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12 Brazilians Tell Us What They Really Think About The Olympics

"I am against the Games within the current Brazilian context; I don’t think we should host it,” one citizen says.
Banners hang on a structure at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilians are conflicted about their country
Banners hang on a structure at the Olympic Equestrian Centre in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilians are conflicted about their country hosting the Olympic Games this summer, given its economic and political difficulties. 

Brazil is about to host the biggest event in its history, but its people are not nearly as excited as they could have been. Approximately two in every three Brazilians believe that hosting the 2016 Olympic Games will do Brazil more harm than good, a survey recently conducted by Datafolha showed.

The road to the Olympics — which will finally kick off in Rio de Janeiro on Friday — has been paved with major financial and political turmoil. A Zika outbreak and a political crisis that resulted in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff have formed a worrying backdrop to Olympic preparations.

What’s more, an unfolding corruption scandal at the state-run oil company Petrobras and falling oil prices have drained the host state’s accounts so much that its governor Francisco Dornelles pleaded for emergency federal funds earlier this summer.

Many Brazilians are struggling to reconcile the massive investment in the Games — including $11 billion worth of infrastructure and Olympic venues — with the country’s deep recession and economic woes. A couple of cars on Rio de Janeiro’s new rail system were spray-painted in the weeks leading up to the Games with revealing messages: “Fancy Transportation. Trashy Hospitals. What kind of country is that?”

HuffPost Brazil spoke to citizens about concerns and expectations surrounding the upcoming Games.

  • "Rio 2016, Indignation"
    <i><strong>Danillo, marketing professional</strong><br></i><br>"I am outraged at the fact that they are spending money on th
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Danillo, marketing professional

    "I am outraged at the fact that they are spending money on the Olympic Games when our health care and educational systems are in such poor conditions."
  • "Build the arches of education in the country! Only then will the world's love overcome the love of power!"
    <strong><i>Gilmar Melo Jr., teacher and salesman</i></strong><br><br>"We should strengthen the cultural and educational secto
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Gilmar Melo Jr., teacher and salesman

    "We should strengthen the cultural and educational sectors before building the Olympic arches. I view the Olympics as a ridiculous endeavor. I hate them, I despise them. I think everything will go wrong ... I hope everything goes wrong. I believe we have other priorities, many other priorities ... I don't even know where to start.”
  • "Hypocrisy"
    <strong><i>M&aacute;rcia, nurse</i></strong><br><br>"Hypocrisy. There&rsquo;s so much going on in the country. The rising pri
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Márcia, nurse

    "Hypocrisy. There’s so much going on in the country. The rising price of beans, the killing of an endangered species during the stupid torch event in Brazil, public hospitals in need of medicine, and yet so much money is spent on the Games ... This is too much hypocrisy."
  • "It could be better"
    <i><strong>Vitor Tonioli, administrative assistant</strong></i><br><br>"Rio de Janeiro was incapable of providing the necessa
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Vitor Tonioli, administrative assistant

    "Rio de Janeiro was incapable of providing the necessary resources so that things could work properly ... When I read the news, for instance, on foreign delegations having to spend their own money to buy materials, I feel ashamed and I don't know what to expect. The media will certainly find a way to hide the negative aspects and only show the pretty stuff, but I am sure that lots of tourists will get mugged; there will be a lot of violence."
  • "Wrong"
    <i><strong>&nbsp;Vit&oacute;ria, housewife, and her daughter Coraci<br></strong></i><br>"It's very complicated. I am not agai
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
     Vitória, housewife, and her daughter Coraci

    "It's very complicated. I am not against the Olympic Games, you know? I am against the Games within the current Brazilian context; I don't think we should host it."
  • "We are not prepared"
    <strong><i>Nina, high school student</i></strong><br><br>"I don&rsquo;t have&nbsp;much of an opinion on&nbsp;the event, but I
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Nina, high school student

    "I don’t have much of an opinion on the event, but I think that we are not prepared to receive all the people that are coming to the Games, especially with the political crisis we are going through right now ... And it's clear that there is a lot that’s yet to be completed ...The subway system, other means of transportation ... We are not ready."
  • "Wrong investment"
    <i><strong>David Bogdanski, biology student at the University of S&atilde;o Paulo</strong></i><br><br>"I think it is the wron
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    David Bogdanski, biology student at the University of São Paulo

    "I think it is the wrong kind of investment, because the money should not have been spent on that. The Olympics should have taken place somewhere else, and the money should have been invested in education ... USP, for instance, where I study, has lots of problems: There is a lack of money, people are dissatisfied, and there is no solution in the near future."
  • "I love this country, and I hope that everything works out fine"
    <strong><i>Ana L&uacute;cia Junqueira, teacher</i></strong><br><br>"I hope that everything works out fine. I am a little asha
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Ana Lúcia Junqueira, teacher

    "I hope that everything works out fine. I am a little ashamed by the fact that some of the infrastructure is not ready yet. I’m embarrassed by the position of Eduardo Paes (Rio's mayor) -- in failing to recognize his errors and making jokes about kangaroos and the Australian delegation. I know it is a huge event, but we are a wonderful country. I hope the security forces are alert, there have been some minor incidents and these crazy amateurs are now afraid to act and hopefully they won't do anything to disrupt the event. I love this country and I hope that everything works out fine; I want to watch the games and I am looking forward to a lot of medals won by the Brazilian athletes."
  • "Failure"
    <i><strong>Luciana Melo, journalist</strong></i><br><br>"I think we have other priorities, right? Brazil is in a 'party mood.
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Luciana Melo, journalist

    "I think we have other priorities, right? Brazil is in a 'party mood.' I don't mean to offend the political parties or the government, I'm a public servant, but I will still not condone this event. I don't approve of it, just as I didn't approve of the FIFA World Cup, which was a failure. There is no way I will follow these Olympic Games."
  • "You don't receive guests with an untidy house"
    <strong><i>Isaac, office assistant</i></strong><br><br>"I don't think it is a positive thing, considering the fact that the c
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Isaac, office assistant

    "I don't think it is a positive thing, considering the fact that the country is in such bad condition and all. We shouldn't host one of the world's biggest events with an 'untidy house,' right? Everybody thinks it's a wonderful thing to host the Olympics, but it actually isn't. Brazil is currently something to be ashamed of abroad ... The tourists that will come to Brazil -- if they do come -- will experience a chaotic country, where there is a growing sense of impunity, no decent public transportation system, and no proper infrastructure to host this event."
  • "Why, Brazil? Why do you welcome those who are coming and not those who already live here?"
    <strong><i>Giovani, digital marketing professional</i></strong><br><br>"The Olympic Games certainly have positive and negativ
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Giovani, digital marketing professional

    "The Olympic Games certainly have positive and negative aspects. Among the positive ones are the promises of a great economic return for the country. The negative side is that, like in the World Cup, the promises probably won't be fulfilled. Back then, they said the country would experience a big development, but what we saw was a downfall. So doubts linger over the actual importance of the Olympics for the country. We know it will cost us money, but we are not yet certain if it will bring an economic return."
  • "Globalization"
    <i><strong>Camilo Correa, physics Ph.D. student at University of S&atilde;o Paulo</strong></i><br><br>"I think it is somethin
    Andre Murched/HuffPost Brazil
    Camilo Correa, physics Ph.D. student at University of São Paulo

    "I think it is something incredible that will be good for Brazil and for Latin America. Regarding terrorism, the situation complicated for Brazil and for the world. We should be concerned and alert, but I believe the event will be a positive thing."

This piece originally appeared on HuffPost Brazil and has been translated into English.

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