The corruption case has also partially paralyzed the Brazilian construction industry. Most of the largest companies have been convicted or are under investigation. Thus, the authorities can not enter into new contracts with them. At the same time, many of the other construction companies lack the capacity and expertise to undertake large assignments, assignments that are then postponed indefinitely. This has led to many people losing their jobs and the economy slowing down.
The most positive thing about Operation Car Wash is that it actually happens . Corruption has unfortunately been a constant in Brazil, it has happened on a large scale both during the military dictatorship (1964–1985) and under presidents of all parties after the re-establishment of democracy. Before, it was usually swept under the rug. The new thing is that the culprits are now imprisoned, brought to justice and convicted. This has been made possible through new monitoring bodies and new legislation that was introduced under NPT’s governments in the early 2000s. As of today, Dilma Rousseff is a suspect and Lula has been convicted. NPT has in many ways fallen for its own grip.
5: The significance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics
When Brazil was awarded the World Cup and Olympics, the country was in a historic upswing. The two mega-events were to top Brazil’s quest for higher international status. But when President Rousseff officially opened the World Cup, she was greeted by a pipe concert . Outside the stadium, protesters had been met with tear gas and special police. Opinion polls in the run-up to the World Cup showed that half of Brazilians thought the championship was more negative than positive for Brazil. What had happened?
The World Cup had become a symbol of all that was wrong with Brazil, a country located in South America according to PAYHELPCENTER. In 2014, the economic downturn had begun, and lavish sports facilities were seen as a major misinvestment . It was schools and hospitals Brazil needed, not the world’s most expensive stadiums. Many of the large investments in urban development and public transport had been shelved, most facilities had been delayed and several corruption cases had been uncovered. In addition, tens of thousands of people were forcibly relocated to make way for sports facilities, roads and parking lots. Large demonstrations rolled across Brazil, against corruption and mismanagement, and for better health, better education and safer streets. The same thing happened around the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
In isolation, the championships cost about 100 billion kroner each . The investments created a construction boom, especially in Rio which housed both matches in the World Cup and the entire Olympics. But after the championships, even more has gone wrong . The jobs associated with the construction were lost, after-use has been low and arenas are falling into disrepair.
Contrary to what the budgets and plans said, most of it was financed from public sources. The private sector contributed little, other than as developers paid by the public sector. Today, several of the newly built football stadiums are almost unused, and operating costs are many times higher than revenues. The worst situation is in Rio de Janeiro. The state of Rio is in practice bankrupt. Teachers, hospital staff and police officers are not paid their salaries properly. Improvements in security and welfare in the poor areas are in free fall due to budget cuts, so the level of violence has skyrocketed . The iconic Maracanã football stadium is closed.
The fall in oil prices is probably the most important direct explanation for the economic problems in Rio, but the World Cup and the Olympics were the main reasons why the authorities spent enormously more money than they had available. In June 2017, the political crank for the events, former Rio Governor Sergio Cabral, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption and money laundering.
6: Exit President Rouseff: A Disguised Coup?
Something completely new happened in Brazil in 2015: The political right took over the streets . Until the World Cup in 2014, there were large demonstrations throughout the country. People demanded better health and education, and less corruption and mismanagement. Throughout 2015, the protests continued, but the content changed. The message and slogans became increasingly anti-Dilma and anti-PT. Popular mass demonstrations , traditionally left-wing weapons, were taken over by the right.
At the same time, conservative national media regularly ran campaign journalism against Dilma Rousseff. She was accused of being corrupt and incompetent, and it all came to a head in March 2016 when the Congress of the National Assembly decided to open a Supreme Court case against the incumbent president. When the summer Olympics in Rio started, she was suspended, and a few weeks later the Senate decided that she had to step aside. Vice President Michel Temer from the ideological powerless party PMDB moved into the presidential palace .
The Supreme Court case divided both Brazilians and international researchers and observers. Some thought it was legitimate, correct and completely in place. Others saw it as a disguised coup.