19 August 2013

São Sebastião and his pet monkey

It is a lovely day in Rio.

Marcio Fortes might be on the beach in Barra de Tijuca after resigning his position as the head of the Autoridade  Publico Olimpico (APO). Fortes, who has run a handful of Brazilian ministries since the beginning of time, handed in his resignation to Dilma citing “personal reasons.” Remember, the dispute for the top spot at the APO was a little confusing as Brazeel`s power figures tried to figure out where the power within the Olympic Games organizing apparatus lay. After Forte`s resignation, Mayor Breads (Paes) called the APO expensive and unnecessary. That may be true, but the Lord Mayor also affirmed that he was not going to cede control over the construction of the Olympic City to anyone. The overlapping extra-governmental structures are confusing and inefficient at best, but what is really going on is a political power play that has paid off nicely for Paes. As I pointed out in 2011, just putting together the APO cost around 22 million.

FIFA is back in Brazil to ask and answer questions. One of the major questions they will have to answer is regarding the price gouging that World Cup hotel operators are engaging in. The FIFA hospitality group MATCH, owned by Blatter`s nephew, has contracts with Brazilian hotels for the World Cup. These hotels, a recent report demonstrated, are elevating their prices by as much as 500% for the tournament. A paradigm of managerial opacity, MATCH continually wins contracts for the World Cup and has been involved in numerous scandals. Did I mention that it is run by a relative of the FIFA president? The average cost for a hotel room in Rio de Janeiro during the World Cup will be US$460. Save those shekels!

This weekend the Comite Popular took the fight for social justice to the Mayor`s residence in the Alto de Boa Vista. Protests are abundant but it appears that some people do not like to have their daily routines interrupted by the dissatisfied. Predictably, OBobo has published an op-ed lamenting the incomodos of the manifestations, saying that  “nothing was left undestroyed” by the righteously indignant. The argument is that manifestations have their place, but not if they actually disrupt life as it is. Truly, this is neither Istanbul nor Cairo.

And finally, a photo that says more than a thousand words. This book is an apologia for the transformation of Brazilian football culture into an aseptic exercise in consumption. The empty stadium is symbolic and emblematic of the myriad elements of this transformation that I have been cataloguing here for years.

However, in the bottom right corner of the picture is the banner that is in the second photo, which I took from the press area. I am not sure there is too much to be read into this but it was refreshing to see that even slick apologists cannot avoid reality. 

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