Brazil’s meltdown accelerates: An Olympic panic

With the nation’s president suspended pending the completion of impeachment proceedings, the acting president facing indictment, and the Summer Olympics drawing near, the country has also entered a financial meltdown.

Our first story comes from Deutsche Welle:

With the 2016 Olympic Games rapidly approaching, the state of Rio de Janeiro has declared a financial emergency. Authorities say the move is needed to prevent a “total collapse” in public security and health.

The governor of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro declared a “state of public calamity” Friday over a major budget crisis, requesting additional federal funds to finance the Olympic Games, which are set to begin in August.

The state’s Official Gazette said the emergency measures are needed to avoid “a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management.”

The move will allow acting Governor Francisco Dornelles to adopt exceptional measures to finance obligations related to the Olympics as Brazil grapples with its worst recession since the 1930s.

One major reason for the Olympic panic is the state of one of the venues for some of the games, as PBS News Hour reports:

In Brazil’s Olympic bay, tides of death and ecological devastation

Program notes:

Among the many concerns confronting Brazil’s first Olympic Games, one of the most pressing is the state of Guanabara Bay, site of the sailing competition. A vital source of income for local fishermen, the bay is severely polluted and lethally toxic — but those fighting to preserve it face a violent response. Special correspondent Lulu Garcia-Navarro of NPR reports.

And while the Olympics has generated a financial panic, the interim government has also begun rapidly shedding its membership in a wide range of international governmental organizations as a way to save money.

From teleSUR English:

Brazil is considering leaving 34 second-tier international organizations, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), to cut back on costs, according to a list seen by Reuters.

Brazil has run up US$866 million in arrears with international bodies such as the United Nations due to a fiscal crisis, and its diplomats abroad have even had trouble paying their rent, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The list of possible withdrawals, prepared by the Budget and Planning ministry, includes the Ibero-American summit organization and six institutions in the South American trade bloc, Mercosur.

The source said a decision had not yet been made.

The departure from international organizations would be the latest cost-cutting step by Brazil’s new Foreign Minister José Serra, who has vowed to pay the ministry’s debts and balance its budget.

Last week 46 ministry positions were closed.


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