Hey all. I've been busy with work and going out with my friend but I had to put this post up tout suite.
Yesterday, FIFA announced that Brazil will be the host for the 2014 World Cup. What exactly does this mean for Brazil?
Today on the front page of Globo News, the following was the lead for the main story about the decision (my translation).
"Brazil has conquered what every country in the world can only dream of; the privilege to host the greatest spectacle of our time: the World Cup. Thanks to Ricardo Teixeira, president of the CBF (Brazilian National Football Organization), Brazil was the only candidate and will now be the host in 2014, after the TRAUMA of 1950 (when Brazil lost the Cup on home territory). But the challenge is only beginning: the country has 7 years to reconstruct the airport system, make safer roadways, fix subways in the major cities, and build trains between state capitals, and of course, modernize all the stadiums....President Lula said that this will be "such a great World Cup that not even an Argentine will be able to criticize.""
Related articles discussed more details, like the fact that the Cup will take place in 18 cities all over Brazil (even in the Amazon), though the largest stadium is Rio's Maracana, that fits over 85, 000 people. Brazil plans to spend around $6 billion on preparations for the Cup, but also will have to spend somewhere around $9 billion on a train line from Rio to Sao Paulo. They had a one-page map of the stadiums and showed their shape and how many people they fit, and my favorite stadium is in Natal (which means Christmas in Portuguese) which is shaped like a star.
But what other implications does this have for Brazil? It means the government spending billions on infrastructure, which will ultimately benefit the country but will divert much-needed funds from social programs and funding. It means all eyes will be on Brazil, despite little hope of a change in levels of poverty, inequality, and violence. And finally, if Brazil loses on home territory again, it would be an actual national tragedy, just like in 1950, which would have reverberations on all possible levels of Brazilian life.
Celebration on the announcement at the Cristo
Today I had 5 classes, and Eli helped my friend around Ipanema and then she wandered around the city and thankfully found the restaurant where we met for dinner, the famous pizza rodizio place, which luckily she loved! I'm glad she's good at being independent because I have to work today and tomorrow. But Friday is a holiday so I will be free! Last night we went out to a funky bar in Botafogo, where my friend had a drink called a "Technicolor" that was 5 bright, vivid separate colors before she drank it.
Today on the bus to Barra there were 4 women who didn't know each other all having very intense conversations, like they were good friends. This is totally normal here, and though I find it a little weird, I think it's so sweet, and sometimes makes me feel like I'm amidst a big extended family.
Also today one of my students told me she'd just finished Marley and Me in Portuguese, which she absolutely loved. But she said to me, "One of the things I noticed was the way they live. It's just so different from how we live here. It's like another world." Things like being able to buy a house, buy lots of things, being able to switch jobs that will still allow you to live well, and to have a family that heads onto this same track is something that is just not a reality for most Brazilians, even of the middle class.
Well congratulations Brazil. Here's to 2014!
Here is the official BBC article about the announcement.