31 March 2010
29 March 2010
Vasguaçu torcida is getting from Miranda.
Isabela Vieira, AGÊNCIA BRASIL
Rio de Janeiro - O Brasil enfrentará desafios estruturais para a realização da Copa do Mundo de 2014. De acordo com o geógrafo da Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), Christopher Gaffney, o país caminha para a construção de elefantes brancos e demonstra falta de planejamento e de transparência nos gastos públicos. As informações constam de estudo apresentado hoje (23), durante o Fórum Social Urbano (FSU).
Segundo a pesquisa, não há controle nos gastos com a construção ou a recuperação de estádios das 12 cidades que receberão as competições. Ainda de acordo com o pesquisador, como o governo não conseguiu apoio da iniciativa privada para construção das arenas, que devem ter capacidade para 50 mil pessoas, fará aportes por meio do Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES), que destina R$ 4,8 bilhões para Copa do Mundo, sendo R$ 400 mil para cada município.
Gaffney disse também que a aplicação de dinheiro não conta com mecanismos de acompanhamento social e os orçamentos para reforma de três arenas foram extrapolados em menos de nove meses. Como exemplo, a pesquisa cita o Maracanã, no Rio, cujo orçamento inicial passou de R$ 500 milhões para R$ 600 milhões de 2009 para 2010, o Estádio do Morumbi, em São Paulo, que passou de R$ 136 milhões para R$ 240 milhões e do Estádio da Fonte Nova, em Salvador, de R$ 400 milhões para R$ 591 milhões.
O estudo questiona ainda o retorno dos investimentos governamentais na Copa, que também incluem infraestrutura urbana, transporte e benefícios fiscais. Gaffney estima que apenas para o retorno dos gastos com os estádios a ocupação das arenas deverá ser quadruplicada em relação a atual, embora os torcedores devam pagar mais pelos ingressos. Os preços passarão de R$ 20 e R$ 30 para R$ 45 e R$ 60.
"Vai ter que arranjar torcedor disposto a pagar o dobro. Isso porque têm cidades do Norte e Nordeste que não tem tradição futebolística para lotar os estádios, como foi dito aqui e isso vai ser difícil depois da Copa. Ou seja, esses estádios devem acabar se tornando uma coisa que a gente conhece bem: os elefantes brancos", afirmou o geógrafo, em referência a obras sem função social, com elevado custo de manutenção.
A pesquisa da UFF também chama atenção para o deslocamento dos torcedores no país durante a competição e alerta para o desafio da implementação de melhorias no transporte. Não há uma estrutura ferroviária ligando o país e o próprio presidente da CBF reconheceu que o problema para a Copa são os aeroportos, afirmou. Segundo o geógrafo, os R$ 6 bilhões anunciados pelo governo federal para os aeroportos são insuficientes.
22 March 2010
"...the only profit made off of any Olympic Games was Los Angeles, and in many instances cities and governments take a huge loss. I think it is no accident that Greece is now close to defaulting, is seriously in debt and has serious financial problems in part because of all of the money they had to borrow and had to utilize to get the Olympic Games which produced empty places which nobody knows now what to do with."
You heard it here first. This is not the whole of the story however. The real thrust of Harvey's argument, which is also something that I have drawn attention to in other posts, is that capitalist expansion requires ever growing markets, ideally somewhere around 3% annual growth. When the opportunities for physical expansion contract, or the imbalance of wealth prevents the majority from entering the market, ficticious markets emerge, and when those markets collapse, crisis ensues: USA junk bonds 1987, Japan 1990, Mexico 1995, Thailand 1997, South Asian Tigers late 1990s, dot com bust 2001, USA real-estate crash 2007, etc. Now, Harvey suggested, the emerging fictions of carbon trading are finding their spatial and market equivalents in the production of hollow spectacles like the Olympics and World Cup. These events are ideal from the perspective of capital accumulation in that they are in continual motion, needing to be in a constant state of production, consumption, and decline, and offer a spectacle that once consumed is placed into the dustbin of history. They also create some handy bubbles, like rampant real-estate speculation, that allow some economies to sustain higher than 3% growth while others lag behind. Natrually, this growth is unequal both spatially and socially throughout the city, and we can read within the Olympic Map, where these gross inequalities and fictious markets are going to take physical form.
21 March 2010
17 March 2010
The game ended 4-3 in favor of Botafogo, including a clear goal anulled for São Raimundo anulled by the referee with no foul or any sign of offside. People at the bars in Santarém were ripping their hair out in frustration. The global score was 4-4, with the 2009 Brazilian Serie D champions scoring 3 away goals, more than enough to see them advance under normal circumstances. In this game, which will register in the annals of football history as a mere curiostiy for only the most dedicated journalists to pour over, we can read the multiple forms of corruption and prejudice that pervade Brazilian football.
The first form is the discrimination against teams from the interior of Pará originating in the capital Belém. The PFP is dominated by representatives of Paissandu and Remo, the traditional powerhouses (relatively) of the region. A few years ago, Paissandu was playing in the Brazilian Serie A, but has since fallen into the Serie D, which a small team from Santarém just won. Remo is unherard of inthe national scene and only disputes the Cameponato Paranense, and does so relatively poorly. So it's really no surprise that São Raimundo suffers at the hands of the big (relatively) boys from the capital.
The second form is the prejudice stemming from the CBF, based in Rio and heavily influenced by the presidets of the 13 biggest clubs (known as the G-13), against teams from the north and north east of Brasil. The draws are favorable to the higher seeded teams, which are always from the south and south east. The cost of traveling is not subisdized, so São Raimundo, with a limited budget probably broke the bank in order to make a trip to Rio that they were very clearly going to lose, even if they won.
The third form of corruption came in the form of the referee, who clearly annuled a legal goal. A São Raimundo vitory would have caused signficant problems for the CBF, the refereee and the general image of the Copa do Brasil in general. Not that there aren't enough insane things happening with Brasilian footy in the run up to the World Cup.
16 March 2010
08 March 2010
‘The Red Line, the principal access to the
"The cases of violence are concentrated in the points of access. Bandits can attack motorists and flee by car or on foot. It's clear that for the police, it's much easier to put up a wall and try to catch bandits that are in a car on a flowing highway rather than if they were on foot, hiding in some alley [in a favela]."
The short article concludes by noting that "all of the walls will be painted by artists from the communities as part of the social projects that will be brought to the neighboring favelas."
The walls along Rio's principal highways will accomplish a couple of things and will not accomplish some others:
1) the barriers will block the favelas from plain view along the major routes of access between the International Airport and the Olympic Zone in Barra de Tijuca as well as to the Center and Zona Sul.
2) the barriers will further separate communites that are already divided by the highway. There are no pedestrian over or under passes.
3) once installed, the walls will generate temporary employment for a few atrists who can decorate the cage within which their community has been contained.
4) the symbolic economy of the wall will serve as a futher reminder that people living in favelas are better unseen and unheard, augmenting the stigma of living in a favela.
5) will probably reduce the chances of motorists being hit by stray bullets, but will also reduce the escape routes for motorists in the case of a arrrastão, which is a generalized mob assault on gridlocked cars.
6) eliminate or reduce the access to the highways for community residents whose primary employment is selling food and water to motorists stuck in traffic.
7) will make it less likely that bandidos who rob a car can escape into a favela, but because the walls are so low, stopping the car next to the wall will make for a very effective ladder.
These walls will not:1) significantly reduce noise levels because they are too low (bottom at right). Similar walls in the United States (top photo at right), specifically designed to reduce noise from interstate traffic are typically 7-10 meters high.
3) generate long-term employment or contribute to solving the problems of Rio de Janeiro.
The Problem with Walls
The International Court of Justice condemned the Israeli wall as a violation of international and humanitarian law, and Mexico has considered taking the United States to the IOJ over the Border Wall (though the USA does not belong to the organization, thanks Obama). Belfast was, until recently, a torrid war zone. India and Pakistan have undefined and contested frontiers. Saudi Arabia built a wall following the deteriorating security conditions in Paul Bremer's Iraq. Morocco built the "Wall of Shame" to control the mineral resources of Western Sahara. Cyprus is in a perpetual civil war. Rio de Janeiro is building walls to hide poverty from plain view. Soon, the highways of Rio de Janeiro will resemble the final scene in Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" in which an endless series of billboards isolates the road.
The idea that "good fences make good neighbors" does not apply in a geo-political context nor within the complex political and residential economy of a city as sharply divided along class and geographic lines as Rio de Janeiro.
To return to the article that brought me to this discussion it is sufficient to note that in some parts of Rio de Janeiro, walls are coming down in order to enhance the quality of life. In other parts of the city, walls are going up for very different reasons. The generalized rationale and effects of Rio's walls are the same as those in every other society that erects physical barriers in order to accent and re-enforce difference. The government's claim that these walls are meant to protect the environment or reduce noise pollution is an absurdity matched only by the lack of irony in the Brazilian media.
06 March 2010
p.s. Yesterday, during an interview with Brazil's Minister for Strategic Relations, Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, I asked whether or not the debt crisis of post-Olympic Greece might cause the Brazilian Federal Government to reconsider the strategic risk involved in R$30 billion outlay for the 2016 Games or the R$ 4.5 billion earmarked for World Cup stadium construction. Guimarães focused his response on the development of transportation infrastructure, a question that I have repeatedly drawn attention to as being criminally limited to small sections of the city. Oddly enough, the minister danced around the question until arriving at the point where he retorically asked, "Why would President Obama have gone to
02 March 2010
the Olympic Games to