World Cup 2014: Denying rumours with actual facts

Sao Paulo, May 15, 2014. News agencies report that the government is negotiating with those organizations protesting the World Cup regarding their grievances to minimize the disruption to the sporting event. Investigations are also underway regarding police violence against protestors, Vermelho reports. (Xinhua)

2014 FIFA World CupOver the last months, the Dilma Rousseff administration and the Workers’ Party (PT) have been the target of a massive campaign in the media and the social networks against the hosting of the World Cup. Criticisms can always improve any given project, yet what we are witnessing in Brazil, now with international repercussions, is a pessimism and disinformation campaign led by the opposition, with critical support from the big media, in an attempt to undermine the government. This campaign makes use of fair claims made by the population for improvement in public services for the purpose of promoting a rhetoric hinged on the inefficiency of the State and public spending. It also seeks to separate the holding of the Cup from the federal government, simultaneously criticizing it yet mobilizing pro-Cup feelings to boost big business profits. Our international friends in sectors of the left have shown concern over news of the potential passage of legislation that would favor crackdowns on protests and social movements, in light of the 2013 demonstrations. Given this major disinformation campaign, we would like to share some facts with our friendly foreign parties.

The most frequent argument in the media is the statement that World Cup funds are being spent on stadiums at the expense of health and education. The World Cup has a budget of nearly R$ 26 billion. The construction of the stadiums (R$ 8 billion) accounts for roughly 30 per cent of this total. It is worth stressing, however, that there are no Union budget funds in the stadiums, whose construction was funded by National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), local resources, and the private sector. About 70 per cent of the Cup’s spending is not on stadiums, but on infrastructure, services, and labor training/capacity-building programs. Expenditure on urban mobility is just about the same as on stadiums — 45 urban mobility projects prioritizing public transport. These projects include dedicated bus lanes; stations, terminals, and Traffic Control Centers; BRT (Bus Rapid Transit); and LRVs (Light Rail Vehicles). The federal government invested over R$ 8 billion in these works.

As for airports, R$ 6.28 billion was invested to improve airport infrastructure in passenger terminals, runways, and facilities, and in operational upgrading. The 21 passenger terminal modernization and construction projects will increase by 81 per cent passenger capacity in World Cup host city airports. Additionally, these airport infrastructure improvements have been designed to meet the needs of millions of Brazilian passengers, who have grown from 30 million to 100 million over the last decade.

According to the Ministry of Labor, overall some 700,000 direct and indirect wage jobs have been or will have been generated by June 2014. In a study released by the Ministry of Tourism, the World Cup is expected to have an impact worth R$ 30 billion on the country’s GDP. For further information, log on to website

The Cup has not received any funds from the health and education budgets, which have increased year after year. It is worth noting the multiplication of educational programs, such as an increase in the number of day-care centers; the expansion of public elementary and technical education; a rise in the number of places offered through the construction of new public federal universities and student credit programs; plus the 50,000 students sent abroad to attend undergraduate and graduate programs in foreign universities through the Science Without Borders program. What’s more, over the next years, 75 per cent of the oil exploration royalties and 50 per cent of the Pre-Salt Social Fund are earmarked for education.

In the health area, we point out the strengthening of the universal Single System of Health, with an investment worth R$ 15 billion in hospital facilities, coupled with the Mais Médicos program — in cooperation with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) — to attract and foster Brazilian and foreign medical doctors to work in the country’s most socially vulnerable regions, plus earmarked investments of 25 per cent of the oil exploration royalties in health. In seven months theMais Médicos program had over 6,600 professionals participating, distributed in almost 40 per cent of the Brazilian municipalities. By the end of 2014 they will be 13,000.

Summarizing, the Cup has not used budgets allocated to such areas as health, education, transport, and public safety. Funds for health and education are rising each year. For example, the budget of the Ministry of Education rose from R$ 86.2 billion in 2013 to R$ 89.1 billion in 2014. The health budget for fiscal 2014 is R$ 106 billion, a 31 per cent increase in comparison with 2011.

We acknowledge and support the progressive agenda of claims emanating from the recent demonstrations. After all, these have also been our historical demands, which, albeit at a slower pace than we wish, we have managed to implement. But we cannot accept the leveraging of these legitimate demands by sectors of the right that only seek to reintroduce neo-liberal policies designed to dismantle the State. Another theme that has been highlighted by the media, especially abroad, regards the likelihood that a bill, known as the “anti-terrorism” law, be approved to prevent violent actions during the demonstrations. Actually, there is a bill being considered in Congress that was proposed by a joint Chamber/Senate committee, with the support of rightwing and public security sectors. The Workers Party states that we are totally against any legislative initiative designed to criminalize social movements and legitimize arbitrary police action. Our greatest problem is not the demonstrations during the World Cup but, rather, the structural violence that has come to pervade the Brazilian society over centuries of inequality and criminalization of poverty.




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