As Wikileaks documents showed back in 2010, the U.S. has vamped up its assistance on anti-terrorism for the World Cup because it saw a right risk of danger -- and also a great business opportunity for its companies. However, opaqueness surrounds this support; the total investment of the U.S. embassy in the training was only revealed now -- U.S.$ 2,2 million over the past 2 years. The deal was never publicized in full, and many questions remain. The Ministry of Justice is yet to explain for instance, how many courses were funded by the U.S., and who were the trainers -- U.S. military? Mercenaries? And more importantly: in a country with a poignant track record of police torture and abuse, and no history of terrorism-related activities, is this the kind of training our police should be getting?
The story of 60-year-old builder Altair Antunes Guimarães from Rio de Janeiro, illustrates a "collateral effect" of the mega-events in Rio that has fallen under the radar lately. With the first kick getting nearer -- less than 60 days now! -- people seem to have forgotten the thousands of families who at some point faced eviction to give way for the enlargement, improvement, or establishment of infrastructure for the 1-month tournament. The feeling is that the battles are lost to the construction companies, who indeed profited immensely during the construction of the stadiums -- and that families have by now resigned to leave their homes.
Foreigners often ask why Brazilians are so critical of the World Cup if they are so crazy about football. But that's exactly the reason. Every kid in Brazil plays football as soon as he or she is old enough to kick a ball, and Brazilians are much more into discussing football than politics. It's such a part of our culture that the World Cup is having a much more profound impact over us than any other society.