Interesting to see Rio 2016 as front page news. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/19/2016-olympics-rio-de-janeiro-brazil-destruction.
Rio Mayor, Eduardo Paes, is apparently using the Olympics to ‘supercharge development’. No change there, then, given that the first Olympic Games that made this an explicit aim was Rome in 1960.
‘Rio and the organising committee say they are focusing on efficiency, legacy and entertainment rather than scale, grandeur and cost. The budget of 38.2bn reais (£7.9bn) is slightly lower than that of London and well below that of Beijing.’
To gloss the official Rio 2016 press, The Guardian focuses on the stories of individuals. This is not an unfamiliar approach and the stories presented in this piece could almost have come from Vancouver or London. The Guardian interviews a builder, a favela resident threatened with eviction but resisting forced relocation, an environmental activist speaking out against the destruction of the Atlantic Forest and the Olympics as ‘real estate scam’, a police officer, an anarchist who points to the Olympics as a manifestation of state and corporate violence, a samba-dancing street cleaner who may or may not be the official ‘happy face’ of the Games, a civil servant who hopes that the Games will generate more cultural tolerance in Brazil, Olympic athlete turned executive director of sport in the organising committee, Agberto Guimarães, Paralympian Rosinha Dos Santos and, finally, taxi driver Wladmir Holmer Baltar. Their positions vis a vis the Games are not unexpected and the tales they tell of spectacle, party, property, eviction and ‘regeneration’, self-actualisation are the stuff of all Games.
I’m interested to read more the the detail that makes these Games specifically Brazilian. The contracts, the buildings regulations, the media commissioning. The impact of the Games tends to fall into a transnational template. But the processes all have very specific national and global corporate configurations.