Rio Olympics 2016 Could Be A ‘Big Failure’ Says Rio de Janeiro’s Acting Governor: Is He Right About The Ominous Prediction?

The Rio Olympic Games 2016, which are scheduled to kick off in less than six weeks, could turn out to be a “big failure,” said the state of Rio de Janeiro’s acting governor, Francisco Dornelles.

Painting a rather grim picture about one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, Dornelles cautioned that unless the city of Rio de Janeiro is infused with serious additional funds in the next few days, the Olympics could be a huge disappointment, reported International Business Times. The governor lamented about the severe cash crunch the city is facing. Coupled with multiple other setbacks, this year’s Olympic Games are getting increasingly tricky for the host city.

Speaking to a Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Dornelles complained that the city of Rio de Janeiro still hasn’t received the recently approved federal funds that would be spent on scaling up security and enhancing the transportation for the Olympics. Unless the funds are sanctioned on an urgent basis, the quadrennial competition could turn out to be a fiasco, he said,

“I am optimistic about the games, but I have to show the reality. We can make a great Olympics, but if some steps are not taken, it can be a big failure.”

Incidentally, it is the city of Rio de Janeiro, and not the state of Rio de Janeiro which the city is part of, that is largely responsible for the Olympics. But that didn’t stop the state from declaring a state of emergency earlier this month. The state warned that owing to the lack of sufficient funds, it cannot offer the infrastructure and services that are necessary for such a global event. It even added that the cash-crunch might lead to “a total breakdown in public security, health, education, mobility and environmental management,” reported CNN.

Experts say the state might have timed the declaration of emergency to arm-twist a federal bailout. However, others are blaming the global collapse of oil prices that helped cripple the economy of the oil-rich nation of Brazil. The state of Rio de Janeiro’s economy has been partly fueled by oil, and the steady decline in crude oil prices has hit hard and contributed to the rising commodity prices. For quite a few months, the country has been battling an acute recession, which experts say is worse than the one in the 1930s. Statistically speaking, Brazil’s economy, considered to be the largest in Latin America, has shrunk by more than five percent in the first quarter of this year.

As for the Olympics, Dornelles doesn’t appear to be exaggerating about the problems that the region has been dealing with in the weeks and months leading up to the mega sporting event that dozens of nations compete in. Organizers are already struggling with the outburst of Zika virus, which isn’t showing any signs of subsiding despite intensified global efforts. The virus has prompted several travel advisories, which have already hit the host city’s travel and tourism industry hard.

Moreover, Rio was recently involved in an embarrassing doping scandal in which the country’s only dope-testing lab was suspended. Worryingly, the state has promised to finish the metro project that connects the Olympic facilities to the city center a mere four days before the sporting event begins. Sadly, the region isn’t even able to manage its sewage systems.

However, the primary and immediate concern the acting governor has is the security of the players, officials, and visiting dignitaries who have begun arriving in the city. Not to mention, the city is expected to host about half a million visitors during the mega sporting event.

The city simply doesn’t have sufficient funds to keep paying its police force. The members of the city’s police force have been routinely putting in a lot of overtime for more than six months now. But the city hasn’t been paying them for the same. As a result, tensions could rise in the near future.

Quite recently, a jaguar that was the event’s mascot was put down after it attempted to escape. In another incident, someone tried to put out the Olympic torch with a bucket of water. Could such incidents dampen the Olympics and make it a big failure?

[Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images]

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