Today the FIFA World Cup 2014 starts in Brazil. I am so excited because Brasil is my mother land and soccer is so important in our culture. There is a saying that goes something like ” Politics, religion and soccer are topics that should never be discussed.” Meaning they are too controversial and heated, with way too many different opinions, so it is not worth risking your friendship over this discussion. Because you might lose a friend.
Believe me, people argue and even fight over soccer, or futebol, as we call it.
Yes, we love futebol. In fact,to bring the World Cup to Brazil is a great way to show our country and culture to the World. We are not only Carnaval and Churrasco. And no, we don’t have monkeys jumping in trees on the streets (You would be surprised how many people asked me this before). Specially now that the country is doing so well and economy is better.
But not everyone is happy about having the World Cup in Brazil.People are upset because the money that could have been used to improve Health Care (Health Care is paid by the Government) and education, was used to remodel old stadiums, build roads, and to “get the country ready” for the World Cup. Some say that a large portion of the protesters are not real protesters. They are hired by politicians for ulterior motives just to cause raucous and chaos (as supposedly happened in the case of the journalist that suffered a deadly injury in a protest earlier this year).
The protest is called “Nao vai ter Copa”, or “There will be no World Cup”. So far, manifestations have been small and controlled, but two CNN journalist were injured while covering a protest in Sao Paulo.
And they should remain controlled. The Brazilian Army is everywhere, roaming the streets in the cities where the games will occur. My grandmother lives two blocks from the stadium where Spain will play their first game (my home team Atletico Paranaense’s stadium) in Curitiba. And she told me there are check points and barricades in the neighborhood. On the day of the game, only people with credentials, who registered with the city and live in the area will be able to be in the neighborhood. Those who drive, must get home 4 hours before the game or they will have to park their cars somewhere else and walk home.
That shouldn’t be a problem since nothing works in the country when Brazil is playing. Everything closes, stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, medical offices, offices, EVERYTHING! You can lay down on the pavement of the busiest street of the city, because there will be no cars on the street. It looks like a ghost town. People get together with friends and families mostly in their homes, to watch the game and eat some pao de queijo, pastel and brigadeiro. When the game is over they go celebrate the victory on the streets with a lot of music and dancing.
We are a happy nation. And while I believe in protesting for your rights, now is the time to put all this anger aside and enjoy the biggest show on Earth, or as we say it ” o maior show da Terra”. Vai que e tua Brasilllllllllllll!!