In May, Brazilian soccer great Rivaldo told tourists to stay away from the Olympics in Rio because of the violence, saying "You'll be putting your life at risk here." After that dire warning, the Rio state government declared a state of "public calamity" because it had gone completely broke. The government warned of total total collapse in public security, health, and transport.
As a result of the declared state of calamity, the federal government was supposed to transfer $860 million to the state but the AP reports that as of yesterday the money hadn't been received. Rio's acting governor Francisco Dornelles said that there is a concern that the Olympics will be a big failure if things don't get back on track quickly. "I'm optimistic about the games, but I have to show reality. We can have a great Olympics, but if some steps aren't taken, it can be a big failure" Dornelles said.
"How are people going to feel protected in a city without security" Dornelles added. Which is an excellent question, because the Rio police force rallied against the non-payment of wages and even the lack of basic supplies on Monday.
At the city's airport a group of protesters spread banners that read "Welcome to hell. Police and firefighters don't get paid, whoever comes to Rio De Janeiro will not be safe" - probably not the message the world wants to be seeing just over a month away from the Olympics.
Around 300 officers took to the streets to demand their salaries be paid by the government in full, and to express their anger over lack of basic supplies such as water, ink, and even toilet paper. According to RT, one officer said that he had only received half of his pay last month, and hasn't been paid for overtime in the last five months either.
"At the stations we don't have paper or ink for the printers, there's no one to come in to clean and some stations don't have a water supply anymore so the toilets are not functioning" said a member of an elite police unit entrusted with providing security at the upcoming olympics.
Seen at the airport in Rio today: First responders welcome toutists. A sign of what's to come during the Olympics? pic.twitter.com/mCOYB3deuo— Michael Smith (@SmithMarkets) June 27, 2016
If the banners and protesting police weren't enough to scare those who arrived in Rio, someone even put up a warning on the way out of the airport that there are no hospitals either:
Welcome, we don't have hospitals! - “Aviso” na estrada do Galeão. (Foto: Tiago Bla) pic.twitter.com/NfnrEukkuT— Cecília Olliveira (@Cecillia) June 26, 2016
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We don't want to scare everyone completely with the realities of how poor the Brazilian economy is doing, and the fact that Rivaldo was probably correct with the warning, so as we reminded everyone last time, the silver lining is that Brazil will always remain rich in natural resources.