17 January 2014

Incompetência Gera Violência

The 2013 Brazilian championship is still not resolved, lingering in the court system. Ricardo Texeira is lounging in a bath of saline and botox in Florida, his pilfered millions safe under Obamacare. The CBF continues to bumble along under the liver-spotted hands of José Marin, who is to institutional reform what a sewage system is to a band of Australopithecus. In the country that is about to host the most expensive World Cup of all time, there has been no attempt whatsoever to make the national sport more transparent, more accountable to fans, less abusive of tens of thousands of young men, more supportive of the women´s game (there is no national league of any kind), etc. The national championship isn´t resolved on the field. It´s not resolved off it either. Clubs are hundreds of millions in debt but money keeps pouring in from sponsors and as we get ready to kick off the state championships the prospective of Brazilian football appears as solid as Neymar´s ankle ligaments.

This excellent website has put together a collection of photos from the Confederations´ Cup, showing just how lively Coca-Cola can make an urban environment. In preparation for more of the same in 2014, the federal government, headed by the Worker´s Party since 2003, hs put together a 10,000 strong shock force to deal with protesters. These troops are being trained by the French police that use such a light hand in dealing with suburban youths. On the heels of this, the massacre in Campinas this week has once again demonstrated just how prepared and professional Brazil´s police are. When it comes to settling accounts, none better. When it comes to protecting the lives of citizens, guaranteeing their civil liberties and actually policing, none worse. Hooligans beware, this is a war zone.

The Rio city government continues to remove people with shock troops and military police. The favela do metrô has been suffering the effects of state-sponsored terrorism for several years now. Last week, the city moved to clear the rest of the people and buildings so that a parking lot for the Maracanã can be installed. Somehow, Eduardo Paes has convinced mayors around the world that he is a thoughtful, reasoned, capable administrator. All of the evidence in Rio de Janeiro is to the contrary. The recent news that the proposed TransBrasil BRT line will no longer reach the Santos Dumont Airport is yet another example of how the city is being reshaped on an ad-hoc, authoritarian basis.

As predicted, 2014 is going to be short. We have already had mass murders, massive flooding and a mass movement of poor suburban youth occupying shopping centers, exposing the latent violence, classism and racism that undergird Brazilian social relations. In March, after Carnaval, we will “celebrate” the 50th anniversary of the 1964 military coup in various ways – the old guard that is still hanging about in the corridors of power and at João Havelange´s bedside will pine for the good old days while the rest will get tear gassed in front of the Clube Militar. This will be a nice warm up for the waves of protests that will target the rise in bus fares (again), the summary executions of the poor (again), the privatization and militarization of public space (again), and the violations of human rights to ensure private accumulation (again and again). As a curmudgeonly profeta gentileza would have said: Incompetência gera Violência.

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