Dave Zirin on the World Cup You Won’t See on TV: Protests, Tear Gas, Displaced Favela Residents DEMOCRACY NOW
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is entering its fifth day. The United States will play its first game of the tournament today against Ghana. Meanwhile, protests are continuing on the streets of Brazil. Many Brazilians have expressed fury over Brazil spending an estimated $11 billion to host the cup while the country’s hospitals and schools remain woefully underfunded. In a video taken by the Associated Press on Sunday, a police officer can be seen firing what appears to be a live pistol round at anti-World Cup protesters near Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã soccer stadium. Police have reportedly also used tear gas, rubber bullets and noise bombs to disperse demonstrators. We go to Rio to speak with sportswriter Dave Zirin, who was tear-gassed on Sunday while covering the protests. He is author of the new book, "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics and the Fight for Democracy."
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is entering its fifth day. The United States team will play its first game of the tournament today against Ghana. Meanwhile, protests are continuing on the streets of Brazil. The demonstrators’ concerns range from public transportation fare hikes to inadequate wages, housing, education, security and healthcare, among other things. Strikes and the threat of strikes have emanated from almost every sector of Brazilian society, including airline employees, metro workers, teachers and homeless workers, to police and even the main federal employees union. Many Brazilians have expressed fury over Brazil spending an estimated $11 billion to host the Cup while the country’s hospitals and schools remain woefully underfunded.
AMY GOODMAN: As the World Cup commenced Thursday, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was the target of crude chants sung by part of the crowd who attended Brazil’s victory game against Croatia. Rousseff, who is facing re-election in October, said she would not be intimidated by the crowd’s criticism.
PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSSEFF: [translated] Insults will not intimidate me. I will not be cowered. I will not let myself get upset by insults that cannot even be heard by children or families.
AMY GOODMAN: Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, was once jailed herself as a political prisoner. She went on to say, quote, "In my life, I have faced extremely difficult situations. Situations that pushed me to my physical limits. What I had to endure then was not verbal aggression, but physical aggression," she said.
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