Forty years on, the valley is not for everyone anymore. As with everything else in the mega event, the FIFA Fan Fest thrives in the concept of a VIP space, where people are left out if they're not inside avidly consuming. That's the concept of a city that FIFA is promoting. It's like it's crying out loudly over and over again: "No, this is not a public space -- and the World Cup is definitely not a public event."
Many people have been and still are dumbfounded by the dissatisfaction of a large part of the Brazilian people with the 2014 World Cup: how come the country of soccer, where almost anyone carries a story of passion for this sport, is protesting against its major event? Between the devotion for the ball and the general discontentment, what has been lost?
To pretend that this issue -- which is at the core of today's digital geopolitics and of the American upper hand over the Internet -- does not exist is like not seeing the white elephant in the living room. Any attempt to advance the debate without addressing their situation will be a farce. That's why I, like thousands of Brazilians, ask: President Dilma, do offer asylum for Edward Snowden and offer Brazilian diplomacy to mediate the negotiations between the U.K. and Ecuador, so that Julian Assange can enjoy the asylum he has been granted by our neighboring country at last.
SAO PAULO -- Brazil's House of Representatives has passed a genuine Internet "Bill of Rights," which was unanimously approved by the senate and signed into law by President Dilma Rousseff last week -- much to the delight of civil-society advocates. The legislation, widely described as an Internet constitution, seeks to safeguard online freedom of expression and limit government collection and usage of Internet users' metadata. The bill ensures "net neutrality" (meaning that Internet service providers must treat all information and users equally), and subjects global companies, such as Google and Facebook, to Brazilian law and precedent in cases involving its own citizens.
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.
April 1st marked the 50th anniversary of the military coup that installed a 21-year long dictatorship in Brazil. Along with the repressive practices, censorship, torture, extermination and disappearance of oppositors, the military regime was responsible for an institutional architecture that remains in some areas of Brazilian society. One of the most flagrant legacy of the dictatorship is the widespread practice of police abuse - Brazilian Police is responsible for 2,000 deaths every year according to Amnesty International.
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.