Archive for May, 2014

Brazil: A bitter cup

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Brazil[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for May 29, 2014. See original here and related articles here , here  and here.]

By Rodrigo Vianna

The greatest soccer event in the world is coming back to Brazil after more than 60 years. Memories of the 1950 World Cup, when we were defeated by Uruguay right in the Maracaná Stadium, remain in the popular imagery. When FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association] chose Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, euphoria filled a large part of the Brazilian populace: Would this be the time to raise the cup at home? If there was a shadow of a doubt from a technical point of view over our team’s ability for such an accomplishment, from the political point of view holding the World Cup here seemed a conquest, a mark of the “Brazil of the Future.”

Meanwhile, the apparent unanimity surrounding this event began to sour with the activities in June of last year when thousands of people protested across from the stadiums where the Confederations Cup matches [a FIFA-sponsored tournament held the year before the World Cup] were held. Since then, the Cup has been in the headlines. On the one hand, calls for protests against the Cup; on the other, all the TV publicity by the sponsoring companies, in the tune of the Cup. But will there be a World Cup or not? There seem to be only two sides to this dispute: you either defend the Cup, FIFA, the government, the state, or you are against them: against the Cup, against the team, against Brazil. This is what false questions do: they lead us to false dilemmas. (more…)

Brazil: Why some in São Paulo hate the World Cup

Monday, May 26th, 2014

xcrowd2[Translation of an article from Folha de São Paulo for May 25, 2014. See original here and an op-ed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defending the World Cup here.]

by Rafael Andery

In spite of 1958. In spite of 1962. Of 1970 and 1994. Of 2002. In spite of Pelé and Garrincha, of Bebeto and Romário, of Ronaldo and Rivaldo. In spite of the “homeland of the soccer shoe” and of Nelson Rodrigues. In spite of Neymar and of all the other stars, many natives of São Paulo are not even a little interested in the performance of the Brazilian team in the World Cup.

The reasons for the indifference vary. From high rents to contempt for the commercialization of soccer, to aversion for the sport or the costs imposed by the organizers of the event, the truth is that a little less than a month before the opening of the Cup in Itaquerão, in the eastern area, the competition does not seem to be creating as much excitement as did previous editions. (more…)

The World is in Brazil

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures during a ceremony with rural workers at Planalto Palace in BrasiliaThe country is ready, on and off the playing field, to hold a good World Cup – and it will

[Translation of an op-ed from the Brazilian edition of the Spanish newspaper El País for May 14, 2014. See original here and an article on opposition to the World Cup here.]

By Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

When I was president of the republic I worked hard for the 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil. And I didn’t do it for economic or political reasons but for what soccer represents to people everywhere and, especially, to the Brazilian people. Our people supported the idea enthusiastically, rejecting the elitist notion of those who say that an event of this magnitude “is something for rich countries,” forgetting that Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Brazil itself have already hosted it successfully.

Soccer is the only truly universal sport, played and loved in every country, by people of the most diverse classes, ethnicities, cultures and religions.

And perhaps no other country in the world has its identity so closely linked with soccer as Brazil does. It was not only assimilated but, in some ways, it was also transformed by ginga and by the Brazilian mixture of races. A new rhythm, beauty and art came to the feet of the descendents of Africans. For many years, it was one of the few areas, along with popular music, in which Black people could demonstrate their talent, countering racial discrimination with liberating joy. It is for this very reason that soccer and music are often the first things foreigners remember when Brazil is being talked about. (more…)

Brazil: Every month a child or adolescent dies at work

Friday, May 23rd, 2014


((O Globo photo))

((O Globo photo))

[Translation of an article from O Globo of Rio de Janeiro for May 18, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Cássia Almeida, Clarice Spitz, Flavio Ilha and Roberta Scrivano

 Rio de Janeiro, Novo Hamburgo and Belo Horizonte – Last March 5, 14-year-old Max Fernandes Ritzel dos Santos was on his first day of work at a construction site in the city of São Leopoldo, in Rio Grande do Sul. While working at a cement mixer, without using protective gear, he was electrocuted.

“It was just a small bare wire but the shock stopped his heart. I am proud to know that he died working and not at the hands of some policeman or trafficker. Just as God knows when to put us here on earth, he also knows when to take us back,” cries his mother, Roseli Ritzel, who still owes 1,300 reais [about US$590] for her child’s burial. (more…)

Honduras: Juan Orlando Hernández’s first 100 days

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

johPoverty, crime and corruption are still the main problems for the Central American country

[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo, Brazil, for May 7, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

by Giorgio Trucchi

This May 7, the administration of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández celebrates its first 100 days. And it is time to take stock. JOH received the presidential sash after the TSE (Tribunal Supremo Electoral) confirmed him officially as winner of the elections of November 24 of last year, with almost eight percentage points more than Xiomara Castro, wife of former President Manuel Zelaya and candidate for the Libre Party (Libertad y Refundación), the electoral arm of the popular resistance movement against the 2009 coup d’état that removed Zelaya from office.

Concerning the official results and the immediate international recognition, Xiomara Castro termed the win by the ruling party candidate a “monstrous fraud,” challenging the impartiality of the electoral authorities, denouncing a series of irregularities in the vote count and in the transmission of vote tallies and refusing to recognize the results and the legitimacy of JOH as the new president of Honduras. (more…)