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Brazil has a number of problems on its hands. The president is unpopular, the economy is depressed, there are spreading viruses and health concerns, and they cannot get people to come to the Olympics.
The general population is not pleased with President Dilma Rousseff, and has shown several public displays of disapproval. After causing problems with the help of the Finance minister, people have shown interest in impeaching her, because she has not shown any sign of stepping down. The process of impeachment will be long and complicated, however, it is likely that attempts will be made to go through with it. Rousseff has been dealing with a depressed economy since 2014, as well as numerous scandals surrounding oil giant, Petrobras. Several investigations are happening regarding the Brazilian congress’s involvement in Petrobras. Rousseff has been accused of fiscal irresponsibility because of Petrobras contributing funds to her campaign, and there have been several other accounting malpractices that have emerged between Brazil’s government and the oil company.
In 2015, GDP declined by 3.8 percent and will continue to decline. Inflation is currently greater than 10 percent, and the fiscal deficit is expected to be about 10 percent of GDP this year. This is the worst recession Brazil has faced in almost three decades, and there are no signs of it strengthening again for at least another year. The government corruption has contributed to this decline because people are losing trust in their authority. The only gain in confidence comes from government officials and Petrobras employees being jailed or fined for money laundering and other accounting crimes. One solution that should, in theory, help the Brazilian economy is the Olympics. However, it looks as though the summer games will only add to the economic distress.
The 2016 summer Olympics will be held in Brazil, and people are not buying tickets. With only half of available tickets sold less than four months away, many reports indicate that Brazil will buy back many of the unsold tickets to the games and give them away to Brazil’s public schools. Despite having held the most recent soccer world cup, many of the Olympic stadiums are not complete and the country does not have the funds to finish them. People are not interested in attending the games in Rio de Janeiro because they are concerned about the Zika virus, as well as other risks in the country. The amount of crime and terrorism surrounding a world event such as the Olympics contributes to why people are not attending. Although there are plans to have ample security, the potential for crime to increase due to other factors such as the economy has risen dramatically.
Brazil is one of the most concentrated hosts of the Zika virus. The virus, which is contracted through mosquitos, is deterring both athletes and fans. It is linked to a rare birth defect that nobody wants to risk. The athletes that are going are being told to stay in their hotel rooms as much as possible, and to apply mosquito repellent religiously. Oceans, usually a large draw for people to visit Rio, are one of the most common places to get bit by a mosquito. Unfortunately for Brazil, the city does not have many other attractions that will draw people to the games.
Among all of these problems, fear is a common denominator. Between the economy and the health concerns, people are afraid that things may get out of hand and are avoiding the country at all costs. Timing will be critical in terms of how many events play out for the remainder of 2016. The attempt to impeach President Rousseff is expected to gain momentum in the coming months before the Olympics, which will cause more tension on the games than there already is. Brazil is doing the best it can to find solutions to all of these problems and prevent things from getting worse.
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