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Brazil: can the Olympics boost a country in limbo?

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Brazil: can the Olympics boost a country in limbo?


The Olympic torch may have arrived in Rio, but it does not seem to have ignited much joy in Brazil.

The Games are taking place in a country going through a deep recession.

There are also the huge corruption scandals, which have brought thousands of people out onto the streets.

The scandals involve several politicians from the governing party as well as the opposition.

President Dilma Rousseff has been suspended, with interim President Michel Temer taking power in May.

Rousseff stands accused of embellishing the government’s accounts to cover up the real state of Brazil’s economy, as she was seeking re-election in 2014.

With an impeachment trial dragging on, Temer is in legal limbo, hindering his efforts to tackle Brazil’s severe recession.

Brazil’s also been rocked by a corruption scandal involving state-controlled oil company Petrobras.

It is alleged construction firms overcharged Petrobras for building contracts – with part of the “profit” earmarked for high ranking politicians.

Can the Olympics boost Brazil?

Brazil is shaken not only by a political, but also an economical and moral crisis. Violence rose sharply in the first half of 2016.

Officials wanted to use the Games to showcase the city as a tourist destination.

“2013 and 14 were negative years, where the crime rates went up. 2015 was a “moderately” positive year with a little containment, and 2016 is a very negative year with a dramatic increase in homicides, robberies and other crimes,” said sociologist Ignacio Cano from Rio de Janeiro State University.

In addition to security problems, Temer inherited an economy engulfed in its longest recession since the 1930s.

The IMF predicts growth will even be slightly negative in 2017.

Hopes that the Olympic Games may strengthen the economy might fail, like in 2014.

Although there was a rise in retail spending during the World Cup in Brazil, it wasn’t enough to keep the country’s economy from contracting in annual terms that quarter.

One of the preconditions for Latin America’s largest economy to recover is to end Brazil’s political limbo. The impeachment trial has been dragging on for months.

Until Temer is confirmed as president, he will not tackle reforms to re-build Brazil’s economy – and put it on solid ground.

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