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‘C is for Corruption’: The Rio Olympics from A to Z

Wednesday 10 August 2016, by Adam Talbot

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From police killings to forced evictions and environmental destruction; the Olympic Games in Rio are cause for an alphabet soup of misery and suffering. Republished from ROAR Magazine, 26 July 2016.

A is for Anti-terrorism laws that were implemented prior to the Games. This means that political protest against the Olympics (and protest more generally) can be classified as an act of terrorism.

B is for Barra da Tijuca, which has been developed into a city of the noble elite with no space for the poor by real estate tycoon Carlos Carvalho.

C is for Corruption, with an inquiry in Rio investigating construction contracts for the Games, particularly the metro line extension.

D is for the Drugged-up athletes who will be competing in the Games, particularly from Russia, where allegations of state-sponsored doping nearly led to the country being banned from the Games.

E is for Education cuts, which have massively affected students in Rio with around 75 schools occupied in protest at underfunding, while Olympic budgets balloon.

F is for the Fiscal emergency that the State of Rio triggered in order to ensure the Olympics would be delivered — while healthcare, education and other public services are eroded.

G is for Guanabara Bay, which will host sailing events, despite being full of crap. Literally.

H is for Health cuts which mean that Rio will be officially in a healthcare emergency during the Games. In December 2015 hospitals were forced to close their doors due to insufficient funds.

I is for the Impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, as a result of which the Olympics will be opened by a man who is seen by many in Brazil as poorly disguised coup leader.

J is for the Jacarepaguá lagoon, once a source of commerce for nearby fishing communities, but now heavily polluted by development, including the main Olympic park.

K is for police Killings in Rio. Since the city won the right to host the Games, some 2,500 people have been killed by police violence — accounting for around 16% of all homicides in the city, including children as young as ten.

L is for Line 4 of the metro, which has had its opening date repeatedly delayed, and now faces a race against the clock to be operational in time to carry spectators to events.

M is for Morar Carioca the city’s program to upgrade favelas, which hasn’t been implemented — it has been promised to residents around election time as a means of gaining support, but has since been withdrawn.

N is for a Nature reserve that has been utterly destroyed in order to build a new golf course for the Games, despite Rio already having golf courses.

O is for Operation Lava Jato, the nationwide corruption probe, which continues to tear through Brazil’s elite causing political and economic instability.

P is for Pacification of Rio’s favelas, which, while successful in some places, has been disastrous in others. Some favelas are likely to be occupied by the army during the Games.

Q is for Quilombos (communities started by escaped slaves), which have lost their legal rights. The Olympic journalists’ village has been built on a slave burial site in one Quilombo.

R is for the Removals that have blighted preparations, with over 22,000 families evicted since Rio won the right to host the Games, 4,000 of which were directly caused by the Games.

S is for the Stigma with which people view favela communities, which continues to inform policymaking, leading to issues such as gentrification and police violence not being addressed.

T is for Tokyo, host of the next summer Olympics, which is already experiencing its share of these issues — this isn’t just a problem with Rio and its not going away.

U is for [Urban mobility-https://www.ciltuk.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Focus/FocusJuly2016_Rio.pdf]>, which has been eroded for the majority of Rio’s population despite investment in transport infrastructure.

V is for Vila Autódromo, a favela next to the Olympic park which has suffered from intense evictions and a climate of “psychological warfare” by the City.

W is for the Wasteland where Favela do Metro stood before it was cleared for the World Cup — still nothing has been done with the land.

X is for X-rated tourism, with spectators coming to Rio to have sex, which may involve child prostitutes as it did during Brazil’s World Cup in 2014.

Y is for Young people who live on the streets who are being bussed out of the city for the Olympics, despite the IOC’s insistence that it values youth.

Z is for Zika, which may spread with the travelers who come for the Games, leading to a global healthcare catastrophe.