be so miniscule as to not even merit attention. This is not to even consider that most of the stadiums are probably going to be empty anyway, or that the percentage of Brazilians in the stadiums for the world up is likely to be lower than 50%. There’s also the question of beer sales but one can’t really expect national law to be respected in this regard especially as the Brazilian company AmBev owns Budweiser. In case you thought that Veja wasn’t in bed with FIFA, here’s their description of why Brazil absolutely has to give everything over to FIFA.

This is happening at the same moment that a federal inquisition is installing a commission to investigate Ricardo (Dr. Jowls) Texeira and the CBFdp.  This investigation was given some propulsion by the news that FIFA is going to give access to long-entombed Swiss court documents that will likely name Texeira and the godfather João Havelange as recipients of bribes from the FIFA/ISL scandal in the 1990s. As Andrew Jennings has long said, this is an international, organized crime family that should be treated with all of the respect and deference given to common criminals. Jennings is headed to Brasilia this week to testify before the federal commission.

No one is sure how these events are being structured. A few weeks ago at a presentation given by the Rio 2016 organizing [sic] committee a vague and confusing diagram showed international journalists just how transparent things are going to be. Carlos Nuzman, in addition to heading up the Brazilian Olympic Committee is also the president of Rio 2016, and is also the head of the Rio 2016 Executive Committee and the General Assembly. Nuzman is also trying to get the IOC age-limit rules changed so he can remain in the circles of power past his 70th birthday, the legal retirement age from IOC posts.

Sports mega-events cram Trojan Horses full of Black boxes, violating national sovereignty in order to turn public money into private profit within increasingly militarized and fragmented cities planned by public relations firms and directed by intentionally opaque and un-responsive parallel governance structures that act in the service of capital and at the expense of the citizenry. I sincerely hope that I will, one day, find evidence to the contrary. For now, that sentence sums it up. 

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