With just a few weeks left until the start of the 2016 Olympics, Brazil is still suffering from serious economic problems.
The acting governor of Rio de Janeiro warned that the games could be a “failure” if his state doesn’t get its finances in order.
“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,” Fransisco Dornelles told O Globo, according to CNN.
Brazil hasn’t followed through on a promise to provide Rio with extra funding for security and transportation, according to Dornelles. Police officers in the city aren’t being fully paid and may not even have enough money for gas.
There was a nasty surprise awaiting passengers in the arrivals hall at Rio De Janeiro's Galeao International Airport on Monday.
Along with the relatives carrying flowers and taxi drivers waiting with name boards there were lines of off-duty police with banners that had a far more ominous message: "Welcome to Hell". 与捧着鲜花的旅客亲属和举着名牌等人的出租车司机站在一起的，是一排排休班警察。他们举着横幅，上面写着一句相当不吉利的标语：“欢迎来到地狱。”
"Police and firefighters don't get paid," the banners, in English and Portuguese, went on. "Whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe". Photos of the protest have been widely shared on social media and in the Brazilian press. The image above was posted on the photo sharing site Imgur, where it was viewed more than three million times in less than a day.
The missing funds are just the tip of Brazil’s iceberg of turmoil.
A functioning police force and transportation system are necessary, given the rising crime in Rio. Murder and robbery are up 15 percent and 30 percent, respectively, since last year, NPR reports. The city is trying to get new buses off the ground to help tourists avoid the favelas — areas vulnerable to violence, theft and gang activity.
“How are people going to feel protected in a city without security?” Dornelles said.
Political Unrest 政局动荡
After months of protest from angry Brazilians, the Senate last month voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff over allegations that she lied about the country’s economic issues.
Rousseff and several members of her cabinet are also accused of making billions off of the state-run oil company Petrobras.
Wealth Gap 贫富差距
Economic inequality has long been an issue in Brazil. Recent figures indicate that the unemployment rate topped 11 percent last month. Wages are also down. Meanwhile, those involved in the Petrobras scandal are said to have made over $5 billion from bribes, kickbacks and money-laundering.
The Worst Recession In Decades 数十年来最严重的经济衰退
Brazil is facing one of the worst recessions the country has ever faced. The economy shrank 5.4 percent in the first three months of the year, the government said. Additionally, as FT points out, export prices have shrunk, household debt has increased, and inflation has risen even more than expected.
Zika Fears 寨卡病毒引发恐惧
The recent outbreak of the Zika virus has lead to athletes, journalists and other travelers vowing to skip the August games.
Although the symptoms of Zika aren’t serious, the virus can lead to severe birth defects if contracted by a pregnant woman.
“Female athletes should not be forced to make a decision that could sacrifice the health of a child,” soccer star Hope Solo said.
There are currently no effective treatments or vaccinations.