What’s the armadillo’s shell hiding? – Brazil’s World Cup shame

Fuleco’s hidden human rights abuses

The mascot chosen for the Brazil 2014 World Cup is an armadillo, Fuleco. Fuleco is a portmanteau of the words Futebol (football) and Ecologia (Ecology), the words direitos humanos (human rights) and igualdade (equality) however escape the lips of the organizers, when choosing to name the mascot. It’s beginning to be seen why. The authorities in Rio have begun to up the ante. New draconian “anti-terror” laws have been introduced, which give police the powers to step their will however they like. This is illustrated by the fact that 6000 people over the last 2 years have disappeared (The families believing it was at will of the police). The police are also being supported and trained by western companies such as G4S, which really begs the question what do the Brazilian authorities view of the people in Brazil. The Favelas of Rio have been told to be destroyed, taking away one of the few things some of these people have, so the rest of the world doesn’t have to see the gruelling poverty. All under the disguise of a friendly armadillo.

João Tancredo a human rights activist from the DDH institute has recently spoken on the new laws introduced:“Brazil is one of the few countries that have laws for everything. So just use them. The issue is that they want tougher legislation on behalf of the World Cup. There are powerful economic groups who want to turn people off the streets, in any manifestation. To call it terrorism is huge nonsense. By this law against terrorism, they will somehow try to criminalize any movement which is working against the tide: accusing the high cost of the Cup, and instead requesting more health or more education. The aim is to criminalize any person…. Institutional acts are written by the military junta, who are elected members of the legislature.”

The abuses are clear, in the name of football and the World Cup. The same World Cup which was sold as being mostly privately funded, which turned out not to be true, with public funds used to fill the hole. The disorganization was very clear from the start, with the host cities not being chosen till late on, and the stadiums date of completion being repeatedly put further and further back. The cost of the stadiums is now in the region of £2.4bn, three times more than the figure quoted in 2007. The Manaus stadium which caused so much grief for locals and is logistically insane, looks very unlikely to be sustained after the world cup or attract any private investment. As it’s so often the case the costs have socialized and the profits have been privatized. Benefiting a few rather than the many.

Inequality is rife in Brazil

FIFA it seems is not changing it’s pretence of being oblivious to any of the mistakes or problems the monopoly has caused over the last couple of decades. The recent choices for the world cup have look questionable (Qatar 2022 being one), the repeated claims of corruption, the dictatorship of Sepp Blatter and the unwillingness to move forward with anything logical (Goal line technology etc.). It seems to be no different this time, any problems that have swept Brazil just apparently have not occurred. FIFA have happily sold their version of events to the western media and it seems they’ve bought up the sunshine and football on the beaches of Rio and not looked out their own hotel rooms, to see what lies below.

Despite the previous excitement and anticipation of the world cup coming to Brazil, the people no longer see the benefits out weighing the costs. Although no doubt they will enjoy watching the games and hope tourists bring boosts to local economies, there is a clear divide in Brazil. Which runs parallels by the long term economic inequality, the haves and the have not’s. The Brazilian people have and will pay more of the cost than anyone else and it’s clear that for a lot of Brazilians there will be no cup.

We at the Ooze however do not call for a total boycott, because of the love of the game. This article explains the acts occurring in Brazil and we want to highlight them. While the world is watching perhaps the crackdown will be quashed, but there’s no doubt there will be anger on the streets by the Brazilian people. We will continue to report and write on the world cup over the coming weeks and everything the football has to offer but we ask not to buy the rhetoric about Brazil, begin your own research on the matter. As Musa Okwonga recently said in an interview “There’s a difference between the sport and the game, the game is the people on the pitch, and the kids in the park and on the streets kicking a ball around, not the sport: the premier league, FIFA, and the billions which fall from their swine troughs”. We hope you continue to follow us throughout the world cup but stand in solidarity with the people of Brazil, remember to love the game, not the sport.


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