Friday, August 31, 2012

Reuters: Will Brazil Be Ready for the World Cup?

A recent "Reuters" article entitled "Brazil's Olympics will be fine. As for the World Cup…" contains a good overview of the challenges facing Brazil as it prepares for the Confederations Cup, the World Cup, and the Olympics.  As the article points out, other countries that have hosted the Olympics have had concerns over their level of preparation as the deadline has approached, but things are further complicated in Brazil because it is hosting three major events in a row.

The article includes quotes from an interview with Benedicto Barbosa da Silva Junior, CEO of Odebrecht's Brazil infrastructure unit.  Odebrecht is a Brazilian construction company that is heavily involved in the construction of stadiums and other projects for the events.  

Junior cites problems caused by "high costs for materials and other inputs, bureaucratic delays, limited financing options and shortages of skilled labor," as well as an infrastructure that is already overburdened.  

Some critics complain that Brazil should not have attempted to have 12 host cities for the Cup, and Junior had this to say about renovating Rio's Maracanã stadium: "We should have demolished it and then started from zero, just like (the British) did with Wembley." 

The mayor of Rio de Janeiro is quoted as saying that he's not certain if the overhaul of Rio's airport will be finished in time for the World Cup, but "for the Olympics, yeah, I think we'll have time." The article also refers to Dilma's frustration when she was attempting to talk with Lula on her cell phone, and the signal was dropped three times. Clearly, there are problems with the infrastructure.

So once again, we see the common themes of a sluggish bureaucracy, lack of skilled labor, limited financing, and underdeveloped infrastructure.  

As the article's headline implies, the consensus seems to be that Brazil will be ready for the Olympics, but there are real questions about the World Cup. Junior himself said, "Today, I'm more worried about the World Cup than I am about the Olympics." 

Source: "Brazil Portal"

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