Behind shiny gold metals lies the untold horrors faced by many locals of Rio de Janeiro.
The glamour of the Olympics is not a thornless rose. Behind the beautiful skyline vignettes and patriotic tourist shots is a scene not yet captured on television. It is a scene of the corrupt reality for several locals who find themselves sacrificed by their own governments.
The $240 billion allocated for the Olympics has been funneled towards infrastructure, housing, and other projects to meet the International Olympics Committee Standards. The combination of increased taxes and governmental spending cuts may result in an entertaining show for foreign viewers, but it directly damages the locals.
1.5 million of Rio’s residents live in Favelas, Brazilian slums. While these areas have become safer during recent years, the number of these Favelas has dramatically increased. Research done by the Seven Pillars Institute examined the implications of heightened tourism and outside investment. Historical analysis indicates that profits rarely benefit the public; instead, the money goes directly to investors and shareholders. Yes, infrastructure has improved, but this development is irregular and typically only favors construction corporations and wealthy residents. Teachers and professors are unpaid, and government officials have prioritized medicine for wealthy tourists, making it inaccessible for locals.
Marie Auxiliadora, a resident of a Favella outside of downtown Rio de Janeiro, shared her thoughts on the Olympics in an interview with the New York Times.
“I have not gotten my retirement check for a month. Our hospitals and schools are broken. Shooting every day, and they spend all of our money on this Olympics. The rich play, and we die.”
Her words reveal the distinction between the glorified version of Rio portrayed by the media, and the decaying product of the Olympics- the modern epitome of the Theatre State. This exploitation of Brazilian residents has become an industry. Media outlets make billions of dollars off of the false sense of the city. Even investigations into this corruption has become an opportunity for more elites to capitalize on wrongdoings.
While the Olympics is a special occasion and certainly worthy of celebration, it is naïve to neglect the effect on Brazilians.
- Copyright: Fernanda Kairys