No Major Effect

Paulo Sotero – The Cipher Brief, 08/05/2016

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – starting today – had the potential to boost Brazil’s international image. Director of the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and Brazil native, Paulo Sotero, tells The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder that this was always an exaggeration. However, he says the Games are somewhat of a missed opportunity.

TCB: If the Olympic Games in Brazil go well – that is, if there are no major security breaches and if the competitions run smoothly – what will this do for Brazil’s international image? And, conversely, if the Games don’t go well, what will be the effect?

Paulo Sotero: I think in either scenario it will not have a major effect. If things go reasonably well, people will understand that this is what happens in major sporting events globally. Before, there’s always a tendency to exaggerate or highlight the negatives: that the country’s not ready, that the venues will not be ready in time, and that the country has various negative aspects. And then, when you come closer to the events, people realize that what needed to be ready was, in fact, ready.

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Rio succumbed to the Olympic spirit when the torch landed — but not for long

Dom Phillips – The Washington Post, 08/03/2016

With samba dancers, drumming and a heavy police presence, the Olympic torch landed in Rio on Wednesday morning amid signs that many in the city are finally beginning to succumb to the spirit of the games.

The good mood didn’t last long.

The day started with smiles and ended with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in an outlying town. Along the way, a torch carrier bared his buttocks in a novel protest against Brazil’s unpopular interim president, Michel Temer.

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Golden Lion Tamarins Carry the Olympic Torch in Rio de Janeiro

tamarin

The Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center salutes Andreia Martins and the team that helped her carry the Olympic torch in Rio on behalf and in honor of those who contributed to save the Golden Lion Tamarins and continue to work to preserve this beautiful monkey. Native of Brazil, the Golden Lion Tamarins were saved from extinction in the 1980s by an exemplary collaboration between Brazilian and American scientists, environmentalist and concerned citizens.

We take this this opportunity to celebrate de memory of Dr. Devra Kleiman (1942-2010), an American scientist and pioneer in the field of Conservation Biology, and of honor Dr. Adelmar Coimbra Filho, (1924-2016), a leading Brazilian primatalogist, who died last June at 92. In the 1980s, Kleiman and Coimbra Filho led the effort to reproduce the Brazil born Golden Lion Tamarins in captivity at the Smithsonian Institution Washington National Zoo. The animals, which remain on the endangered species list, where successfully reintroduced in their habitat of Mata Atlântica’s Poço das Antas, North of Rio, in the early 1990s.

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As ISIS Posts in Portuguese, U.S. and Brazil Bolster Olympics Security

Simon Romero, Michael S. Schmidt – 08/01/2016

Worried about possible terrorist attacks at theOlympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s government is working closely with American law enforcement and intelligence services to identify threats and thwart potential disasters at the Games.

Despite its notorious battles with violent crime, Brazil has largely been spared the kind of brazen terrorist attacks that have rattled much of the world in recent years, with Brazilian officials long playing down the nation’s vulnerability to homegrown extremism.

But jihadists are calling for mayhem at the Olympics, building on a wave of killings in Europe, the United States and elsewhere over the last year, including the massacre of 130 people in Paris and “lone wolf” attacks inspired by the Islamic State, that has raised broad fears about Brazil’s security preparations for the Games.

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Olympics meant to showcase Brazil’s emergence, now spotlight its collapse

Andrew O’Reily – Fods News Latino, 08/02/2016

Seven years ago when Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced that Rio de Janeiro would host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games on the city’s famed Copacabana beach, there was the feeling in the air that something momentous was about to happen in the South American nation.

Lula promised Brazilians that the Olympics and the 2014 World Cup would showcase the country as an emerging power on the world stage that could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of the United States, Western Europe and Russia.

For Brazil, he suggested that day in 2009, the sky was the limit.

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Hey World, Let’s Cut Brazil Just a Little Slack

Brian Winter – Americas Quarterly, 08/01/2016

After being kidnapped by uniformed police in Rio on the eve of the Olympic Games, a young New Zealander proclaimed on Facebook that Brazil “is well and truly f***ed in every sense of the word imaginable.” Many others agreed, from the Australian athletes who arrived in their dorms to find overflowing toilets (and a fire, and then thieves) to Brazilians themselves, 63 percent of whom believe the Games will cause more harm than good to their country. Indeed, if there’s just one thing in this crazy polarized world that Trump-bashers and Hillary-haters, Sunnis and Shiites, and Argentines and Brazilians could seemingly agree on right now, it’s that, man, it sure would be nice to have a do-over on the site of the 2016 Olympics.
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Some predict the angst will pass once the events actually begin, although there are reasons to be skeptical of this. Because unfortunately, there’s no way to paper over Rio’s problems, which are also for the most part Brazil’s problems. Visitors will be mugged; athletes may get sick; fans may be stranded because of lousy logistics. But at the risk of being shouted down by an army of freshly pickpocketed, sewage-soaked sailors, I propose that everyone cut Brazil just a tiny bit of slack during these next few weeks. Why? Because its main sin in hosting these Olympics was a sin of ambition – and that is precisely the kind of sin the global community should be most willing to forgive.

To explain, let me briefly take you back to 2009, when Rio won the right to host these games. As everyone knows, Brazil was in the middle of a long economic boom that lifted 40 million people out of poverty, put the country on the cover of The Economist, yada yada yada. Even then, it was clear that hosting an Olympics in a democracy in the developing world – arguably for the first time – would bring unique challenges. There would be no “magic” ability to sweep away protesters, pollution or environmental permits for efficiency’s sake, as Beijing had done at the previous year’s Summer Games.
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Rio readies for worst as terror threat hangs over Olympics

Mauricio Savarese, Joshua Goodman – AP, 07/28/2016

A half-million foreign tourists, dozens of heads of state and the attention of the world’s media. If there were ever a headache for anti-terror forces, it’s the Olympics.

In the aftermath of deadly attacks by the Islamic State group in France and elsewhere, Brazil, which has almost no experience combatting terrorism, is beefing up security for the games that start in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5. Plans include doubling the number of security forces on the streets, erecting more checkpoints and working closer with foreign intelligence agencies than Brazilians did in the 2014 World Cup.

But will it be enough?

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