Protests in Brazil Probably Won't Stop the World Cup

In 1982, with a newly elected president who had promised to support the endeavor during his campaign, the group of Colombian entrepreneurs sent 33 tons of promotional material to be distributed during the World Cup in Spain. As the Italians raised the trophy and the competition reached its end, however, it was clear that FIFA, led by Brazilian Joao Havelange, no longer viewed the country as a viable option. That November, Colombian President Belisario Betancur announced that Colombia would not host event. The fact that Gabriel García Márquez had just won the Nobel Prize in Literature helped to soften the blow.

"At that time, the Colombian government was experiencing a tough fiscal situation and a delicate monetary one, and they realized it wasn't the right time to commit to the investments that the World Cup required," Urrutia said.

The situation with Brazil is fairly different. When the country submitted their candidacy to host the competition in December 2006, they were in a very good economic position. The country's GDP grew by 4 percent that year, and by 6.1 in 2007, according to the World Bank. Everyone was talking about Latin America's waking giant, one of the eight largest economies in the globe, and how the government of Lula Da Silva had managed to promote economic growth while aggressively fighting poverty and inequality.

Today, as the world watches the protests at the Confederations Cup, Brazil's economic forecasts are disappointing. Growth expectations have been lowered by most agencies, and inflation, now at 6.5 percent, has become a new source of anxiety.

The economic downturn partly explains the scope of the demonstrations, which have now garnered the support of figures that one would have expected to be in favor of the World Cup.

"So much violence," Brazilian soccer and former Barcelona star Rivaldo tweeted. "We don't have the conditions to host a World Cup, we do not need that, we need education and health."

Similar complaints have come from other Brazilian soccer icons like Romario and Neymar, offering protesters even more reasons to defy authorities.

The Brazilian government has said that it will send national security forces to five cities to stop the demonstrations. The U.N., meanwhile, has called on Brazil to guarantee the right to protest and assemble peacefully, and for an investigation of reported police brutality.

FIFA, as usual, has conceitedly responded to the situation. "They shouldn't use soccer for their demands," Joseph Blatter, FIFA's president, told Brazilian newspaper O Globo. "Brazil asked for the World Cup. We didn't impose it on them."

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