Meanwhile In Brazil, Three Days Before The World Cup Kick-Off...

Tyler Durden's picture

With the world cup set to kick off in three days, things in the host country - which according to numerous report is largely unprepared for the grand spectacle - are going from bad to worse.

As SCMP reports, earlier today police in Sao Paulo fired tear gas to disperse protesters supporting a subway strike that has unleashed transport chaos three days before the Brazilian mega-city hosts the World Cup kick-off. "A group of about 150 protesters set fire to piles of garbage to block a central street in the Brazilian business hub, prompting some two dozen riot police to fire stun grenades and then tear gas to disperse them. The demonstrators were backing a five-day-old strike by subway workers that has posed a major headache for the sprawling city of 20 million people ahead of Thursday’s opening match between Brazil and Croatia."

Below is a photo gallery of event in Sao Paulo over the past few days.

AP adds:

But in recent weeks, a series of strikes by public transport workers, police, teachers and others in several Cup host cities has proved more disruptive than demonstrations. If such strikes continue, "there will be chaos during the World Cup," said Carla Dieguez, a sociologist at Sao Paulo University's School of Sociology and Politics.


"What we don't know is how long the (subway) strike will last and if workers in others cities where games will be held will also go on strike," she said. Unions across Brazil are using the leverage of the World Cup in an effort to get concessions from authorities, as has happened before other big sporting events. Ahead of South Africa's World Cup in 2010, bus drivers went on strike.

What do the workers want? Higher wages of course, even though they have already backed off from earlier demands for a 16.5% wage hike, and are only seeking a 12.2% boost. The government however is offering "only" a 8.7% increase. Still, with the strikes crippling mass transportation in the key city, with every passing day it would seem that the strikers have increasingly more leverage. If only on paper. In real life, things are not going quite as planned:

Demonstrators from various activist groups shouted “No to repression!” before police broke up the protest. Several helicopters could later be seen hovering overhead.


Police also used a stun grenade against a separate group of about 70 striking workers who had gone into a central metro station to try to convince supervisors to join the strike, said union president Altino Melo dos Prazeres.


Police are holding about a dozen of the workers at the station, where officers used tear gas and truncheons to disperse strikers last Thursday, a union official said.


The union has reduced an initial demand for a 16.5-per cent wage hike to 12.2 per cent, but the government is offering only 8.7 per cent.

To be sure, strikers are confused by the government's stern refusal to yield to even lowered demands:

Prazeres said he was confident the strikers had the upper hand. “I don’t believe the government wants to thwart this Cup,” he told reporters.

Which means that the teams of the United States, France, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras and Cameroon all of which are expected to arrive some time today, may find themselves without any mass transit options (not that they would be particularly concerned by this)

The latest strike is just one of many problems plaguing the world cup:

Authorities are keen to resolve the latest labour dispute and avoid further embarrassment in a World Cup hit by delays and cost overruns even before it has started.


Corinthians Arena has become a symbol of the problems besetting the tournament. At the weekend workers were racing to finish the 61,600-capacity stadium, which has been chronically behind schedule and over-budget. Work on the 12 host stadiums has also been overshadowed by accidents that have killed eight workers. Three of the deaths were at Corinthians.

But not everyone is losing from the ongoing confusion plaguing the world cup. One group is set to profit handsomely - Brazil's 1 million (+?) prostitutes. The Independent explains:

According to the locals, it's the bar capital of the world, with more than 12,000 catering for the five million citizens of Brazil's third city. Others will recall Belo Horizonte as the scene of England's most humiliating football defeat, when a hearse driver and teacher from the US stunned the national team at the 1950 World Cup. But if the 5,000 or so English ticket holders expected here for England's final group game against Costa Rica in a few weeks' time look a little more closely, they may remember it for something else. As is the case across Brazil, peer behind the mask and another reality stares back at you.


In downtown Belo Horizonte are 23 brothels, known locally as zonas. They are hidden up narrow staircases between shops in the grim city centre, a place so grey, in parts, that you could be in the old Soviet Union except for the scorching sun above. Nearby, in an empty office on the top floor of a shopping centre, a handful of the 2,000 or so prostitutes who work the city are getting English classes from a volunteer in order to cash in on the six matches the city's Mineirão stadium will host (including one semi-final). All the while, tucked away at the back of an indoor car-park, is Aprosmig – a union for those within the industry in the state of Minas Gerais (the name is a contraction of the "Minas Gerais association of prostitutes"). "For sure [the city's prostitutes] will get more money with the World Cup," says the fiftysomething woman working the desk. "In the nightclubs they'll be earning a lot. It's normal for foreign guys to look for them, they always do, and now there'll be more foreign guys. They'll do very well."




At the time it was suggested there were as many as one million sex workers, and while that may have been an overestimate, prostitution is undeniably widespread. At one point, the government's own employment website offered tips for those wishing to attempt prostitution, going step by step through preparation, seduction and delivery of service. It was later toned down after much pressure from conservatives and the religious right.

Which is also known as capitalism: providing a service, with market prices set based on prevailing demand. Which is better than what Venezuela's socialist hookers have to look forward to: as reported previously, what they do have to look forward to are FX trading terminals.

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SafelyGraze's picture

the problem is that there are not enough authorities to protect us from people

NotApplicable's picture

Speaking of safely grazing (or not), Mark Spitznagel has unleashed his goats upon Detroit.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

If the Brazilian gubimint had any sense like the US mobsters they would give into the demands. Pay through the World Cup. Fire all of the instigators after the World Cup. Anyone they keep after the mass firings get pay cuts below what they currently get.

y3maxx's picture

This is a Politically Incorrect Thread.
What about Male Prostitutes? The Arab State contingents need their sexual needs covered too.
Obama should be leading the way w/ Sanctions vs Brazil...and if that doesn't work...send in Al Qaida...Drone a few thousand civilians... the Brazilian Govt. needs to learn a lesson on Political Correctness.

Stackers's picture

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities.


FDR 1937

knukles's picture

Another triumph of governmental largesse

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I would be very interested in comments on OTHER aspects of the Brazilian economy (albeit understandable distorted by the World Cup event).

I read perhaps a YEAR ago that Brazil was being affected by apparent slowness in Chinese buying of Brazilian exports (minerals I suppose), something that may have JUST started happening in Peru.  I have heard some recent comments here that the Peruvian economy may have started to slow because of China too.

Commemts from anyone who knows if China is slowing their imports of copper, etc. would be extremely welcome to a Bearing Guy just trying to roll with current world macro-events...

CheapBastard's picture

Can't get any more Bullish then this, right?

kliguy38's picture

Send in the Gestapo.....and pay triple time to the contractors with Brazilbucks

SafelyGraze's picture

"Mark Spitznagel has unleashed his goats"

heh heh heh .. not everyone knows what a 'spitznagel' is in yiddish

or what it means to unleash it

Mark's left 'spitznagel'


boogerbently's picture

New Orleans police used to always go on strike about a week before Mardi Gras.

Timing is everything.

Scarlett's picture

HUGE housing bubble over there.  

Check out the comparisons.

nonclaim's picture

As I understand it, the Chinese used their full warehouses (for variable definitions of full) and a consequent slowdown in imports as a tool to negotiate better prices. It worked and have now resumed importing raw materials at lower prices. It may not translate into cheaper bearings though... unless you pretend to have enough for a 5yr demand.

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

ZERO chance of that (stocked for five years), hah, we wish...

Thanks for the insight!

DadzMad's picture

Great reminder, Stackers.  Here in WI when the gov't employees I know get all bent out of shape over Walker I remind them that not only FDR, but their hero, former Milwaukee mayor AND SOCIALIST, Frank Zeidler also wrote extensively on the hazards of unionized government workers.  They have no response except to yell louder.  It's hard to have an intelligent conversation with a liberal as they get so damn angry and start foaming at the mouth.

Pickleton's picture

 It's hard to have an intelligent conversation with a liberal

You erroneously assumed you could have an intelligent conversation with a liberal in the first place.  There's no there there.

WillyGroper's picture

" It's hard to have an intelligent conversation with a liberal as they get so damn angry and start foaming at the mouth."

That door swings both ways. I had a great observation just yesterday re: the disdain of one for the other. 

Urban sprawl is rampant where I live. Still building like crazy. Needless to say, they don't widen the roads after the increase in traffic. While stuck at a light being car #3 there was a typical distracted dipstick in a Prius turning left, holding up 30 cars by not pulling forward so people could go around them. I drove on the grass to get past & was the only car besides the Prius to get thru the light. Here's the kicker...

Their vanity tag said "SMG ALRT". 

God save us.

PTR's picture

Speaking of safely grazing (or not), Mark Spitznagel has unleashed his goats upon Detroit.

The comments alone are an interesting read-thru.

Freddie's picture

Spitznagel is one of a few hedge fund managers I respect.  Isn't this animal cruelty to allow those goats to graze in that sh*t hole?   Turn Detroit back into prarie.

Hippocratic Oaf's picture

But prostitution is still legal, right?


BLOTTO's picture

Brasil is synonymous with football.


And as the World Cup begins on Friday the 13th - Brasil will temporarily forget about its social nightmare...


If you look at the Brasil 2014 World Cup official logo - it really does look like a face palm of shame...

Cacete de Ouro's picture

The World Cup begins this Thursday 12th June, not Friday.

First match is Brazil vs Croatia @ 5pm local time in São Paulo

face palm of shame? Wtf? The logo is a series of hands of friendship in the national colors

PartysOver's picture

yep, face palm with a bad haircut.

Doubleguns's picture

A green comb over and face palm. LOL

remain calm's picture

It will be fun to watch how the sponsoring networks polish this turd.

agstacks's picture

"Small riots we're squelched at the city limits as pro-brazil soccer fanatics celebrated the Brazil win.  It just goes to show how popluar soccer is to the local populations." 

Relentless101's picture

They hate us for our freedom?

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

If the USA beats anybody, that will give them reason to hate us even more.  I don´t want to even THINK about how much Brazil would hate us if we beat them.  Or maybe I do want to think about that, LOL...

Zerozen's picture

Ha! Ha! Good luck, Team USA will need it.

Group of death: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA (spot the odd one out)

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Hear you!  LOL.  I guess we gringos can just wave "AMFs" to the rest, yes a very tough group.  Maybe if we tie just one we can consider it a "victory"...

Cacete de Ouro's picture

If USA gets out of their group I'll eat my hat !
Although anything is possible and USA are quite good nowadays

PartysOver's picture

Seriously, "USA are quite good nowadays".

Way too much Carnival for you!

RadioactiveRant's picture

Only three of those countries play football.

Treason Season's picture

And the fourth one, Ghana doesn't even play. They just dive.

eurogold's picture

Shitstorm in .......T  -3 days..........yeah baby, can't wait for what is coming !

silentboom's picture

"Brought to you by Wilson reminding you that we also make baseball bats."

"Have a refreshing pepsi....then recycle your bottle by filling it with gasoline and capping with a rag."

mayhem_korner's picture



What's Portuguese for don't taze me, bro!...?

nonclaim's picture

Reports say tasers were promised but not delivered to the police ... you'll have to use the more primitive "don't shoot me (sobbing)" or "no!, not the baton (crack!)".

disabledvet's picture

That's because they're price in dollars.

alexcojones's picture

"Nao Tira Mim, Cara!" (Don't you shoot me, guy!")

150 demonstraters? Wow!

Let me know when 15,000 or 150,000 or 15 million show up in force. Seems we had 250,000 show up in many cities of the world, to protest the invasion of Iraq and nothing happened.

Brazil is like a sub-tropical USA. Filled with dispossessed, with the few wealthy elites protected by armed Policia Militar and easily-bribed police. Just like here.

NO Craft or Halliburton thugs -yet. No false flag school shootings - yet.


Zerozen's picture

Wait until 2050, the demographic makeup of the USA will look more or less like Brazil's too.

Badabing's picture

Man, soccer in Brazil looks like a riot!

I thought they can't use there hands?

CunnyFunt's picture

Lots of aspiring goalies

Itchy and Scratchy's picture

Let's hope Brazil doesn't lose!

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Big time!  Especially if the Americans ever beat them, ha ha!

Zerozen's picture

I'm dreaming of an upset in the opener, Croatia over Brazil. Boy, will there be fireworks (riots)!