Brazil Deploys Army to Defend the 2014 World Cup Soccer

If you are going to the World Cup soccer games in Brazil this year, you might encounter extreme security measures, much like the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Brazil has deployed its military to control crime and riots against nationwide protests. Rioting and looting occurred in the city of Recife, as police simply were overwhelmed and fled, leaving the crowds to cause mayhem. Much of the city was ransacked. The city will host five soccer matches during the World Cup. In the city of Salvador, another soccer host city in Brazil, the army was deployed to combat the same problem that started with a strike by workers and then turned to looting and mayhem.

Faced with such danger, Brazil deployed its top security and military forces in the host cities, some 100,000 of them. Brazil indicated that like at Sochi, local groups and terrorists may pose a problem in these lucrative targets where masses of fans exist. Still, Brazilians are causing the same problems in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasila, Campinas. The protesters have caused the security forces a nightmare and violence has grown.

So what are the protests and violence all about? Well, it IS directed at the World Cup indirectly. Brazil has spent $3.6 billion on revamping and getting ready for the World Cup. Brazil is largely a poor country and the people causing the problems demand that this money be spent on education, health and housing. The poor in the country have not directly benefited from having the soccer games. New stadiums were built just for the soccer games when the money could have been spent to help the poor.

Protesters have delayed the construction of the $372 million dollar new stadium by blocking the roads and stopping workers. For the poor, who live in bad conditions, the government could spent this money on new low income housing.

Whether Brazil will be ready for the games is another issue. The mass protests and violence may turn many spectators away from going to them. This violence is all about inequity, about the those who have and those who do not. Is soccer more important than basic social programs?

It is kind of hard to think so.

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