Cheaters, bribes, disease and crime seem to be elbowing the athletes for Olympics 2016 out of the spotlight.
Unconfirmed reports have come in that two N. Korean runners took a short cut in the marathon to decide who would qualify for the Olympics. Cheaters are still being outed from the Russian winter games in Sochi. The murky world of the Russian drug testing labs has seen two directors die suddenly and a third director apologizing for the lapse.
Kenya is another country with sketchy testing for performance enhancing drugs. The World Anti Doping Agency(WADA) has declared the country non-compliant. Yet the Kenyan athletes are still allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics. They will be on a watch list.
But not all is cheating with performance enhancing drugs. Both Australia and the IOC are set to distribute a half million condoms for the athletes who stay in the village. The Aussies will supply Zika-proof condoms which come lubricated with an anti-viral substance. The IOC is set to distribute free of charge, 100 000 female and 350 000 male condoms. It makes this writer wonder if the athletes will be too tired to compete during the medal rounds.
Whether Brazil will be ready to host the first ever southern hemisphere Olympics remain a question. Adding to the country’s complications is the political turmoil. The president Dilma Rousseff, has been kicked out of the presidential palace in Brazilia while the vice-president has taken over. She has been ousted while an impeachment action is taking place. The country seems divided over this and massive street demonstrations grab the headlines.
The unexpected drop in oil products has left the country in a bad economic way. Added to that is an investigation as to where about two billion dollars in oil revenues went. This has meant that money originally earmarked for Olympic venues and added security has had to be cut by $600 million. A spectacular bike/pedestrian pathway recently collapsed into the ocean killing a couple of unfortunate walkers.
Budget cuts have seen the contracts cut on the tennis and equestrian venues cancelled. The sewage problems remain, the subway will probably be incomplete by August 5, opening day.
Once this year’s games are done and the medals put away, the organizers in Japan can start their hoopla. Front and centre this week was the suspicious $2.6 million paid during the Japanese bid for the games. The Japanese have stated that they will cooperate completely to solve the mystery payment.
Brazil political crisis escalates as party pulls out of coalition. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has come closer to being impeached by the Congress as her allies have left the coalition. The Brazilian Democratic Movement Party(PMDB) has announced that they are no longer cooperating with Pres. Rousseff.
The PMDB has pulled their six government ministers and informed their party members that they must leave all government appointments or face ethics charges.
There are a series of incidents that have brought the country and more particularly Rousseff to this point. The biggest scandal is that surrounding the government owned petroleum corporation –Petroleo Brasileiro – which has nearly two billion dollars unaccounted for. Many believe it is in the pockets of Rousseff and friends.
The former president was able to name the board members sitting on the petroleum company. Pres. Roussoff was on the board. The investigation into the missing money had the former president in for questioning. Roussoff tried to have him appointed to a government position so that he would be immune from prosecution, but was thwarted in that move.
Now the congress may impeach her. If they don’t the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) filed a request to impeach on Monday on the grounds that she obstructed justice and used fiscal accounting tricks. If that request doesn’t fly, they OAB has filed a second request regarding Rousoff’s granting of tax exempt status to FIFA during the 2014 World Cup.
If it comes to a parliamentary vote, with the departure of the PMDB from the coalition, it is unlikely that Rousseff can garner enough votes to thwart the ouster. The vote to impeach is likely to be held in April and if successful, will be before the Senate by May.
If the president is ousted, the VP will take over the office.
The political turmoil comes as a particularly bad time for Brazil which is slated to hold the 2016 Olympics in August. Controversy has swirled around the filthy conditions of the water sports venues. Because of the recession budgets have been slashed. The country is mired in the worst recession in a generation due to the low petroleum prices(and the disappearance of billions of dollars). The Zika virus has also created a nation wide health crisis.
Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, has just witnessed the massacre of 19 men in the space of three hours. Ten of the men were in a bar when masked men entered and asked who had criminal records. Those that replied with a yes were shot to death. Within the next few hours nine more men were shot dead. While the head of Sao Paulo’s police surmised that it may have been the activity of drug gangs, others are pointing towards the police themselves.
Recently two policemen in Sao Paulo were killed in the line of duty. This blood-letting may have been a reprisal action.
Amnesty International is calling the incident a massacre and pointing out that it is not as unusual as it should be.
“ Roque, who heads the organization's Brazil branch, said "unfortunately massacres like this one in Sao Paulo have become part of the routine of violence in our cities."ABC News
The problem of violent crime is not confined to Sao Paulo. The World Health Organization places Brazil in the top 20 for intentional killings. The drug trade and alcoholism is blamed as motives for many homicides.
Other criminal activities are common in Brazil’s cities. Carjacking, pickpockets, bag snatching and kidnapping in order to make the victim access an ATM are all common in the cities.
Of lesser interest to tourists is the rate of corruption. Brazil is rated at 43 in the listings, tied with Bulgaria and Greece. That is unless you are required to pay a fine that is exactly the same amount as your daily limit at an ATM machine.
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